I Was Made to Love You (5x15)

When I first heard about the basic plot of "I Was Made to Love You" I thought two things: 1) we've already done the robot thing, and 2) this is an odd episode to show during February sweeps, especially after last week's interesting episode "Crush." The previews for this episode made it seem like it was direct follow up to last week's episode, when in truth only two scenes dealt with the Buffy/Spike story arc.

Teaser

Our "Previously" segment gives us heavy glimpses into the Glory and the Key story arc, with minimal looks into the more recent and prominent arcs concerning Riley and Spike. This is merely misplaced back-story, if nothing else. In the teaser scene we get to see just how disgusted Buffy is after Spike has revealed his feelings to her. We see that Buffy tends to take out her aggressions on other things, in this case Puffy Xander, which I loved. Xander reiterating to Buffy that she is a good person and will one day find her true love is well placed and well written. To this viewer, this seems like an attempt to follow up on the Buffy/Xander friendship that has always been in the show, but was only touched on briefly throughout the series, most recently in Marti Noxon's excellent "Into the Woods."

Act 1

After the credits, we get to see a bit of normality with Joyce, Buffy, and Dawn. It's very well handled, showing that these characters still try to lead normal lives despite what they know and what they have to live through. Buffy and Dawn's concern for their mother's personal life is well handled. Their scene shows a sense of normality that is heavily followed up on next week with "The Body." The scene quickly moves to Buffy pointing out her relationship with guys, and how they like to leave town, which is in tone with the rest of the episode. Tara and Anya's scene is very well handled. It shows how these two characters have become part of the lives of the rest of the characters, and reiterates their positions within the group. April's appearance is a bit creepy, as it was in the teaser. When the scene cuts to the Bronze that evening, we again get to see the relationship between Buffy and Xander, and Anya's reactions to that relationship. It's good to see that the group has let Anya become a part of them, and that she's allowed herself to become more human. The Buffy and Ben dialogue is good. It again shows a sense of normality in her life, while at the same time picking on her choice pick in guys. When April appears, we get to see the reactions of our regular characters, which lets us see a little more into their personalities. Xander will always look at the pretty girl, because he's never had one who has truly loved him except for Anya. I like how we also get to see a little more of Tara's insecurity at Willow's comment. As far as we can tell, Tara is very insecure about herself, most likely due to her treatment by her father and the rest of her family, seen in Joss Whedon's "Family." She's found something that makes her happy with Willow, who treats her as an equal and would never try and take advantage of her. It's nice to see her reaction when only the slightest thing might disturb that. Spike's appearance in the scene is a bit disturbing. It shows that he merely wants someone, whether it is Buffy or Drusilla or just some friends to hang out with. He brings up Buffy's unstableness with guys, fitting into the theme of the episode even more. I like the fact that our "monster" of the week's true nature wasn't hidden for very long. As early as the teaser we know something odd is going on with her.

Act 2

After the break, we again see Buffy's lack of a boyfriend thrown in her face by April. It seems that Buffy wants to love, but no one is there for her anymore, at least not in the capacity she needs it. The Buffy and Giles scene is done very nicely. It's good to see Giles in Buffy's life in more than just a Watcher fashion. It's also good to see that he cares for Dawn's safety as much as any of the rest of the gang. We also see that Dawn is trying to live as normal a life as she can after figuring out what she really is in "Blood Ties" a few weeks back. Joyce's comments to Buffy about her date are hilarious. It again shows the normality that take place in these people's lives. The Scooby Gang scene is nice to see, something we haven't seen in a few weeks. It was interesting to hear Oz's name mentioned, and to see Willow's reaction to it. Xander's comment about too many females is also very funny, and obviously an attempt by the writers to point out that they know about the lack of male regular characters in the show. Again we see that Buffy is alone when it comes to men when she calls Ben. The Glory/Ben thing still confuses the crap out of me. We know that Glory is a god, and the Ben, for all intents and purposes, is her brother. But then what? Do they share the same body? Or perhaps only one of them can be in this plane of existence. No worries, though. I trust Joss to explain it to us all in due time. Even so, this is most likely the slowest moving arc in all of Buffy history, even more so than the Mayor's plan in season three. As we move to see Warren and his girlfriend trying to leave town, we can see why he has trouble with the ladies. He's a bit demanding, it seems. Warren's "revelation" to Buffy is funny.

Act 3

We get to see more of Spike search for some type of companionship when he comes to Giles' shop. It's somewhat depressing, and makes me feel for him a bit more. Even if he doesn't have a soul, we know that Spike still needs someone to be with him, or just to talk to him. The gang's concern for Buffy is done nice, even if it means alienating Spike even more. The standout performance in this scene goes to Anthony Stewart Head, though. Giles' confrontation with Spike is a fantastic scene, worthy of both of the actors' talents. As we switch back to Warren and Buffy to find out more about April, we get a sense that the hints at normality given before are breaking down. April still creeps me out. Warren is an example to what people will do to find love, even if it is in no way real. This beautifully echoes Spike to a greater degree. April's hostility echoes Spike's own, as well. During the fight scene, Warren running after his girlfriend shows yet another person abandoning Buffy at a time when she needs some help. The conclusion is emotional enough, and shows that Buffy can care about someone who she just beat up. Afterwards, the Buffy and Xander scene is still nice. It's nice to see Xander finding a place in the world outside of the Scoobies. Again we see the slowness at which the Glory arc is moving. Spike wanting his own Buffy-bot shows us some things to come later in the season, and how Spike simply wants someone, even if they're not real. Watch out for the ending, though. It comes completely out of nowhere, but is in the same park as our other February cliffhangers from past seasons: Jenny's death in season two's "Passions," Faith's turn to the dark side in season three's "Bad Girls," and Buffy and Faith switch of bodies in season four's "This Year's Girl."

Predictions and Conclusions

It seems that "I Was Made to Love You" is going to serve as more of a sign of things to come than a typical monster of the week episode. We have signs to a great number of things: Joyce's death which is later followed up on in next week's "The Body," Spike getting his own personal Buffy robot, hints are dropped on trouble in Willow and Tara's relationship, a possible relationship for Buffy and Xander, and even foreshadowing Oz's possible return later in the season. All in all, a very decent episode with fine acting and writing worthy of February sweeps month. I look forward to future episodes dealing with the hints put forward this week, and knowing Joss Whedon, we shouldn't be disappointed.

Lines of the Week

Tara: "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's depressing."

Anya (about April): "Tara and I met her. She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely."
Xander: "Well, some guys like that kind of thing in a girl."

Spike (to Buffy): "If you want me to leave, you can put your hands on my hot tight little body and make me."

Giles (describing his night with Dawn): "We listened to aggressively cheerful music sung by people chosen for their ability to dance. Then we ate cookie dough and talked about boys."

Tara (about April): "She practically had ‘Genuine Molded Plastic' stamped on her ass."

Xander: "Too many girls. I miss Oz. He'd get it. He wouldn't say anything, but he'd get it."