Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 6, Episode 19
Seeing Red Xander Buffy 01.jpg
Air date May 7, 2002
Written by Steven DeKnight
Directed by Michael Gershman
Episode Guide
previous
"Entropy"
Angel:
"A New World"
next
"Villains"
Angel:
"Benediction"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
Amber Benson Tara
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Guest Starring
Danny Strong Jonathan
Adam Busch Warren
Tom Lenk Andrew
Amy Hathaway Christine
Nichole Hiltz Diana
Co Starring
James C. Leary Clem
Garrett Brawith Frank
Tim Hager Administrator
Stephan Marks Guard #1
Christopher James Guard #2
Kate Orsini Girl at Bronze
Uncredited
Troy Brenna Nezzla Demon
Dean Grimes Frank Sidekick #1

"Seeing Red" is the nineteenth episode of the sixth season of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show and the 119th episode in the series. Written by Steven DeKnight and directed by Michael Gershman, it originally broadcast on May 7, 2002 on UPN.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Willow and Tara snuggle in bed together after their reconciliation, discussing the possibility that something is going on between Buffy and Spike. Tara confirms Willow's suspicions, adding that Buffy feels ashamed of it. Though Willow is hurt that she was never told, she puts it aside when Tara informs her that she is reacting exactly how Buffy feared she would react. Willow goes to check on Buffy, but she instead encounters Dawn in the hallway. When Tara appears wearing just a sheet, Dawn is thrilled to see they are back together.

Meanwhile, Buffy breaks into the Trio's lair but finds the place deserted, with dangerous traps waiting for her. She escapes, managing to grab a few items before large saw blades tear apart the basement. Buffy, Dawn, Willow, and Tara gather to go over those items, realizing that the rest of the group won't be helping since they all have other priorities or lack interest.

Anya sits with a young woman who wants to wish vengeance on her cheating boyfriend. Anya is too busy talking about her own relationship problems to notice her wish. Dawn visits Spike at his crypt, informing him that she knows he had sex with Anya and Buffy. Before leaving, Dawn lectures him about hurting Buffy when he supposedly loves her.

Meanwhile in a cave, the Trio kills a large Nezzla demon who is guarding the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan. Warren and Andrew make Jonathan wrap himself in the dead Nezzla demon's skin to cross a barrier that can only be passed by one of the demons. As he fetches the Orbs, the other two conspire against him. With the Orbs, Warren tests their power and is pleased when he can easily kill another demon.

Xander, aghast that Buffy could have been involved with Spike, storms out of an argument with her. He walks the streets alone, pausing briefly to secretly look in on Anya as she works at the Magic Box. He ends up at the Bronze, drinking away his sorrow, when the Trio enters. Orb-enhanced Warren hits on a former schoolmate's girlfriend; when the woman's boyfriend steps in, Warren fights him off and several others with ease. Xander tries to intervene, but is tossed aside. Warren comes close to killing him before Jonathan and Andrew intervene and remind him of their "job" tonight.

Later, at home in bed, Willow reviews some files on her laptop, but is quickly distracted by Tara. Buffy, badly injured from the earlier patrol, sets up a bath for herself. Spike shows up uninvited and tries to convince her that she loves him and just needs to admit it. He then forces himself on her as she protests, an attempt to make her feel love for him again. Buffy finally manages to kick him away from her. Spike is immediately stunned and tries to apologize, but Buffy says he only stopped because she made him.

Xander notices Spike's duster on the stairs. He finds Buffy on the bathroom's floor with a large bruise on her leg. He realizes what has happened and wants to go after Spike, but Willow and Tara arrive to tell Buffy they found plans indicating the Trio are planning to steal a large amount of money. Xander warns her of Warren's new strength, then Buffy rushes off to stop them.

Returning to his crypt, Spike thinks back on his attempted rape. He pours himself a drink but crushes the glass in his hand. Just then, Clement comes by and Spike begins to question what have he done, why didn't he do it, and what has she done to him. exactly what he is. He says he can feel the chip in his head and that things between Slayers and vampires were clearer before. He realizes aloud that he isn't allowed to be a monster, yet can't be a man. Clem tells him that things change. Spike suddenly gets an idea and tells Clem that things do change, if you make them.

Warren overturns an armored car loaded up with money from a big weekend at an amusement park. Buffy shows up and fights him, but he quickly gains the upper hand. Warren taunts Buffy with his supposed mastery, boasting that he has finally bested the Slayer when no one else has ever done so. Jonathan jumps on Buffy's back and appears to be fighting her, but he quietly informs her that she needs to smash the Orbs in order to defeat Warren. Warren finally overpowers Buffy and has her at his mercy, but Buffy, noticing the pouch containing the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan on his belt, grabs it and destroys them, before kicking the now-depowered Warren in the chest. Buffy advances and Warren uses a hidden jet pack to escape into the sky, but not before swearing that he will take Buffy down. Andrew reveals he too has a jet pack, but when he tries to escape, he only knocks himself out on the overhanging roof above him. As the cops haul Jonathan and Andrew off to jail, the jet pack-less Jonathan realizes that the two were about to betray him.

Meanwhile, at the city limits, Spike boards his motorcycle and leaves Sunnydale. He makes a promise that, when he returns, things will be different.

The next day, Willow and Tara get dressed and, while hugging, Tara notices Xander and Buffy in the backyard together. Buffy and Xander begin to discuss Buffy's relationship with Spike. Xander tells her that he was hurt she didn't trust him enough to tell him about the relationship but accepts that he gave her plenty of reason to believe he would react badly. The two accept they've made some very bad choices recently but know they can't imagine life without the other.

As the two hug, Xander spots Warren entering the backyard with a gun. Warren rants about his recent defeat and declares his intentions of revenge. He pulls out the gun and fires directly at Buffy, who pushes Xander to the ground, then shoots over his shoulder as he runs away. The window to Willow's bedroom is broken and a bullet strikes Tara in the back as she's facing Willow. The blood from her wound splashes on Willow's shirt. Tara stares at the stain and manages to say "Your shirt..." before she collapses. Xander tries to stanch the bleeding of Buffy's chest wound, while in the house, Willow cries out as she holds Tara's body. Willow's eyes turn dark red.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • The Trio's skinning of the demon foreshadows Warren's flaying by Dark Willow. The show's obsession with skin will continue into the next season, where Gnarl flays victims alive, including a paralyzed Willow ("Same Time, Same Place").
  • The Trio's hideout has a bank of Apple flat-screens, the favorite computer company of the series. We later see Willow working with her iBook again.[citation needed]
  • Buffy has been sexually assaulted before in episodes such as "Halloween," "Phases," "Go Fish," and "The Pack." Buffy was also sexually harassed in "Anne" and "Helpless." She was also under the legal age of consent in California when she lost her virginity to Angel in "Surprise." Faith's sex with Riley whilst in Buffy's body in "Who Are You?" could also be construed as rape.
  • Spike's horror for what he did in this episode motivates him to regain a soul, which he'll receive in "Grave." However, this event also caused Buffy to distrust Spike and briefly have a strained relationship with him, which is shown in "Beneath You."
  • Spike says "It won't let me be a monster. And I can't be a man. I'm nothing." This mimics what Buffy said to him in "Smashed."
  • Clem echoes Spike from Lovers Walk: "Love's a funny thing."
  • Xander's lament that he is part fish recalls his brief tenure as a member of the Sunnydale High swim team in "Go Fish."
  • When Tara is shot, she is wearing the shirt that Willow wanted to wear to Joyce's funeral in "Forever."
  • The time period spanning from the last scene of this episode up to the end of the season ("Grave") takes place within twenty-four hours.
  • From Tara's gravestone in "Help," her death occurs on May 7, 2002, which is the original airdate of this episode.

Death count[edit | edit source]

  • One Nezzla demon, killed by the Trio.
  • One Nezzla demon, neck snapped by Warren.
  • One vampire, staked by Buffy.
  • Tara Maclay, accidentally shot by Warren Mears with a gun.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

  • Amber Benson is added to the opening credits for this episode only. Joss Whedon had long wanted to kill off a major character in the same episode in which they first joined the main credits (he'd hope to do so with Jesse in the pilot, but couldn't afford to make an extra set of opening credits). This is the first and only episode where Amber Benson appears in the main title credits, and is also her death episode. This is the last time in the series where someone has been added to the main cast.
  • In the DVD commentaries, James Marsters said that filming the scene in which Spike attempts to rape Buffy was one of the hardest he ever had to do. He has since said that he will never do such a scene again.[1] Writer Jane Espenson says that that moment was necessary to set up a powerful motivation for Spike's quest to gain a soul.[citation needed] James Marsters points out: "How do you motivate him [to] make a mistake that's so heart-rending that he'd be willing to do that?"[citation needed]
  • In the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion that took place between seasons six and seven, Alyson Hannigan revealed that getting the shot of Tara's blood spraying onto Willow's shirt was incredibly difficult. Because they only had two shirts, the wardrobe department kept washing the shirts but did not have time to dry them, so the shirt was wet in most of the takes. Hannigan joked that when they finally got the take she wasn't sure what she was doing acting-wise, she was just concerned with, "Was that blood good? OK, good. Let's move on."
  • By the end of the filming of Tara's death scene, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Amber Benson were crying: "A really close friend of all of us at work had just passed away and it brought all of that back."[2]
  • This is the last episode written by Steven DeKnight.

Broadcast[edit | edit source]

  • The episode was transmitted to Canadian affiliates a week early by accident. Although none of them broadcasted the episode by mistake, the episode was leaked onto the internet more than a week before it was meant to air. UPN did not transmit this episode incorrectly, the mistake was made by Fox International's satellite uplink facility.

Deleted Scenes[edit | edit source]

  • A line was cut where Buffy tells Xander that it's a little early in the morning for him to be drinking:
Xander: "The tyranny of the clock must be overthrown."
Buffy: "So how many coup d'états is that?"
Xander: "General Cirrhosis has seized control of the Liver Parliament."

Pop culture references[edit | edit source]

  • "It's Klingon. They're love poems." Xander's Star Trek references proved again something he shares with the nerds.
  • Andrew's line "Not so tough are you now, Pufnstuf," is a reference to the children's television series H.R. Pufnstuf.
  • The figurine Buffy looked at with disgust in the Nerds' lair was a model of Vampirella, a sexy comic book figure who kills vampires.
  • When Spike complained that he could feel the chip "squirmin' in [his] head," Clem suggested a wet cloth which, in Total Recall, was used by Doug Quaid to block a signal from a tracking chip in his head.
  • When they are in the bar, Jonathan says "We are risking everything so that Charles Atlas can get a date," referring to Warren, carrying the orbs, flirting with one of the girls in the bar. Charles Atlas was a famous bodybuilder.
  • When Jonathan mentions to Andrew the possibility of teaming up on Warren, Andrew responds: "Warren's the boss. He's Picard, you're Deanna Troi." This is a reference to Star Trek.
  • Xander said to Buffy that Warren got all "Mighty Mouse," so she didn't have to hold back fighting him.
  • Warren says to Andrew "Just stay frosty," a quote from the character Cpl. Hicks, in the 1986 film Aliens.
  • Andrew calls Jonathan a "skin job," a reference to the film Blade Runner.
  • The saws in the Trio's lair were placed like the ones in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Clem refers to the popular TV-series Knight Rider: "There's a Knight Rider marathon on TV."
  • RocketMan: Buffy says that "Warren pulled a rocket man."

Music[edit | edit source]

International titles[edit | edit source]

  • French: "Rouge passion" (Passion Red)
  • German: "Warrens Rache" (Warren's Revenge)
  • Italian: "Profondo Rosso" (Deep Red)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Final Trágico" (Tragic Ending)

Other[edit | edit source]

  • This episode begins a tradition in television shows created by Joss Whedon in which a character's lover is killed/injured in front of them, and their blood sprays on the characters clothing and face. Tara's blood sprays on Willow in this episode when she is shot. Later, on Angel, when Fred becomes fatally sick after being infected by Illyria, she coughs up blood onto her lover, Wesley. In Whedon's Serenity, the character of Hoban "Wash" Washboune is killed by a harpoon through the side of the ship, and his blood sprays on his wife Zoe. And on Dollhouse, this happens twice: the character of Bennet Halverson is shot in the head, and her blood sprays on the man she had just kissed, Topher Brink; and Mellie shoots herself in the head, her blood spraying on the face of her lover, Paul.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Buffy: "Just making sure there are no more evil trio cameras. Or... evil uno."
Xander: "The sinister yet addictive card game?"
Warren: "Say good night, bitch."
Buffy: "Good night, bitch. You're nothing but a sad little boy, Warren. But it's time you grow up, and pay for what you've done."
Jonathan: "Jet packs. You jerks were setting me up to take the fall."
Andrew: "He left me. He flew away and left me."
Jonathan: "Oh god, the Big House."
Andrew: "How could he do this to me? He promised we'd be together, but... he was just using me. He never really loved— hanging out with us."
Willow: "I think something might be going on with Spike and Buffy. I mean, she looked so hurt when she saw him with Anya. I think maybe..."
Tara: "They've been sleeping together."
Willow: "No. I wouldn't go that far."
Tara: "No, I mean, she told me they've been sleeping together."
Willow: "Sleeping together? You mean, like, the naked kinda together?"
Warren: "You think you can just do that to me? You think I'd let you get away with that? Think again."

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "James Marsters on Life After Buffy". UPI, June 11, 2003.
  2. "Final thoughts, including some spoilers." BBC. Retrieved on February 21, 2021.
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