As You Were (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|"As You Were"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Riley returns to Sunnydale on a mission, and asks for Buffy's help
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Doug Petrie|
|Written by||Doug Petrie|
|Original air date||February 26, 2002|
"As You Were" is the fifteenth episode of season 6 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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On the way home from work, Buffy is attacked by a vampire, but the smell of Doublemeat Palace makes him lose his appetite; Buffy stakes him all the same. At home, Buffy finds Spike waiting in front of her house. She knows what he's there for, but with Dawn waiting inside, she refuses to let him follow her into the house. He persuades her to stay outside with him instead.
The next day, Buffy learns that her application to re-enroll in UC Sunnydale has been rejected because she missed the deadline. At work, Buffy tends to the grill like a depressed robot, and so is sent up to the counter. Her first customer is unexpected: Riley.
Buffy leaves her job to help Riley. They fight a monster on the streets of Sunnydale, but it escapes. Riley and Buffy pursue in his car. A brief interlude shows Xander and Anya having a spat while sitting in traffic. At a dam, Riley and Buffy have further battles and lose the demon yet again. Buffy meets Riley's wife, Sam.
Sam quickly jumps into a fight with the Suvolte demon. Buffy recovers from the shock of Riley being married and Riley catches her up on his life since he left. The demon strikes Sam and Riley rushes to help her as Buffy approaches the demon from behind and snaps its neck. Riley's shocked that she killed it and Buffy soon finds out from Sam that they weren't trying to kill it. Improvising, Sam takes a knife from Riley and cuts into the demon's gut as Buffy watches on, still confused. Sam observes that they're too late and the three head for Buffy's home where it should be safe. Riley mentions that Sam's cutting skills are good because she's a doctor and promises Buffy that he'll take the time to fill her in on everything.
At the house, almost everyone greets Riley with open arms; Dawn is still angry over his sudden departure a year ago. Sam and Riley begin to describe the gory details of the demon and the mission; although Riley is concerned about letting Dawn hear about it, Sam sticks up for the teen and she gets to stay with the "grownups". Sam explains that the Suvolte demon, which multiplies quickly and can destroy towns full of people in no time, has come to the Hellmouth to lay a nest full of its offspring. A demonic dealer in Sunnydale by the name of "The Doctor" is suspected of holding the eggs for a fee.
Buffy suggests they split up and as Sam heads off to find Riley, Buffy aims directly for Spike's crypt. Upon arrival, she questions him about "The Doctor," but when he has no immediate answers, she changes the subject to his feelings for her and eventually pulls him to her for some physical comfort. Later that evening, Buffy and Spike sleep under a blanket together and Spike wakes to find Riley has walked in on them. Riley then identifies Spike as "The Doctor" and demands to know where the eggs are.
The whole gang gathers to say goodbye to Sam and Riley. While Riley describes to Xander where and how his wedding took place, Sam and Willow confirm that they have each other's e-mail addresses for future contact. A helicopter arrives and carries the couple off into the night. The next day, Buffy finds Spike at his crypt. She tells Spike that she is not going to go into the wrongness of dealing with the Suvolte eggs because, as he said, that's just who he is. Instead she has come to tell him that although she wants him, she can never love him so it would be wrong to keep using him the way she has been, so it is over. Spike thinks that this is her usual routine of playing hard to get, but Buffy is serious and walks out with a final goodbye.
The A.V. Club called this "one of the most entertaining—and unexpectedly emotional—Buffy episodes in a good long while," noting that Riley appears "as a stark reminder of what Buffy's missing in her life at this moment, and as a catalyst for change." TheTVCritic.org noted that it succeeded to hit the emotional points it was aiming for, and particularly praised Riley's speech about how great Buffy is.
The website Critically Touched awards a rating of 73 out of 100 (C+), arguing that the episode is "unbelievably hokey and silly" because of the "apparent marriage/military bliss" of Riley and Sam, but concludes that "this is an episode that has a few irritating missteps, but, despite itself, manages to pull itself into a really worthwhile episode containing some fabulous, character-altering moments. This entire season has struggled with its plots, but the character material still shines through brightly."
Critically Touched and the website The Buffy Phenomenon see this episode as a turning point in Buffy's life:
... we see a Buffy who has sadly turned into the very thing she found so strange about the Doublemeat Palace at first: the near-emotionless worker who stares blankly around and does her job on autopilot. What does Riley provide? He provides a sense of urgent necessity and a reason to jump into action. When Buffy spends a moment to consider whether to help Riley or not, I think it causes some immediate self-reflection. Buffy's been called into action again and it allows her, for the first time since her resurrection, to feel like herself again -- like she has a purpose; like the person she used to be. This is what the title of episode is in reference to.
The Buffy Phenomenon said more bluntly, "Now that the worst episode of the sixth season has aired, it is all uphill from here."
- Riley returns to the show for the last time and is never spoken of again.
- Buffy confesses to Spike she cannot love him and that she knows she is using him which leads to her ending their physical relationship.
- "That Old Spud of Mine (episode recap)". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Murray, Noel (Feb 18, 2011). "Buffy / Angel: "As You Were"/"Loyalty"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- "As You Were". TheTvCritic.org. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Marinaro, Mikelangelo (June 1, 2008). "6x15: "As You Were"". Critically Touched. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
- "AS YOU WERE (ep #6.15)". www.phi-phenomenon.org/buffy. December 5, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2015.
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