Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 6, Episode 19
Air date May 7, 2002
Written by Steven DeKnight
Directed by Michael Gershman
Episode Guide
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
Troy Brenna Nezzla Demon
Dean Grimes Frank Sidekick #1

"Seeing Red" is the nineteenth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred nineteenth episode altogether. It was written by Steven DeKnight and directed by Michael Gershman. It originally broadcast on May 7, 2002.

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

Tara and Willow cuddle in bed after their reconciliation. Meanwhile, The Trio steal the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan, which grant their owner strength and invulnerability. Buffy has to stop Spike from raping her; horrified by his own actions, Spike leaves Sunnydale. Buffy confronts The Trio mid-robbery, and renders Warren powerless by smashing his orbs. Warren escapes, leaving Andrew and Jonathan to face the police.

Warren returns the next day with a gun. He shoots Buffy, and a stray bullet into the upstairs window kills Tara. Xander frantically tries to help Buffy while Tara lies dead in Willow's arms. Willow's eyes glow deep red with fury.

Summary[edit | edit source]

Dawn sees Willow and Tara together.

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 her sexual relationship with Spike. 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 instead encounters Dawn in the hallway. When Tara appears wearing just a sheet, Dawn is thrilled to see they are back together.

Buffy, meanwhile, has decided to take care of The Trio once and for all and breaks into their lair, but finds the place deserted and dangerous traps waiting for her. She escapes, managing to grab a few items before large saw blades tear apart the house. Buffy, Dawn, Willow, and Tara gather to go over those items, realizing sadly that the rest of the group won't be helping since they all have other priorities or lack interest. Anya sits with a young scorned woman who wants to wish vengeance on her cheating boyfriend, but Anya is too busy talking about her own relationship problems to notice the young woman's wish. Dawn visits Spike at his crypt, informing him that she knows he had sex with Anya and Buffy. She lectures him about hurting Buffy when he supposedly loves her and leaves him pondering the thought of how he shows his love to her.

Warren tries out the Orbs of Nezzla'Khan.

Meanwhile in a cave, The Trio kill 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, and as he fetches the Orbs, the other two conspire against him. Warren tests the power of the Orbs 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 Buffy. 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 over Anya and Spike when The Trio enter. Orb-enhanced Warren hits on a former schoolmate's girlfriend, and when the woman's boyfriend steps in, Warren fights off the boyfriend and several others with ease. Xander tries to intervene, but is tossed aside, and Warren comes very close to killing him before Jonathan and Andrew intervene and inform him of their "job" tonight.

Spike attempts to rape Buffy.

Later, at home in bed, Willow reviews some files on her laptop, but is quickly distracted by Tara. Buffy, badly injured from patrolling earlier, sets up a bath for herself to soothe her aching back. Spike shows up uninvited and tries to convince her that she loves him and just needs to admit it. She protests as he forces himself on her, an attempt to make her feel love for him again. With her back injured, Buffy barely manages to stop him from raping her. Spike is immediately stunned by his behavior and tries to apologize, but Buffy knows he only stopped because she made him. When Xander notices Spike's coat on the stairs, then finds Buffy on the floor in the bathroom with a large bruise on her leg, he realizes what has happened. His desire to go after Spike is thwarted when Willow and Tara arrive to tell Buffy they found plans indicating The Trio are planning to steal a large amount of money. After Xander warns her of Warren's new strength, Buffy rushes off to stop them.

Returning to his crypt, Spike thinks back on his attempted rape, questioning what Buffy and the chip are doing to him. He pours himself a drink, but becomes infuriated not that he attacked Buffy, but that he backed off - something the pre-chip Spike would never have done, especially with the Slayer wounded, but also at the same time feels disgusted with himself that he actually did such an act and with that crushes the glass in his hand. Just then, Clem comes by and Spike begins to wonder exactly what he is. He realizes aloud that he is not a monster, yet can't be a man. Clem tells him that things change, and Spike suddenly gets an idea, and tells Clem that things do change... if you make them.


Warren shooting

Warren overturns an armored car loaded up with money from a big weekend at an amusement park. Buffy shows up and fights him, but Warren quickly gains the upper hand. No matter how hard Buffy hits, Warren counters twice as hard. 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, immediately grabs it and destroys them before kicking the now-depowered Warren full force in the chest. As a visibly enraged Buffy advances, Warren, outraged and humiliated, uses a hidden jet pack to escape freely 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.

Willow holds Tara's dead body in her arms.

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

Willow sees red.

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, and 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, and they make up. 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 randomly 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 and dies. Xander tries to stanch the bleeding of Buffy's chest wound, while in the house, Willow cries out as she holds Tara's lifeless body and her eyes turn magically dark red with pain and fury.

Continuity[edit | edit source]

  • The time period spanning from the last scene of this episode up to the end of the season takes place within twenty-four hours.
  • The Trio's skinning of the demon foreshadows Warren's flaying by Dark Willow. Also, Andrew calls Jonathan a "skin job," a reference to the film Blade Runner. 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")
  • From Tara's gravestone, her death occurs on May 7, 2002 which was the original airdate of this episode. ("Help")
  • 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.
  • Spike's horror of nearly raping Buffy would be his sole motivation to regain a soul and be a better man, which he received in "Grave". However, this event also caused Buffy to distrust Spike and briefly have a strained relationship with him, which is shown in early Season Seven.
  • 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.
  • Tara is unique amongst the Scooby Gang in that during her time on the show she was never tied up and was never possessed or went evil.
  • Although this is by far the most extreme example Buffy has been sexually assaulted before in episodes such as "Halloween", "Phases", "Go Fish" , "The Pack", and arguably in "Prophecy Girl" and "Get It Done". 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" and Willow having sex with Tara in "Once More, With Feeling" after using magic on her in the preceding episode could also be construed as rape.
  • When Tara is shot she is wearing the shirt (or a shirt fitting the same description) that Willow wanted to wear to Joyce's funeral in "Forever."
  • Clem echoes Spike from Lover's 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.

Body Count[edit | edit source]

  • One Nezzla demon, killed by the Trio to extract his skin.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • In the DVD commentary, 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.[2] That scene has also generated intense controversy between fans and the writers, but writer Jane Espenson says that that moment was necessary to set up a powerful motivation for Spike's quest to gain a soul. As 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?"
  • 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.
  • Tara's death provoked a strong reaction from fans, many of whom claimed that the show was homophobic in killing Tara (who spent much of the episode naked in bed with Willow), and that her death contributed to the stereotype of homosexual relationships on television ending badly, usually with the death or turn to evil of one of the partners. Joss Whedon and Amber Benson both deny that Tara's death was ill-intentioned, and insist that it was only meant to further Willow's character.
  • This is the last episode written by Steven S. DeKnight.
  • This is the last time in the series where someone has been added to the main cast.

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors[edit | edit source]

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.
  • In the same scene in the bar, 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.
  • 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."

International Titles[edit | edit source]

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

Music[edit | edit source]

Other[edit | edit source]

  • On the Jump The Shark site, Tara's death has a high rating for the moment the show was considered to have jumped. However, a much larger number of people voted that the show never jumped.
  • Joyce's picture can be seen in the Summers house.
  • In this episode, Buffy causes a stone archway to cave in. This is probably her greatest feat of physical strength in the series.

Quotes[edit | edit source]

Andrew: "I can't wait to get my hands on his orbs."
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." (He pulls his fist back for a final punch, which pulls his jacket back, revealing the pouch on his belt. Buffy sees it and, before Warren can move, lunges forward and grabs the pouch before slamming it against the ground. Blue light flashes, suffusing Warren, then leaving him and shooting toward the smashed orbs. Warren looks dazed as Buffy stands up.)
Buffy: "Good night, bitch." (She does a serious spin-kick that sends Warren flying back and tumbling to the ground near his comrades. He climbs slowly to his feet, looking half-scared and half-surprised.)
Buffy: (advancing) "You're nothing but a sad little boy, Warren. But it's time you grow up, and pay for what you've done."
Jonathan: (angrily, to Andrew) "Jet packs. You jerks were setting me up to take the fall."
Andrew: (about Warren, crying) "He left me. He flew away and left me." (They enter the police station, go down some steps and into a lobby area. Various cops and handcuffed prisoners are moving about, etc. Andrew and Jonathan pause and stand there looking around. Andrew is crying.)
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- (catches himself) hanging out with us."
Xander: (looks over Buffy's shoulder at Warren entering the scene) "Buffy..."
Warren: (strides over to Xander and Buffy while still wearing the all-black outfit from last night, as Buffy and Xander jump up and turn to face him) "You think you can just do that to me? You think I'd let you get away with that? (laughs crazily) Think again."
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?"
Buffy: "Ask me again why I could never love you!"
Spike: "Buffy... My God, I didn't--"
Buffy: "Because I stopped you! Something I should have done a long time ago...
Tara: "Your shirt ..."

References[edit | edit source]

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