We return from a message from our sponsors to the Bronze. "You were saying?" prompts Anya. And huh? That has to be the clumsiest and stupidest place to have put a commercial break in the entire history of television. Excepting, of course, the one in the middle of the "Seeing Red" rape scene. Possibly Karen with a K tries to remember where they were. "I want more quesadillas?" Because it often happens that you completely lose your train of thought when interrupted by three minutes of commercials in the middle of a conversation. Anya leads Possibly Karen back onto the subject of her cheating ex-boyfriend and is trying to coax her into wishing for something better than "spineless" when her attention is diverted to something across the Bronze. "Oh, penis," grumps Anya, as Xander leads Worm Bait Nancy to her table. It is established that Anya is indeed the person that Nancy was talking to when the dangerous "w" word was uttered. Anya dispatches Possibly Karen and then Buffy and Spike join the funfest as well. Anya snits, "I am working here." Buffy places a big frickin' knife on the table as she says, "We noticed." Took you long enough. Under Xander's superior cross-examination (a direct question actually), Anya admits that she did indeed turn Ronnie into Little Havoc. Anya's upset that Worm Bait Nancy ratted her out to the gang, and Xander tries to explain to Nancy that Anya can make things happen. Poor Worm Bait Nancy is sickened by the whole unbearable worminess of Ronnie. Buffy snappishly informs Anya that Ronnie Worm ate Nancy's dog. "Oh! Puppy," squeaks Anya with concern; Xander's a little outraged that a dead dog gets Anya's "sad noise" when she's so unconcerned about how she's affecting people's lives. Nancy asks who Anya is and then follows a bunch of exposition for all the new viewers about who slept with whom which I'm not going to waste my time recapping because anyone who is reading this is very likely to have already seen this episode as well as every episode that has come before it. Suffice it to say that, after the explanation, when Nancy tartly asks if there is anyone there who hasn't slept together, Spike and Xander exchange a look. Amusing, but hardly worth the clunky setup. Buffy pulls everyone back on track, asking how Ronnie got to be such a very large worm. Anya is forced to admit that she "embellished" her spell a little, turning Ronnie not into a worm but some sort of demon that has a name that sounds like Sodoff. I wish I had a Sodoff demon that I could sic on anyone who was bugging me. Xander tells Anya that she'll just have to "unembellish." Anya's response is a firm, "Bite me, Harris. I have rules to work with." And there are codes of conduct for vengeance demons that she could never possibly explain because her present company is just so banal and human. "I'm not," growls Spike. "Now you're going to turn this spell around…" Anya is gazing deep into his eyes, seemingly fascinated. "How did you do it?" she wants to know. Spike becomes very agitated that his shiny soul-shaped secret is close to being revealed. He repeatedly tells Anya to shut her gob as she excitedly keeps asking him how he managed to come by "it." She asks with a childlike wonder that is really almost endearing. She ignores his requests for her to drop the subject and continues throwing questions his way. Then Spike hauls off and slugs Anya simply for being very close to revealing something he'd rather keep secret, and in the process learns that you can buy all the Build-Your-Own Soul kits you want but it doesn't automatically make you a worthwhile person. Anya falls to the ground hard; Worm Bait Nancy finds the scene a little too intense and takes off. Spike, dissatisfied despite Anya's silence, stands over her and slugs her again. She boots him off and gets into her game face. She and Spike (who's in vamp face) circle each other until Spike is set upon by Buffy. They trade a couple of punches and Spike, with his old Spike persona and pre-crazy-freak delivery, taunts, "I guess this is first contact since you know when," referring of course to the attempted rape. I hate the way he tends to refuse to return her punches while egging her on to beat him. Aw, that Spike. What a prince. I can see now that he's really the type of man that Buffy deserves. How could I have ever doubted his love for her? Or maybe it's just the crazy talking in this scene. In which case…nah, he still bugs me. Xander interrupts, suggesting that Buffy might want to go after Nancy since she's "worm bait" and in danger to boot. Worm Bait walks down the street wanting nothing more than to get home and away from these "freaks," but she's only made it a short way before the trembling starts up again. She runs. Bangs on a door. Cries for help and then climbs up a roof-access ladder on the side of a building. The rumbling stops for a moment but then the building starts to shake and the ladder starts coming loose. Buffy, skipping across the rooftops, notices and Spike trails behind her.
"What do you want me to do?" Anya asks sourly back at the Bronze. To Xander, the solution of reversing the spell is simple and clear, but Anya explains that she's in hot water with D'Hoffryn already. "Nice friends you've got," notes Xander. "Nice friends I had" corrects Anya. She had the whole kit 'n' kaboodle until Xander left her at the altar. "And sooner or later, Anya, that excuse just stops working," Xander replies. Which is true. I know I've thankfully blocked out a large part of season six but I don't recall those scenes in which the gang completely snubbed Anya and then packed her into some inter-dimensional minivan and drove her straight into the arms of D'Hoffryn. Was Xander leaving her on the day of their wedding a shitty thing to do? Yup. Was Anya returning to her old life a hasty reaction that was briefly understandable under the circumstances? Yup. But it's been a number of months now and she's had plenty of time for a little cold reflection as to what she wants to do with her life. The clock on my patience with Anya as a character is ticking.