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Recap / Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 6 E 18 Entropy

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"There's so much to work through. Trust has to build again, on both sides ... you have to learn if you're even the same people you were, if you can fit in each other's lives, it's a long and important process and... can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?"
Tara Maclay, inadvertently setting herself (and us) up for the most emotional endgame in the entire Buffyverse.
"Who would sell their soul for love?"

Directed by James A. Contner.

Written by Drew Z Greenberg, Rebecca Kirshner, & Steven S DeKnight.

At Sunnydale Cemetery, the Trio chase after some vampires on ATVs, but they crash into each other, giving the vamps a chance to escape. Buffy shows up and attacks the vampires, forcing one to drop a disk it was holding. Warren snatches it and the Trio escapes, unseen by the Slayer. Buffy takes on two of the vampires, but receives some help when Spike shows up. He holds one of the vampires out of the way while he starts up a conversation. He raises the issue of Buffy telling her friends about them, but she denies it, even acting indifferent to his threat of telling them himself.

Xander mopes alone at his apartment, but eventually can't stand it anymore and leaves. As he walks away, Anya watches him from behind some bushes.


The next day, in UC Sunnydale, Willow waits for Tara outside of her classroom; the two talk and plan a coffee date. Buffy and Dawn shop together, but have a difficult time as Dawn has a shoplifting record at most of the stores. They chat about all of the things Dawn stole and how they can work to remedy the problem.

Elsewhere, Jonathan works on a project involving the disk they stole as Warren watches over it, eager for the project to be completed. While Jonathan finishes his work alone, Warren and Andrew talk about their inability to trust Jonathan and how it'll be soon before they wouldn't need him anymore.

That evening, Xander comes home from work and finds Anya at his apartment. Xander tries to apologize for walking away from their wedding. He tries explaining his feelings about wanting to stop the wedding before it happened. Taken aback, Anya asks Xander what he meant. Xander tries to change the subject until Anya cuts him off by asking if he still wants to marry her. Xander admits to loving her dearly and wanting to be back with her, but says that he's still too afraid of himself to marry her. With her back turned to Xander, she reveals her vengeance demon face and wishes him physical harm. Frustrated that her attempts to grant her own wish were unsuccessful, she leaves. The next day, Anya has coffee with Halfrek, and the two talk about Anya's attempts at vengeance. Halfrek informs Anya that she couldn't grant her own wishes, and that she has to get someone else to wish Xander harm.


At the Summers house, Buffy makes pancakes for Dawn. Dawn realizes that Buffy's trying too hard to make up for what happened when she was crazy. She proposes the idea of joining Buffy on patrol so the two could spend some time together, but Buffy doesn't allow this.

On their coffee date, Willow fills Tara in on all of the supernatural activities that she has missed over the past months. Anya interrupts them and wants to talk about her pain and how Xander caused it. She also talks to Dawn and Buffy in attempt to get one of them to wish something horrible on Xander, but none of them go along with it. While talking with Buffy, Xander shows up at the house, and Anya leaves in a huff. Buffy talks him out of going after Anya and he takes his aggression out on a lawn gnome. When Buffy doesn't recognize the decoration as something she put there, Xander checks it out and discovers it had a small camera inside.

Buffy goes to Spike in his crypt and presents him the small camera, asking whether he had anything to do with it being on her lawn. He's offended that she would even accuse him of such a thing. Buffy reminds him that it's not like he hadn't done anything like this in the past, but Spike tells her he doesn't want to hurt her since he fell in love with her, which Buffy acknowledges. He then tries to convince her that what existed between them was real. Buffy knew it was, but only for him. She tries to convince Spike to forget about everything that happened between them and opines that he should move on, but he interrupts Buffy telling her to get out.

At the Magic Box, Anya and Halfrek continue to talk about getting vengeance on Xander. Anya realizes that she needs to find someone who hates Xander to make the wish. Spike walks into the shop, looking for some spell to ease his pain. As Halfrek leaves, Anya offers Spike a bottle of whiskey.

Willow works on her computer to try and trace the camera found in the gnome. At the same time, Jonathan finally completes his work with the disk and performs a ritual that highlights a spot on a Sunnydale map. The Trio's happy to locate the target, but the map abruptly catches on fire. Meanwhile, Anya and Spike are drinking together and complaining about their respective relationship problems. Spike sympathizes with her over the way Xander treated her, so Anya tries to use that to her advantage, but Spike doesn't actually make a wish.

Willow finally taps into the source of the camera and discovered that there are cameras all over town in most of the Scooby Gang's hangouts. The gang realizes the Trio were responsible, which galvanizes Buffy.

At the Magic Box, Spike compliments Anya, and the two start to see a common tie between them. She feels guilty about what happened with Xander, and Spike consoles her. The two kiss and undress. Andrew realizes someone's tapped into their video feeds. Willow stumbles upon the Magic Box feed, just as Spike and Anya are having sex on a table.

Warren directs Andrew to shut down the videos, but they're suddenly distracted by the action on the Magic Box camera. Back at the Summers' house, Buffy, Dawn, and Xander also see the computer screen and what's going on at the shop. Xander's infuriated, while Buffy's hurt and goes outside. Dawn follows Buffy and finds out the truth about Buffy and her relationship with Spike. Willow then informs them that Xander is gone and left with an axe.

Spike and Anya get dressed silently. Spike leaves the shop and Xander attacks him just outside. Goading him to fight back, Spike reminds him that it is not possible due to the chip. Xander proceeds to further thrash the vampire. Just before he can stake Spike, Anya comes outside and tries to stop Xander. She manages to distract him long enough for Buffy to knock him out of the way. Xander and Anya yell at each other about each other's rights for vengeance and moving on with their lives. Xander is disgusted that Anya would even touch Spike. Spike then adds that he was good enough for Buffy. With this, Xander and Anya discover the truth about Buffy and Spike. Xander storms off, so Buffy also walks off. Spike begins making a wish to Anya, but she stops him and they part ways.

Tara goes to Willow in her bedroom. She gives her a speech about all they have to do to rebuild their relationship, but is willing to skip all that. She asks Willow to just kiss her, which she promptly does.

Tropes featured

  • Aesop Amnesia: Averted with Dawn, who remembers the lesson of "Older and Far Away" about making wishes.
  • Action Prologue: An exciting sequence of the Trio running down vampires in ATV's (plus Spike and Buffy dusting same vamps) compensates for how things don't start hotting up again until the final act.
  • Ambiguously Bi / Ambiguously Gay: Andrew.
    Andrew: He [Spike] is so cool... [beat] And, I mean, the girl is hot. Too.
  • An Axe to Grind: Xander tries to kill Spike with Buffy's axe, but fortunately he swings it so hard it gets stuck in the wall.
  • A Shared Suffering: Anya and Spike realise they've a lot in common as demons who never really fit in with the Scoobies.
  • Bathos: The scene of everyone watching Anya and Spike sleep together manages to be dramatic and retain some comedic elements. For example the Trio's reaction to it is very funny - especially as they're in the middle of shutting down all their feeds and get distracted by it. Likewise Dawn comes in, looks at what the others are watching and Willow covers Dawn's eyes. It's a funny moment but doesn't distract from the fact that Xander and Buffy are getting their hearts broken.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Averted as Anya can't get anyone to wish harm on Xander, especially Dawn. Played straight with Buffy telling Spike to stop pining over her and move on, then being confronted by the sight of him screwing Anya.
  • Beneath the Mask: Anya spends the whole episode raging about Xander like a Woman Scorned. Then during her drunk talk with Spike, she confesses that she can't sleep at night - worried if the break-up was because of something she did.
    • Spike too, who spent the episode petty and vindictive enough about his break-up that he threatened to blow the whistle on his relationship with Buffy to her friends. By the time he gets to the magic shop however, he's trying to get his hands on a numbing spell to drown his sorrows, and pointedly avoids revealing just which girl he's confiding to Anya about.
    • Buffy has spent the entire season fervently (and sometimes violently) insisting she felt absolutely nothing besides lust for Spike, and even tells him at the beginning of the episode that he needs to move on and that the only feelings between them existed on his end of things. But upon seeing him sleeping with someone else, she looks so visibly hurt by it that Willow figures out their Secret Relationship just from reading Buffy's expression.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Willow and Tara.
  • Breaking Speech: Anya to Xander.
    No, the mature solution is for you to spend your whole life telling stupid, pointless jokes so that no one will notice that you are just a scared, insecure little boy!
  • Buffy Speak
    Xander: That's not Proactive Guy. That's Sit-Around-And-Wait-For-The-Rest-of-His-Life-To-Turn-To-Crap Guy.
    • Spike goes to the Magic Box because he needs a thing (a numbing spell).
  • Call-Back: Willow fills in Tara on the Scoobies adventures since she walked out (mentioning "Gone", "Doublemeat Palace" and "As You Were"). Buffy points out that Dawn only came into existence at the beginning of Season 5.
  • Captain Obvious
    Xander: Okay, clearly I'm not handling this well.
    Anya: WELL, DUH!
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Spike denies placing the camera in Buffy's garden, and Buffy realises he's telling the truth.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl / Green-Eyed Epiphany: Even after making it clear she's not getting back with Spike, the sight of him having sex with Anya hits Buffy hard enough to show in her expression. It also forces her to confront that, although she couldn't truly love him to the unconditional degree he wanted, she did have some sort of emotional bond with him.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Anya trying to curse Xander directly. "Those are metaphorical intestines. You're not in any real pain!"
    • As a vampire rushes up behind Buffy, Spike shouts to her, "So why won't you sleep with me?" The vampire stops and gapes at Spike, thinking he's the one being addressed.
  • Continuity Nod: Xander assuming that Spike is behind the GnomeCam is a reference to Spike's Stalker with a Crush behaviour the year before, when he'd lurk outside Buffy's house. The gnomes can be seen outside Spike's crypt in Giles' dream in "Restless".
  • Corner of Woe: Buffy sits in a lawnchair in the dark after seeing Spike sleeping with Anya.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Dawn tells Buffy that she could have told her about Spuffy. Buffy replies that she didn't want to admit it to herself.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Dawn strolls in just as Willow, Buffy and Xander are watching Spike and Anya on the ctv cameras, and Willow scrambles to cover her eyes.
  • Demon Scorned / Demons Do It On Tables: Anya and Spike.
  • Cutting the Knot: Tara gets her priorities right.
    Tara: Things fall apart; they fall apart so hard.
    Willow: Tara?
    Tara: You can't ever...put them back the way they were.
    Willow: Are you okay?
    Tara: I'm sorry, it's just... You know, it takes time. You can't just...have coffee and expect—
    Willow: I know.
    Tara: There's so much to work through. Trust has to be built again, on both sides. You have to learn if we're even the same people we were, if we can fit in each other's lives; it's a long and important process and can we just skip it? Can you just be kissing me now?
  • Death Glare: Spike to Buffy after she tells him to move on from their relationship. Buffy to Spike after the Relationship Reveal.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The Trio are shutting down their surveillance network to stop Willow from tracing them when they're distracted by the candid camera view of Anya and Spike having sex.
    Andrew: He [Spike] is so cool... [beat] And, I mean, the girl is hot. Too.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Willow telling Tara about the demon in "Doublemeat Palace".
    Tara: Okay, wait, it was under her wig?
    Willow: Well, it was this thing, it just came out from inside her head.
    Tara: That's disgusting. What did it look like?
    Willow: Well... let's put it this way. If I wasn't gay before...
  • The Dog Bites Back: Spike gets his revenge.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Anya tries to get Spike drunk so he'll curse Xander after breaking up with him. As Spike has been dumped by Buffy, the two end up sharing the bottle and having Sex for Solace.
  • Easily Forgiven: Buffy flaunts this when she breaks off her relationship with Spike. She isn't worried about him ratting her out because she knows her friends won't care that she's been banging Spike, since they aren't particularly upset that she tried to kill them all in the previous episode (though she was under a mystical influence at the time). Subverted by the end when the gang finds out; while Willow and Dawn accept it relatively easily, Xander reacts exactly as Buffy feared he would: with shock and horror.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Anya's first thought on seeing Spike is that she must get someone else to wish he'd become a woman, as her reputation had been built on helping Woman Scorned. Halfrek points out that while Anya's concern for womans rights is touching, men are entitled to a little vengeance too.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Buffy and Spike don't notice the Trio scooping up the disk from under their noses as they're too busy fighting vamps and exchanging Casual Danger Dialogue about their non-love life.
  • Foreshadowing: Willow and Tara get back together. If this was anyone else but Joss Whedon, no one would bat an eye. Thusly, the fans immediately prepared for the worst... and boy would they get it.
  • Game Face / Evil Sounds Deep: Our clue that Anya has returned to being a vengeance demon.
  • Get Out!: When Buffy tells Spike that his love was only real to him and that he should move on, Spike interrupts her with a "Get out" that sounds exceptionally menacing.
  • Generation Xerox: Buffy fears she's turning into Season 1 Joyce.
    Buffy: I'm cramping your teenage style.
    Dawn: No—
    Buffy: Yes, I am. (alarmed) I'm the embarrassing mom who tries too hard. When did this happen?
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Tara/Willow are bemused by the idea that they should be offended by this.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Willow picks up the Trio's wireless camera signals and uses it to find their location. "I'm still me!"
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Andrew watching Spike having sex.
    He is so cool. (glances at the others, self-consciously) And, I mean, the girl is hot too.
  • I Believe That You Believe It:
    Spike: I've tried to make it clear to you, but you won't see it. Something happened to me. The way I feel ... about you ... it's different. And no matter how hard you try to convince yourself it isn't, it's real.
    Buffy: I think it is. (Spike looks at her hopefully) For you.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: None of Xander's friends want to wish ill upon him. Anya points out that with her Limited Social Circle she's hardly going to stumble across someone who hates Xander enough, whereupon Spike enters the Magic Box.
  • Internal Reveal: Spuffy comes out. Willow and Dawn figure it out when they see Buffy's reaction to Spike and Anya having sex at The Magic Box. Spike reveals it to Anya and Xander during the final confrontation afterward.
  • In Vino Veritas: Averted — Spike is careful not to mention the name of the girl he's griping about to Anya while they're finding the bottom of a bottle of Scotch. He doesn't hesitate to vent about the Scoobies hypocrisy though.
  • Ironic Echo:
    Anya: Wait. Wait. (very soft whisper) What are we doing?
    Spike: Moving on.
  • Ironic Hell: Halfrek put a spell on a man who didn't pay child support so he'd get paper cuts every time he handled paperwork that wasn't a child support payment.
  • Just Friends: Tara and the girl Willow saw her peck on the cheek in the last episode.
  • Lady in Red: Anya getting her vengeance on. She turns out to be wearing a black bra underneath, so Red and Black, Keep Back also applies.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Buffy still doesn't want to mention Spuffy.
    Guys!? There's only been 4... 3! Only 3!
    • Or Willow mention Tillow.
    Tara: It's not like living with the house full of family, or sharing your room with someone you—
    Willow: Are-are friends with?
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Spike and Anya have sex on the table in the Magic Box shop...and get caught on camera doing it.
  • Mirror Monologue:
    Xander: I may have practiced that a couple times in front of the mirror.
  • Never Be a Hero: Dawn expresses her desire to start working with Buffy, a theme which would be carried over into Season 7.
    Buffy: Dawn, I work very hard to keep you away from that stuff. I don't want you around dangerous things that can kill you.
    Dawn: Which would be a perfectly reasonable argument, if my sister was chosen to protect the world from tax audits? But, see, my sister is you, and ... dangerous things that want to kill me seem to find me.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Albeit an accidental version.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging / Oblivious Mockery: Anya's stammered out excuse for why she slept with Spike hits pretty close to home for both Buffy and Spike.
    Anya: I felt bad and he was just there.
  • Red Alert: Goes off to tell the Trio that they're being hacked by Willow.
  • Retcon: Both Spike and Buffy seem to think he doesn't hurt her, ignoring the many episodes where he was at best just a dick to her.
    • To be fair, can explained with the fact that he is soulless and thus unequipped with any natural ability to be able to tell when he's hurting her unless she reacts accordingly. With Buffy's extreme case of Master of the Mixed Message in season 6, the line between good and bad was so blurred that he essentially had no idea when what he's doing was bad for her. Buffy presumably realized that though he did hurt her, he never actually meant to, which is not something she could say for herself towards him.
  • Revenge: Subverted when Anya gets her revenge accidentally, and then stops Spike from wishing further harm on Xander.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Xander kicks a garden gnome in frustration, only to reveal the Trio's camera when it breaks.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud:
    Willow: 'Uh', 'um' ... various sounds of hesitation...
    "Oh the great Xander thinks so. Shudder, Gasp!, it must be true.
  • Sex for Solace: Spike and Anya have no real desire to get together — it's just that they're just so crushed by their respective love interests, and also they've been drinking.
  • She's Back: Buffy is putting some serious effort into making up with Dawn and tracking down the Trio.
    Buffy: I want to find these guys!
  • Shout-Out: To Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the disk shining a light beam onto a map (spoofed when the map bursts into flame).
  • Sick and Wrong: Xander expresses his disgust that Anya "let that soulless thing touch you." Spike retorts with the In-Universe Wham Line that he was good enough for Buffy.
    Xander: Shut up and leave her out of— (long pause as his words sink in)
  • Songs of Solace: Xander listens to "Sao Paulo Rain" by Tom McRae while Drowning His Sorrows.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Allison Kraus's "That Kind of Love" plays over Anya, Spike, Buffy and Xander walking away from each other. The song is about deep love, while the characters on screen have all broken up. It's then subverted as it continues to play over Willow and Tara's Big Damn Kiss.
  • Spy Cam: Finding one sets the whole plot into motion.
  • Sundial Waypoint: Spoofed when the Trio use this technique to find a location on a map, only to have the map burst into flame from the concentrated sunlight.
  • Technicolor Science: Jonathan in his lab.
  • Tempting Fate: Played for Drama when Buffy dares Spike to blow the whistle on their Secret Relationship. He does so at the worst possible time.
  • Travelling Salesman Montage: Anya has a scene like this when she's trying to convince various women to wish for vengeance on Xander after he left her at the altar.
  • Trouble Entendre: The 'milk expiry date' conversation between Warren and Andrew; the latter ends up Comically Missing the Point.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: Used when Anya is tryng to get someone to unwittingly curse Xander.
    Buffy: Anya, Xander's my friend. I know what he did was wrong, and ... if it had happened to me, I'd—
    Anya: (hopefully) Wish his penis would explode?
    [Smash Cut to the Magic Box.]
    Dawn: I never use that word anymore. note 
  • The Unfair Sex: Deconstructed. Anya is the wronged party, having been left at the altar and humiliated on her wedding day. Xander is depicted sympathetically and Anya's attempts at getting revenge are portrayed as petty and selfish. She sleeps with Spike and ends up getting her revenge accidentally when Xander sees it on a hidden camera. Even before she discovers that Xander has seen it, it's shown that she regrets it immediately. And the final act of the episode does a good job of showing that, far from being a stereotypical Woman Scorned, Anya is just a girl that's had her heart broken and has no clue how to actually deal with her pain. The episode also doesn't really give Xander any moral high ground when he tries to judge Anya for sleeping with Spike (and by the next episode he says he understands why she would do it).
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Both Anya and Spike spend most of the episode angry and vindictive about their break-ups, then end up getting accidental revenge by sleeping together in sight of their respective exes. By the time they're confronted by Xander and Buffy, it's pretty clear just from the looks on their faces that neither one feels remotely better for it.
  • Vertical Kidnapping: Spike does this to a vampire in the opening scene, holding him by the collar while arguing with Buffy.
  • Weaponised Car: Cold Opens with the Trio chasing vampires on ATV's fitted with large wooden stakes.
  • Younger than She Looks
    Dawn: You guys went out patrolling every night when you were my age.
    Buffy: True ... but technically, you're one-and-a-half.