Mark Re-Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Tabula Rasa

Oh god, what a joy/torment it was to watch this episode. It’s interesting that it comes after “Once More, With Feeling” because it manages to capture the same tonal shifts that the previous episode does. Anyway, I’ll get into it more in a second.

First things first: the video!

  • I refuse to get over the visual pun of Teeth. He’s a loan shark! Who is an actual shark!
  • This is a hard season to watch period, but it’s hard watching it as a fan of… well, anybody here? Aside from Tara, every character makes terrible decisions, some worse than others, and it’s like… DUDES. What are you doing? I guess it was hard for me because I liked Willow a great deal, and through season 5, she was repeatedly my favorite character. And then my favorite character makes a billion bad decisions, including raping my other favorite character, and I’m just done with her. And this episode is just…. GOD, WILLOW, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?
  • I liked season seven a lot, but I recognize it has lots of writing problems. I’m personally able to overlook a lot of them. But this season is full of choices that just make me scratch my head. Why all the suffering? Like, seriously, how come? Can anyone shed light on the intentions of the writing staff when they were making this season?
  • I feel like “Tabula Rasa” is the bookend with “Restless.” This is another episode that is a clever way for the writers to explore the identity of these characters in a way that could have just been a gimmick. Like “Once More, With Feeling,” though, the gimmick has a reason for existing, and it has consequences and repercussions that are real and lasting.
  • Of all the dynamics between characters in this episode, I think I’m most fascinated by Spike/Giles, especially as they play out that weird father/son dance. God, you can read SO MUCH INTO IT. I always seem to go back to the concept of validation with Spike, and while that’s only one way to interpret his character, it’s common for me because it’s the easiest thing for me to analyze. I recognize my own desire to please others and be recognized as such. But I think you could also see how Giles’s actions also welcome Spike into the family, so-to-speak, because of who Giles perceives Randy to be. Gone are the reservations Giles usually has about Spike’s character. instead, Giles accepts him, something he’ll never really do for the rest of the show.
  • Of course, the group opening the door to vampires and screaming is CLASSIC. It’s one of my favorite scenes from the whole show!
  • You know, I can’t remember. Was it confirmed they were eating the kittens they were gambling or not?
  • I like that this episode posits that certain elements of our personalities are always there within us. Is this where the idea of Dollhouse came from? That would be neat!
  • “I am a vampire with a soul! I fight evil! I help the helpless!” NOOOO OH MY GOD, THIS LINE IS EVEN FUNNIER GIVEN WHAT HAPPENS AT THE END OF SEASON SEVEN OH MY GOD.

Let’s discuss and GIF away!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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