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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 6 Episode 2

Bargaining (2)

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 02, 2001 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
484 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

As a gang of demon bikers attack, the Scooby Gang is chased away from Buffy’s gravesite thinking that the resurrection was a failure. They do not realize that the Slayer is alive...right where they left her. Buffy is awake but disoriented and afraid as she must claw her way out of her own grave. The Slayer is back, but if her friends cannot get to her and snap her out of the daze she is in, they may lose Buffy all over again.moreless

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  • Part two struggles a bit because it spends too much screen time dragging out the lame biker demon threat.

    With that said, there's still plenty of important character development and powerful images that keep this episode alive and darkly cracking. Most of the great material, and where most of the episode focuses, comes from a very new, very confused, and desparately saddened Buffy. There's a lot of really fantastic subtle acting from SMG here, and even more in the follow up "After Life". Quick! To the heart of the review! Away!

    Actually, before I begin I just want to express a grievance of mine in that a lot of people seem to talk about how many times Buffy dies and comes back like it's 'cool' or something. I really hate this because it gives off a really bad impression to new viewers. Buffy does not die a lot. In my mind she only genuinely dies, in the permanent sense, once in the entire series: "The Gift". The "dead in the medical sense" is really overblown by people and makes it seem like Buffy dying is frequent and a joke. This annoys me to no end. Stop talking like that! It scares away new viewers and isn't even really true.

    With that said, Buffy's alive! There are so many ways this could have been handled poorly, but "Bargaining," "After Life," and the rest of S6 are fortunately up to the chore of handling this realistically. Here in this episode Buffy goes through three distinctive states starting with shock, then moving into utter confusion, then finally the dead weight that is depression. Let me preface my feelings about Buffy's mental state this season by saying that I've never been this depressed myself before, I cannot directly relate to her relationship with Spike, and I've never had reason to be quite that ashamed with my actions before.

    I say all this because I still find all this subject matter utterly captivating and thought-provoking. To be able to get inside someone's head during extremely dark times, see how they struggle, and see them find the strength to pull out of it is something that's not only useful insight for me in case I ever need to help someone who's like this, but also if I myself ever have a really bad spell in my life. Also, this is all just plain fascinating to think about.

    As long as you look closely, which sometimes requires noticing some sutble material, S6 is as strongly written as any other season of Buffy after the first, with the notable exception of Willow's characterization in "Wrecked". What's especially true is that the writers still completely excel at showing me what's inside the characters' heads and why they're doing what they're doing. Buffy does some shameful things this season but, you know, I understand why she's doing them and still sympathize while cheering her on to overcome very traumatic internal problems.

    "Bargaining Pt. 2" begins a very long, very harsh road for Buffy to travel this season. As she's ripped out of heaven and dropped into her body on Earth she awakens in utter shock, trapped in her own coffin with no light aside from the residue of the spell that Willow casted, and has practically no air. This forces her to horrifyingly punch her way through her coffin, crawl up through the dirt, exactly like a vampire, and then claw her way to the surface -- all this nearly kills her immediately again. It's at this point where a particular scene in "Nightmares" becomes strikingly relevant: one of Buffy's worst fears was being buried alive and having to crawl out of her own grave. Well, Buffy is now forced to live this nightmare for real, and it's not pretty.

    After her hand plunges from the dirt in her grave, she pulls herself out and in complete shock must stare at her own tombstone in the black of night. As she roams the streets of Sunnydale, in flames from the bikers, we get a visually impressive metaphor in that the literal burning is representative of hell itself. This is where Buffy thinks she is now, and I can't blame her when considering where she was only minutes earlier. Buffy looks completely disorientated, confused, and scared. The little touches, like how Buffy is pained and incredibly reactionary to loud noises and any bright light, add a lot to the overall effect of these sequences. The overall imagery here is very impressive and actually makes good use of a gang of demons that just terrorized the town.

    Buffy finally wanders herself into the demon crowd, 100% disorientated and still without any words, to watch the final embodiment of a care-free existence of herself very violently ripped apart into pieces all over the ground -- another metaphor representing her loss of happiness and her mind being shattered into a ton of pieces. Welcome to S6 everyone! Some people fail to see that just because the later seasons don't use the supernatural to create commentary on life in high school doesn't mean it doesn't make use of metaphor anymore.

    Eventually Buffy bumps into the Scoobies for the first time since being back, and she pretty much doesn't even recognize them. When Razor, the lead demon, starts making big threats Buffy steps up, takes a hit to her face, and then pummels him into the ground. The Scoobies are all excited by this behavior thinking that it indicates Buffy's mentally back, but her lack of pun or any comment whatsoever when looking over Razor's body signals something far scarier. The reason why Buffy fought was pure slayer instinct, nothing more. The Buffy of old is not back with a one episode trial and a cheery Ghandi quip or an "I'm good". Buffy is seriously damaged right now and it will take time to figure out just who this new person is. That person, alas, will never be the person she was pre-S6 which is exactly why Buffy is my favorite piece of 'entertainment' ever.

    As Buffy's memories start to flood her brain she finds her way back to Glory's tower -- the spot of her last memories on Earth. When she finally reaches the top of tower, there's a quick and subtle moment where Buffy actually warmly smiles because she briefly replays the moment of complete clarity and purpose she reached in "The Gift". But this moment is short-lived when the reality of her current situation comes crashing down on her. Buffy wants that clarity of purpose back, so she places herself on the edge of the tower wanting to commit suicide to go back to the beautiful place she was at.

    It's vitally important to realize that her first unique sentence in this season is "Is this hell?" She continues to tell Dawn, who arrives behind her on the tower, "It was so... clear... on this spot. I remember... how... shiny... and clear everything was. But... now... Now, nothing is clear: her purpose and her entire point of existing. Unbelieveable loss is all that she can feel now. This is why here, now, Buffy wants to be dead. As frightening and disturbing as this is, the episode does an excellent job of relating why Buffy feels this way.

    After largely ignoring a weeping Dawn in a scene that should have been shorter due to MT's acting limitations, Buffy temporarily snaps out of her suicidal bout when Dawn becomes in real danger. So, like she did in "The Gift", Buffy instinctively does what she needs to do to save her sister. They grab onto rope and fall down on the exact spot Buffy's dead body lay in "The Gift". Glory's tower then finally crashes to the ground. Dawn's all excited that Buffy's finally back, but as the camera turns to Buffy's face all we see is an utterly bone-chilling expression. Buffy is not okay, and is devastatingly sad.

    Although Buffy got a lot of critical attention this episode, Xander actually had some pretty important things to say as well. Right after the spell got broken up in the woods, Xander starts pressing Willow for answers. He says, "How come you didn't tell us how much- ... What were we into back there, Will? ... Do not get all avoidy on In addition to this, he's the first one to call them all stupid for what they did, which is appropiate, when he sees how damaged Buffy is. It's good to see Xander stepping up and expressing a bit of anger at being kept in the dark about certain details of this spell.

    The only real problems I have with this episode are its laggy pace and the silly demon bikers. They've got pretty bad dialogue as well, although at least it's occasionally suitably gross. With Razor's gang rampaging through town I have to wonder where in the hell is the Sunnydale Police Department? And no, that one destroyed cop car doesn't count. Sure they're inept, but they'd at least be out in force. If a town was this wildly under assult a swat team would be in there extremely fast as well. They could have still made this plot work if there'd been more demons in the gang with the police shooting a bunch of them up in the background. But the way things stand, this group just ends up dragging an otherwise strong episode down.

    Well, that pretty much sums up my thoughts on this one. When focused on Buffy, "Bargaining Pt. 2" is great. When focused on the demon bikers it's, well, not. As a whole it's still pretty good. Thankfully the follow-up we get in "After Life" quickly washes any remaining negative feelings of the biker demons away.moreless
  • Season 6, Episode 2.

    After a group of demons interrupts the resurrection spell, the Scoobies think that their spell failed. However, they succeeded in resurrecting Buffy... In her coffin. She is left traumatized after digging herself out of her own grave. The Slayer may be back, but will the Scoobies only lose her again?

    I thought this episode was OK, but it got better toward the end. BuffyBot is finally gone for good. But regular Buffy is back! :) I loved the tower scene, although it started out so long. But I loved when she came back to normal when she heard Dawn scream and rushed to help her. I loved when they rushed off the tower and it almost fell on them. Great episode. :)moreless
  • Bargaining (2)

    Bargaining (2) was a great episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Sixth Season, and was the second part of a two episode season opener. This episode was very entertaining. It was interesting to see what Willow and the Gang had to do to get Buffy back, and what she had to go through once she was back. This episode sort of sets the tone for the season, and gives clues in whats to come. I think this episode had good acting, a great story, and pulls the audience into whats happening. I can't wait to see the next episode and find out what happens next!!!!!moreless
  • Buffy + UPN = Resurrected Buffy

    Great way to start the season, although, the initial "Season Premiere" is actually 3 episodes long, this 2nd half of what was a two hour premiere, starts off very well. Much of the characters lives are explored as they have been masquerading the Buffy-bot around as the Slayer, in hopes of keeping the illusion that Buffy is still alive(no new Slayer has been called because Faith is still alive). Willow has pretty much mastered the telepathy she used in the S5 finale, Xander is still the same. Dawn is no longer the Key, but Spike still watches over as a way of a redemption for him not getting to Dawn in time before. Giles is also leaving for England and leaving Anya the Magic Shop.

    The emotions from each of the characters are well done, but this episode tends to get a bit on the darker side, more like an Angel episode, than a Buffy one. Although, it has the famous one liners and jokes Buffy is known for, it feels a bit out of place this time around. The Demon Biker gang was an ok way to throw Buffy right into the middle of things again, but it seemed more like an excuse to break up the team and have a reason for Buffy to have to dig herself out of her own grave. The Demon Biker Gang also lends itself to one of the biggest plot holes; Where are the damn cops!!!! An entire town is being looted and terrorized and not one cop is shown to even try and stop them. It's a no wonder there needs to be a Slayer.moreless
  • fAntastic second part of the season opener.

    Bargaining had got me hooked right back into the show and it didn't let go at all through this seasons run.

    the conclusion of the 1st part saw Buffy being russurected unbeknownst to the rest of the scoobies and the pace suddenly quickens as the demon bikers are now transforming Sunnydale into a hell on earth.

    is Buffy ready to take them on???

    Spike and Dawn battle to survive,and the scoobies are split into two groups.

    they are all united in a remarkable fashion and the action escalates to new levels.

    is it just me of does Buffy look like Madonna from the Frozen video???(i mean that in a remarkable way as tht is my fave song:D).

    well,season 6 has gotten off to a fine start and the pace never slows down through the remaining 20 episodes.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • Nitpick: Buffy must break out of her coffin and dig the standard 6 ft to get out of her grave. Being surrounded by soil as she digs with her bare hands would make her filthy. Yet the only dirt on her person is a smear on her right cheek for the whole episode. There is no soil in her hair or on her dress. Furthermore, with her need to breathe she would have inhaled soil while she dug upwards, possibly suffocating before reaching the surface or at least gasping desperately for air when she made it out of the ground.

    • Goof: The blood marks on Willow's face change from position to position from shot to shot and the shape of the blood spots changes too.

    • Goof: When the newly resurrected Buffy is walking through the town, she's not wearing the cross around her neck that she was before and afterwards.

    • On the widescreen DVD release, when Dawn and Buffy are on top of the tower you can see someone walking/running at the ground.

    • Goof: When Buffy jumps over the fence to get away from the demon biker you can see that she is wearing black sneakers.

    • Nitpick: After Buffy runs off after fighting the demons, and right before Razor wakes up, you can see someone demon-looking moving around behind Xander, even though all demons are supposed to be dead or unconscious. It isn't very obvious so it could be the actor playing Razor moving into position for when he later attacks Xander.

    • Nitpicks: After an entire summer of planning this spell, it seems really unlikely that nobody in the gang thought it through enough to realize they'd need to get Buffy out of her grave. (They didn't just get interrupted before they could pull her out, they obviously weren't planning to get her out at all. For one, they had no digging tools. For another, if they planned to get her out wouldn't they do it first, so they could just pop open the coffin instead of having to dig quickly before Buffy suffocates?)

    • Nitpick: Demon bikers are running around completely trashing the town without a single cop showing up?

    • Goof: The space between Buffy's headstone and the edge of the woods behind it changes a few times. When the bikers are kicking the BuffyBot there is quite a bit of space in between there. But when Buffy crawls out of her grave there isn't a lot of space, let alone enough to fit a few demon bikers and a BuffyBot.

  • QUOTES (5)

  • NOTES (7)


    • Xander: We've got trouble, right here in Hellmouth City.

      In the musical The Music Man, written by Meredith Wilson, the lead character (Harold Hill) sings a song about how the town is in trouble because they want to add a poolhall in town for the children, as opposed to buying his musical instruments. The song goes, "We've got trouble, right here in River City. That starts with a "T" which rhymes with "P" which stands for pool."

    • Xander: And how long have you known that your girlfriend's Tinkerbell?
      Tinkerbell is the fairy featured in the children's story Peter Pan, written by J. M. Barrie.