Episode Title: Smashed
Original Air Date: November 20th 2001
“Help me out here, Spock, I don’t speak loser.” – Spike
On the last episode we ended on a series of goodbyes as Willow and Tara broke up and Giles returned to England. Of course Willow isn’t alone for long as she manages to “de-rat” Amy with the pair soon running wild in Sunnydale.
Having accidently turned herself into a rat way back in season 3, Amy’s interactions have been limited to say the least and yet she has remained constantly a background presence in the show. Perhaps she would have stayed in her rat form had the fans not written to Joss Wheldon constantly to highlight the fact that the lifespan of a rat is around three years leading the showrunners here to finally bring her back even somehow managing to even give her a make over as she returns to human form with a whole new look than when she was changed.
Amy is an interesting element to add to the series, having demonstrated a history of using magic for her own personal gain, to have her now back in human form she really isn’t the person who Willow should be around especially with her own magic abuses getting out of hand. Now with an enabler like Amy she wastes little time in getting back into bad habits as we see during the pair casually and openly using magic at the Bronze to change the band, turn a pair of guys into caged gogo dancers and more randomly spawn a bunch of goats on the dance floor. Remove the Amy element and Willow is still shown to be out of control with her magic as she uses her powers to hack on her laptop much to the mild shock of her friends whose hopes of seeing the old Willow are quickly dashed.
Something which confused me though about Willow and Tara’s break up was Dawn’s part as we see her on an outing with Tara whose undertone is less of two friends and instead more like a seperated parent on a weekend visit with their child. Why was it that the showrunners frequently tried to treat Dawn like Tara and Willow’s child? She already has a relationship with Buffy that saw her playing dual roles as parent and sister so why the constant need to force this relationship with these scenes?
Buffy and Spike meanwhile continue their baffling relationship as Spike discovers that his chip allows him to hit Buffy because she “Came back wrong” rather than leading into Spike finally killing Buffy as he’s banged on about for so long. Nope instead we end on the pair having an intense make out / demolition session in a derelict house which I’m sure a portion of the Buffy fans were pleased about, while the rest of us were left wondering why.
Thankfully to keep things fun “The Trio” return this week as they engage in a diamond heist with perdictably comedic results when their freeze gun proves to be as hazardous to the user as the person its being used on. True they might still not make much sense at this point as a big evil, but for what they lack they certainly make up for in comedic value, especially at this point in the series though its clear that Warren is already shaping up to be the leader of the group, especially when he’s often shown as the most competent of the three.
A pretty middle of the road episode even though the return of Amy is certainly welcome it does little to drive the season forward outside of appealing to those Buffy / Spike shippers who for whom this episode no doubt rates higher.
Next Episode: Wrecked