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Episode Battle : Something Blue vs Tabula Rasa

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  • Episode Battle : Something Blue vs Tabula Rasa

    This time it is the battle of the spells. Which of these episodes, where Willow's spells briefly change what people believe is real, do you prefer and why?
    10
    Something Blue
    70.00%
    7
    Tabula Rasa
    30.00%
    3

  • #2
    Honestly, I find these both to be two of the most overrated episodes in fandom. They're both one of my least favourite episodes of their respective seasons and quite a chore for me to get through overall. I know that's an unpopular opinion but I can't help it!

    But it's easily Something Blue for me. There is a lot I like about this episode including the great visuals of Willow casting the spell, Buffy ruminating on why she's attracted to pain and darkness as she casually stakes a vampire, the hilarious moment Buffy taunts Spike with her neck, Blink 182, and some great exchanges - "How? What? How?" "Three excellent questions..." Where the episode actually falters for me is when the demons start attacking and the gang have to run away from them. The running and chasing gets quite tedious IMO and I think it's where the episode loses steam which is strange as it's the moment in the story were the climax reaches it's tipping point. I also don't find it quite as funny as I think I'm meant to and the gang's reaction to Willow drinking beer and partying at The Bronze is eye-rollingly unbelievable and OTT, especially for 19 year olds.

    Whereas I just plain dislike Tabula Rasa. I haaattteee the Loan Shark demon, the running and chasing again is very tiresome and I don't find any of the jokes even remotely funny. And most importantly the characterisation is just completely off. Firstly, the concept of 'Tabula Rasa' is inconsistent depending on the character. The concept of 'Tabula Rasa' is that it acts as a blank slate and psychologically refers to the idea that we're solely a product of our upbringing and experiences. And yet in spite of that Anya has a fear of rabbits despite Selfless teaching us that she doesn't have an innate phobia of rabbits at all and instead it's learned and Spike has no desire to bite his victims despite the show repeatedly telling us that vampires instinctively crave blood as soon as they're turned and before they even know they're vampires. Then other characters appear to remember or 'sense' something about themselves/each other and retain some looming sense of self but Xander, known for his bravery sometimes to a fault, faints at the sight of a vampire for nothing more than a gag. The characterisation is even off prior to the mind-wipe with Spike being inexplicably scared of a few vampires and the Loan Shark demon despite even as 'Randy' being able to fend them off quite easily and then at the end of the episode Spike threatening/intimidating the demon like he normally would have done from the very beginning. So why is 'William the Bloody' running all around town like a coward? And Giles' exist from the series is poorly written. I think it's an incredibly superficial and poorly written episode that doesn't tell us anything remotely insightful about who these people are.

    So easily Something Blue for me. Not my favourite episode but a good episode nonetheless.

    ~ Banner by Nina ~

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    • #3
      This is another impossible one in that I adore both episodes but I have to vote for something blue. As great as Tabula Rasa is, something blue is perfection.

      "I like who I am when I'm with him. I like who we are together."

      Comment


      • #4
        Something Blue and its not even close. I find Tabula Rasa except for the end song/moment to be very overrated. Many of which vampmogs has already said but another is that there's no follow on consequences for Willow. She mind raped Tara twice now and it's never referenced again. She and Buffy despite the revelation in OMWF never talk once about pulling her from heaven. Instead it's all turned into her being a drug addiction victim .

        Something Blue on the other despite being unintentional, in showing up Riley lack of chemistry with Buffy was hilarious with its lines and moments. Amy 1 second appearance always has me laugh out loud.

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        • #5
          I just can't vote again. They're both one of my favorites.

          Comment


          • #6
            This one is virtually impossible. I love both of these episodes so much.

            I am going to vote for Tabula Rasa because I think Something Blue will scoop most points.

            Comment


            • GoSpuffy
              GoSpuffy commented
              Editing a comment
              Hey, that's cheating, that was my strategy last time. Lol

            • Priceless
              Priceless commented
              Editing a comment
              I learnt from the best

          • #7
            While I do think that Something Blue and Tabula Rasa get a little too much praise, I do think they are both strong episodes. I agree with vampmogs criticisms of Something Blue in the shock at Willow drinking in the bronze and the supposed climax of the demon chasing as being the real weaknesses of that episode. But there are some really great comedy moments too.

            I don't however feel that the inaccuracy of Tabula Rasa as a blank slate is as problematic. I do agree that the episode doesn't depict that. The characters haven't lost all knowledge of how to speak and interact, they show signs of some deeply set instincts and memories remaining. But I think it is interesting to see how the characters can behave when they think they are without impact from their past and their experiences. It's the relief of the weight of knowing about their pasts that we're seeing for me. The season focuses so much on the impact of their histories, the impact of trauma, the notion of being without that is intriguing. But I don't think the spell is actually removing everything and we clearly see it hasn't. The spell itself talked of removing slights and wrongs and then it goes out of control. So what would be covered by the spell isn't clearly defined and then something happens (in the excess burning) that also explains why the parameters of the spell might have been affected/expanded anyway. So I'm comfortable with the end result being a mess of some things removed, whilst traces of other elements that have impacted them and their senses of self remaining. But I do understand having issue with the notion that the spell has created blank slates, because clearly it didn't.

            I do think the episode is funny though. The exchanges between Giles and Spike are quite comical, I love how stupidly out of hand Anya's attempts to use the spell book goes and I really love the group screaming at the door. The last is an iconic visual and makes me smile as it is so out of touch with how they face these threats on a daily basis (but is far closer to the reality of how most of us would react). The shark demon is pretty weak though I have to admit, but still I don't hate it. Spike trying to use the situation with the demon to turn to the Scoobies and seek help feels plausible. Giles' desire to flee is harder to reason I think but I just have to believe his fear of losing Buffy again is just overruling.

            I enjoy both episodes, although neither are top episodes in their seasons for me. They both have strengths and weaknesses. Even though I don't view Tabula Rasa as being a clean slate for the characters, and I do find some elements funny, I just don't think it is as strong an episode overall as Something Blue.

            Comment


            • #8
              I voted for Tabula Rasa for the same reasons Priceless did.

              I do like both episodes although I don't think they are perfect. To be quite honest, I do love Something Blue mostly for the Spuffy part but if one isn't a Spuffy I am not sure what is actually left of the episode. Spike trying to flee from Buffy after he had just come to her for shelter and looking for a way into the Initiative after he has just fought so hard to get out of it doesn't add up.

              I have to admit I really like the loan shark. This is the show not taking itself seriously and I like that. I have read somewhere that the costume department (or was it the prop department?) did several sketches for a loan shark demon and the one that made it into the show was meant to be a joke but someone thought it was so hilarious they actually picked it.

              Tabula Rasa also has Giles' sword fight with the skeleton which is one of the best fight scenes in the series.

              flow
              Last edited by flow; 02-10-21, 10:44 PM.

              Banner by Brendan

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              • #9
                Originally posted by flow View Post
                I do like both episodes although I don't think they are perfect. To be quite honest, I do love Something Blue mostly for the Spuffy part but if one isn't a Spuffy I am not sure what is actually left of the episode. Spike trying to flee from Buffy after he had just come to her for shelter and looking for a way into the Initiative after he has just fought so hard to get out of it doesn't add up.
                Spike came for help because he was starving. I don't think him wanting out of being around the white hats soon after is hard to understand, he'd just return as he needed. It pairs with the idea of him despairing at his situation and what had been done to him that has him seek the entrance to The Initiative. The wish to be able to be powerful and assert dominance again. Giles is threatening to make him tell what he knows with the spell so the protection he's been getting could be lost and part of him would rather be out there and fighting head on. He's in an identity crisis and anger, desperation and fear are muddled together. He's hanging by a thread like Willow, and is fighting to find a way to be himself in this new situation, willing that he could do so. There's a lack of emotional stability driving him that I can go with.

                And Willow is the element that the episode focuses on the most and the fallout from Oz's abrupt departure and her inability, like Spike, to be able to assert her will and just fix it. That combination of a lack of control and feeling trapped, wanting to fight back. The situation she feels in with her friends, what behaviour she feels is expected of her and the isolation of her upset and how that sits within the whole adjustment to college life and reflects especially Xander's and Giles' struggles to find their footing post high school too. Then there is how Willow is reacting to the burgeoning relationship possibility with Buffy and Riley and what their initial starting attempts at dating look like also. As often happens with spells, there's a degree of truths, or at least half truths, being exposed that's interesting.

                I have to admit I really like the loan shark. This is the show not taking itself seriously and I like that. I have read somewhere that the costume department (or was it the prop department?) did several sketches for a loan shark demon and the one that made it into the show was meant to be a joke but someone thought it was so hilarious they actually picked it.

                Tabula Rasa also has Giles' sword fight with the skeleton which is one of the best fight scenes in the series.
                If viewed as a joke, it does improve you're right and the skeleton fight is great fun.

                Comment


                • #10
                  For me, I voted for Tabula Rasa. It's so distinctive, dark and I really find it to be unique.

                  Even though I do enjoy Something Blue especially Buffy's perfect deliverance on her line.

                  "And you both were effected. I probably only escaped because I'm the Slayer. Some kind of natural immunity."

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