Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6, Episode 10: Wrecked
Written by Marti Noxon; Directed by David Solomon
There’s nothing I can say about Wrecked that hasn’t already been said in Boils and Blinding Torment’s review, so I highly recommend you give it a look. I’ll be making a lot of the same points, but with a lot less class.
If last week was Sabrina Week, this week is After-School Special Week, with the pompous moralising and condescension that go with such matters. This is the episode that really sets the show off on its downward spiral, pushing the characters into the darkest, most depressing places possible.
A lot of Season 6’s defenders claim that those who dislike it simply can’t handle the darkness and seriousness, but to that I say “bollocks”. Nothing in Season 6 is profound, or mature, or anything like that: it’s just angsty for the sake of being angsty, depressing for the sake of being depressing, and filled with as much sex and near-nudity as possible simply because UPN were less strict about that sort of thing than the WB.
It’s also the episode in which magic for some reason becomes equated with drug addiction. The problem with this is that there is no precedent for it. We’ve seen that the power that magic endows in a user can be addictive, which is fine - but, to quote one fan at the BuffyGuide forums, here there isn’t even a metaphor, just a poor analogy. Magic isn’t a metaphor for drug addiction: it is drug addiction, complete with magic dealers, magic houses, and Willow shivering on her bed as she goes through withdrawal symptoms.
I wouldn’t mind the complete bastardisation of the series’ internal consistency if it had actually been enjoyable to watch. But, no, instead it’s as boring as hell and infuriatingly condescending (did I mention that already?). We’re treated to lots of oh-so-serious talk about how Willow’s acting different and going through all sorts of stuff, Willow endangering Dawn in her careless drug-induced frenzy, Willow sobbing “I need heeeeelp!”, and me banging my head on the desk. To tell the truth, I’m reminded of the Drugs episode of Brass Eye and its portrayal of the effects of Cake. This is getting points only for Alyson Hannigan’s performance, which somehow manages to rise above the material in the final scenes. By the end of the season, when she, like Sarah Michelle Gellar, seemed to get completely fed up, even that would fade away.
If you want to know what so many viewers’ beef with Marti Noxon is, just watch this episode. This is not entertainment, and I’m getting absolutely no pleasure out of watching it. It’s like a kick in the face to everyone who stuck with this show for five and a half long years.
Overall rating: 2/10.
Next time: Gone.