October 3rd, 2019

buffy/spike as you were

Improving As You Were

As You Were is one of the most unpopular Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, and I get why. Riley and his wife are too perfect, and Spike as the Doctor doesn't really make sense. But from when I first watched it, all I could think of is how a few minor changes could make it a great episode.

Take Riley's perfect life: as many have suggested, the appearance of perfection could partly be from the Scoobies' perspective. They see Riley's life as perfect because their lives are doing so poorly. But Riley's speech also has a hint as to why Riley, who was such a mess when he left in season five, could be doing well now: "Wheel never stops turning, Buffy. You're up, you're down...it doesn't change who you are."

Imagine how much more resonance the episode would have if Riley had explicitly applied it to himself. If, instead of nobly telling Buffy she didn't need to apologize, he instead pointed out that he was a doing badly when she last saw him, and look how well he was doing now. Pointed out that the same could happen to her. Just one small change would make the whole episode so much better.