"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Once More, with Feeling (TV Episode 2001) Poster

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Proof that Joss Whedon is a genius...if you still need convincing
email-35925 November 2006
OK, I'll admit I was really sceptical about this episode. I first caught the last 10 minutes of this episode and thought "Oh no, a musical episode, this has got to be it, Buffy has jumped the shark" but having since seen the whole episode in the context of the rest of the series, this episode is pure genius. The songs really moves the story on. Through-out the first few episodes of the 6th season a number of tensions are built up between the characters, feelings and events occur which the characters keep to themselves. All the musical numbers are used as ways for the cast to reveal to each other things they didn't, couldn't, or wouldn't say. Joss wrote all the lyrics and music, with his usual depth, intelligence, and character development, plus the tunes are catch. This is not just a filler episode, its a turning point in the season. Pure class!!
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"Once More" Hits a High Note
captaincracker5 February 2006
Plot (From DVD Case): A demon named Sweet descends upon Sunnydale in search of Dawn, his arrival causing everyone to burst into song and dance - and eventually into flame.

Review: Out of all the episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Six", this has to be the must see episode. The episode is very similar to what "Xena Warrior Princess" did back in 1997 with the episode 'The Bitter Suite', taking the main character's hidden problems and having them face them through singing. This is the episode of Season Six where everything seems to come to its peak; Buffy begins to come to reality about being torn from heaven by her friends. Willow's growing addiction to magic is creating a gap between her and Tara. Xander and Anya are having doubts about their marriage. Dawn's habits of stealing are getting her in trouble, and Giles believes he is only standing in his slayer's way by staying in America. Plus, Spike's love/hate obsession with Buffy takes a shocking turn in the end.

Aside from being and awesome episode that digs into the character's psychologies, it also has clever and entertaining music. There is a track on this episode that everyone will like. All the actors have wonderful voices, and Joss Whedon writes magnificent lyrics for them to sing to. "Going Through the Motions", "I'll Never Tell", "Under Your Spell", and "Walk Through the Fire" are among the songs which you will hear. The episode is able to use the lyrics of the songs and make them humorous and heartbreaking.

This is a must-see episode for any "Buffy" fan. It is heartbreaking, emotional, funny, and overall well done. After watching 'Once More, With Feeling' you'll agree that "Buffy" is music to your ears.

Episode Air Date:
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Possibly BTVS greatest episode
katierose2955 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
In my opinion the three greatest BTVS episodes ever are season two's "Becoming Part Two," season five's "The Gift," and season six's "Once More With Feeling." I'm never sure which one is the all around "best," but in terms of sheer creative force "Once More With Feeling" is probably the winner. This was an episode that easily could have crashed and burned. It's a musical, for crying out loud. When I first heard about it, I was definitely skeptical. I thought it sounded sort of embarrassing and cheese-y. But, I was dead wrong. In reality, this episode is an artistic triumph from start to finish. Now, I have all the songs on my iPod. (Seriously, I've got the whole album.) "Once More With Feeling" is the show's high water mark and, if you haven't seen it yet, you really need to give it a shot. Today.

"Once More With Feeling" revolves around a musical demon named Sweet coming to Sunnydale. He casts a spell on the town, so that the Sunnydale-ites are suddenly acting like it's a musical. Dancing in perfect synchronization and singing about their deepest feelings. Buffy wanders through a graveyard, killing demons and lamenting the fact that she's just "going through the motions" of life. She meets up with the Scoobies and they have a nice group number as they try to devise a plan. Really none of them are too worried, though. Willow and Tara sing about their love. Anya and Xander have a duet about their mutual doubts concerning their relationship. Then a someone dies from dancing too hard, burning down to cinders. Taking the situation more seriously, Buffy goes to Spike for help. Spike tries to resist, but he's under the spell too and breaks into song. He complains that Buffy's constant presence in his life is painful, since she won't really be with him. Hurt and confused, Buffy goes back to the Magic Box. Giles internally sings that Buffy will never really grow up if he's always there for her to lean on. His song becomes a duet with Tara, as she realizes that Willow cast a spell on her back in "All the Way." Both of them see that they will have to leave their relationships.

Meanwhile, Dawn gets kidnapped by Sweet and is taken to the Bronze. He tells her that she summoned him and now she has to be his queen. He and Dawn have a duet as she argues that she "so did not" call on him. When Buffy realizes that her sister is gone, she decides to rescue her. Giles refuses to help, wanting Buffy to stand on her own. As Buffy heads to the Bronze, she sings about her longing to feel again and her determination to save Dawn. Spike adds a chorus grumbling about how he wishes she would just die and set him free, then deciding that he has to help her. The Scoobies change their minds and also go after Buffy. They all meet up and the Bronze. Buffy offers Sweet a trade, her for Dawn. She sings about her dissatisfaction with life, finally admitting to the Scoobies that she was in heaven. Then she begins to dance faster and faster, burning up. Spike grabs her and forces her to stop. Then Xander admits that he's the one who called on Sweet, thinking it would be fun to have a happy ending for a change. Sweet doesn't really want Xander for his underworld queen and leaves. The Scoobies have on last song as they debate where they will go from here. The episode ends with Spike and Buffy sharing their first (real) kiss.

There are so many great parts to this episode. You really need to see it to appreciate that artistry of it all. It's so important that the cast really sings the songs and they all do a great job. I think the group numbers "Walk Through the Fire" and "Where Do We Go From Here?" are especially good. And I love Xander and Anya's song. ("His penis got diseases from a Chumush tribe," is one of the funniest lyrics I've ever heard.) Tara and Giles' duet is heartbreaking and really beautiful. The two of them are just spectacular. I also like Spike pulling himself out of the "big group sing" at the end, swearing in annoyance and stalking away. Another cool part is how the song lyrics all have hidden meanings that tell you where the season is going. Anya predicts disaster at the weeding. "Where Do We Go From Here?" promises at kiss at the end of the episode. And Sweet sings that the characters are all hurdling towards the "distant redness," which is an allusion to the episode "Seeing Red" that kicks off the season finale.

On the down side, I think Giles' is completely wrong about leaving Sunnydale. Buffy needs him. Sure, she'll have to eventually stand on her own, but she's too emotionally fragile right now. Most of the people that Buffy has loved have left her in one way or another. Angel, her father, Riley, her mother... Giles' should have foreseen how this would effect her. Personally, I think that Giles' leaving sends all the Scoobies into a tail spin and contributes to their self destructive behavior. His exit in "Tabula Rasa" also leaves a hole in the show that will never really be filled, even with his later return. Also, I wish Sweet had come back, maybe over on "Angel." I really liked him and I know he and Lorne would have had some good times. Plus, I just can't get enough of Angel singing "Mandy."

My favorite part of the episode: Spike jumping over that fence during the "Walk Through the Fire" number. Just once in my life, I want to look that cool.
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definitely one of the high points from the series; even better live!
Quinoa198420 January 2007
I'll be honest, I don't watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer regularly- not now or even really much when it was on more in syndication and in its original run- but I did watch it casually sometimes with friends, and did enjoy the occasionally corny fights and angsty teen drama thrown in (plus, Anthony Stewart Head is quite the cool mentor). I had never seen this episode either, but had heard a lot about it from my girlfriend who is a much greater fan of the series than I. An incentive finally came to watch the episode here, where it's all practically singing and dancing with all of the usual characters coming into the swing of things (by way of a spell of course), as the episode is now presented under the 'Buffy Sing-along' in certain theaters across the country (if it's not near your city or town, it might be soon, it just left NYC). I was expecting a jovial enough time with the audience participation, but nothing great. Needless to say I'm writing this comment mostly to covey how immensely entertained I was by the whole shebang.

Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed the episode, alongside his musical collaborators, really 'get' how to make the wonderful contrivances of musicals fitting for their own types in their show, and it's a feast for fans and still provides many great, up-beat, catchy, and funny songs all the way through. It also helps that the cast in this case is a knockout more often than not, even with Sarah Michelle Gellar not as the greatest singer out there (she had to take singing lessons to prepare for the episode apparently). It would be hard for me to explain to much to such casual watchers of the show like myself, but if you know all the continuity of season five and six then it's no problem. Basically, a spell is cast somehow, and everyone breaks into songs and sometimes dances too, and moreover it brings out the emotions that the characters have been hiding (i.e. Spike's love for Buffy, Giles reluctance with certain matters, Willow's own love- which is rather graphic when you put the lyrics into total context), and also conjures up some demons who have a leader who will make the spell-caster a Queen. The revelation of this, of course, is just another of the jokes.

While I'm sure I would've still had a good time watching the episode at home, it's recommended to try and catch the live show just as much. The episode gives so much for an audience to chew up and have fun with, especially late at night ala Rocky Horror, and it makes for grand silliness even when things seem darkest in the storyline and psychologies. The music, meanwhile, is keen and tight and rhythmic without being corny (I loved the Spike song, and even the power ballad from Giles was fun, plus the demon song & dance), and the lyrics strike up enough wit for three episodes. The dialog from Whedon is also top notch (i.e. "So, Dawn's in trouble... must be Tuesday"). And the whole time, when I wasn't laughing from the totally unexpected bits and complete adherence to cheerful whimsy, I had a big stupid smile on my face (if you see it live, by the way, feel more than free to sing-along with everyone else). While I wouldn't discredit that it has merit alongside the rest of the season, as a stand-alone episode it takes the cake, and even could compare with the likes of Singin in the Rain as a truly happiest musical time.
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The best musical extravaganza
jamariana28 July 2017
"Once More with Feeling" is one of the best episodes of modern television, period - musical or not, sci-fi show or not, part of the mediocre season 6 of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or not. When I first saw it, I was mesmerised. I happen to like a lot of the songs too, especially Giles' 'Standing', which was beautiful and touching. Joss Whedon created a masterpiece in the form of this episode with his songwriting skills (unexpected) and its wonderful plot. Lots of shows have a musical episode, but they are VERY risky. When "Oz" did it, it was fabulous as well, but understandably it is an easy thing to mess up. This episode should be revered and remembered for what it is.
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Brilliant Episode
hannah1_m4 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was one of the best that I ever watched. The concept for it was very good. The singing from everyone was brilliant, and I especially liked Sarah Michelle Gellar's singing in this episode. The comedy in the songs, for example in the song I've Got a Theory when the group sing 'It's do or die!' and then Buffy adds 'Hey I've died twice!'. That was just hilarious. There was a lot of seriousness as well, and that was one point that balanced the episode out. The acting in this episode was very good. The actors and actresses had to spend around 10 weeks in vocal coaching for this episode, and the episode shows that the vocal coaching lessons payed off for all members of the cast. The ending to this episode was excellent. It was just wonderful to see Buffy and Spike finally get together.
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Wasn't expecting to love it...
TheLittleSongbird20 April 2010
But I did. Out of the all the Buffy episodes, this was the one that surprised me most, and in a good way too. At first, despite my love for the show, I was sceptical at how a musical episode of Buffy can work. You see I did see clips of it, and I can't remember the last time my whole family were laughing with extreme shock on their faces at the same time. But when I watched it, expecting to hate it, I was really surprised. The plot line, centring around Sweet, quite an interesting villain this time around, and Sunnydale being put under a "all dancing and singing" spell, is one of the more original plot lines from the whole show. And the songs are surprisingly good, not cheesy like I feared, the group song "Where do we go from here", the duet "Under Your Spell", the heart breaking "Dawn's lament" and "Walk Through the Fire" being standouts. The vocals are also great, Sarah Michelle Gellar can really sing, and Anthony Head?... wow is what I have to say about his voice. And Hinton Battle does a fine job as Sweet. Overall, a surprisingly brilliant Buffy episode, I am so glad I did decide to prove myself wrong. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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Once More, With Feeling
botez27 September 2010
Wow, this episode was amazing. I'd love to see Joss write a Broadway musical one of these days.

I love the music. The songs are just amazing. Just like I loved the music from Dr. Horrible.

I loved James Marsters (what a great voice, what a surprise) and Anthony Head's songs... and Amber Benson's voice was lovely. I also loved the one called "the Parking Ticket"... hardly noticeable in the show, it is truly hilarious and I loved how they sneaked it in... "it isn't fair, that fire hydrant wasn't there..." etc.

People who don't like musicals aren't gonna like this much. They don't like people bursting into song in the middle of a story. To these people it's not logical. My husband hates musicals, but I continue to drag him to them much to his dismay (after all, I have to watch his football).

However, the one thing about a musical, is it allows the character to express emotions and feelings that one normally can't do in speech. Plus the songs are beautiful.

I'm glad I got to see this. I'm at the party several years too late, but I do think this is one of the best Buffy episodes... it's different, but quite brilliant.

I loved the kiss at the end.
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Archer19915 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I really loved this episode because it's not often we see many of Spike's or Buffy's feelings and you got to know what it's like to be Giles, about how unappreciated he feels because if you ask him to do something he'll do it and you don't often hear a thank-you. It was also good to see the real things that go through a soon-to-be-married couple's heads, the worries, the frustration, the confusion and it wasn't all about slaying a vampire that's trying to kill everyone, i think although he knew what he was doing the demon loved the entertainment of everyone's feelings coming out and ruining their lives rather then the deaths themselves, although he did seem to like that as well.
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This Is What It's All About.
Son_of_Mansfield23 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What is the perfect companion to an episode where everyone loses their voice and can't express themselves? Once More, With Feeling. Joss Whedon adds songwriter to his ever growing label, next to writer and director with this episode where everyone can't stop expressing themselves. The story is typical Buffy, but the addition of catchy pop songs brings new life to a show that by this time was becoming a real downer. And the cast (mostly) rises to the occasion, with only Sarah Michelle Gellar's weak range making "Going Through The Motions" the to skip song and her piercing screams in "Walk Through The Fire" are annoying. The addition of Hinton Battle as the sweet baddie is inspired as he brings the house down with "What You Feel." The whole group gets in on "I've Got A Theory" and "Where Do We Go From Here." Spike fully confesses his love and hate to Buffy in "Rest In Peace" while Anya and Xander sing happily together about unhappiness being together in "I'll Never Tell." Tara's fluffy yet naughty ode to her willow tree and the silly song snippets "The Mustard" and "The Parking Ticket" are a hoot as well, but it the stuffy librarian that gets me every time. The solo "Standing" and duet with Tara in the reprise of "Under Your Spell/Standing" use the soft rocking Giles perfectly(tell me!). I have to mention nearly every song, because I like them all. Along with the songs comes the most glossily filmed episode full of group shots and a huge park with tiny bridge to give the full big musical effect. One of the most inspired episodes, fully displaying the goofy humor and effective drama.

*Xander: "You're the cutest of the scoobies with your lips as red as rubies and your firm, yet supple...tight embrace!"*
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Another creative episode from Joss Whedon
spriteobsessions6 July 2008
Joss Whedon was very daring with Buffy, and this episode is no exception. I watched the episode on DVD as opposed to during its original run, and prior to watching it all I knew was that season 6 had a musical episode. I didn't know why, and I was happy to see how they explained everyone's lives in Sunnydale turning into a musical - Sweet was one of the best demons of the series.

If I could give the episode a 9.5, I would. The only reason a point was taken off was because of the singing during the episode; at times it got hard to listen to. Tony Head, Amber Benson, and James Marsters were all excellent for their respective musical styles that they sung during the episode. I've seen a lot of people criticize Marsters' singing, but his solo was rock and he did a great job with it. Sarah Michelle Gellar was decent; I've seen her criticized a lot, too, but I have no problem listening to her on the soundtrack, and I've been trained in music. Emma Caulfield was also decent, but the biggest problem I had with her vocals was that they wobbled sometimes. Nicholas Brendon and Alyson Hannigan were the ones I had the most trouble listening to, and I wish Michelle T. had taken a few lessons, because she has a good voice but the singing wasn't great.

As for the songs themselves, I love them, especially when you watch them in the episode (as opposed to simply listening to the soundtrack). The musical styles and lyrics all fit their characters perfectly. "I'll Never Tell" is a great duet, regardless of the singing exhibited in it. Other personal favorites of mine are "Rest in Peace" and "Walk Through the Fire," as well as "Under Your Spell." From the overture to the final scene (I won't spoil it for you), the episode parodies musical films in general, at the same time paying homage to them.

I also love various lines like "this is my verse, hello" when Anya interrupts Xander during "I'll Never Tell," or "first I'll kill her, then I'll save her - no, I'll save her, then I'll kill her" during Spike's portion of "Walk Through the Fire."

Everything is all very clever, and if I were given the chance to change anything I disliked about the episode, the only thing I'd change would be some of the vocals.
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Better than I could put it in words; this episode is a television milestone.
tv_is_my_parent11 August 2011
I can't understand what kind of a genius Joss Whedon. He created this songs that are true to the characters, some revealing secrets and emotions, some are just fun, some are bittersweet.

Once More, With Feeling is an extra-ordinary episode that you won't see everyday in television. This type of episodes are not to be missed. After watching it for the second time, I love it even more.

Sadly, with this episode BtVS's creativity peak episodes are completed, at least in my opinion. Sure there are some brilliant episodes ahead but this episodes one of the show's climax.

I know there are still people who think Buffy is silly teen vampire show, I was one of them, but just get over your prejudgment and give this show a try, because your missing some of television's best episodes. 10/10.
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What can't we face if we are together?
Mike138810 June 2010
I'm utterly furious and disappointed at the negative reviews posted here regarding this bright, delightful and different episode of BTWS. Joss Whedon is a brilliant director, hands down and this proves just right. The negative comment mostly consist of the unprofessional training of the actors, musical? best episode ever? To answer a few; I personally love this episode. Which series that have drama, comedy, action, horror give one episode fill with catchy songs and musical episode? NONE. Musical? I'm not a big fan of musical myself, but I adore Buffy and to see my beloved characters in different right, once; it's special. Best episode ever? okay, maybe the comments were exaggerated, but can you blame it?! I think people need to relax and grow up, to give 3 star rating to a memorable episode like this one is just retarded.

Bravo! BTWS forever :D
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I LOVE this episode.
sarah_lou4u21 December 2007
Personally i adore this episode of Buffy! I never really watched a lot of Buffy when it was on TV, to me it was just one of those shows that i watched if i found it when i was channel hopping but i must admit for a no-brainer teen TV show it was pretty good if you just wanted to switch off and let TV rot your brain for half an hour. (You've all done it!) I like this episode because although some of the cast can't sing fantastically, the songs are catchy and well-written and the overall episode leaves you with that feel-good feeling that any good musical does! (And a tiny bit of jealousy! - No Sarah Michelle Gellar, he's my Spike! lol!) Definitely worth watching over and over - hehe! i know all the words! (I'm a geek aren't i? lol!) Watch it, it's great!
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One of the BEST of Buffy - SPOILER ALERT
atheria-117 April 2010
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!! I take exception to anyone who doesn't get "Once More With Feeling".

If you've watched and loved musicals over the years you know that a good one has certain elements and this episode is genius when it comes to getting it all right.

Just to have that many people in a series who can not only carry a tune (yes I understand that Allyson Hannigan is not a singer, but I still enjoyed the lines she had even with the limited amount of "alone" singing.)is almost impossible. Buffy fans know that Anthony Stewart Head and James Marsters are both singers, but who knew (be honest) that Sarah Michelle Gellar had such a good voice? Amber Benson has a gorgeous voice, I was blown away by her voice the first time, now I just enjoy hearing it every time I watch this episode - I think her voice is soothing and haunting.

The dancing - and dancing Demon was genius - thank you Joss - but why didn't Michelle Trachtenberg get more song time, what little that was heard was good. I think that Michelle's dance scene on the pool table was more important.

Joss Whedon wrote ALL of the songs - all of them and I am sad our society has nixed most Musicals as child's fare or Broadway dreams and not for the Silver Screen or even, for the most part, TV.

The sheer emotion when Spike comes to Buffy's rescue is palpable and can still evoke wrenching emotions - many of us can relate to many of the themes and emotions in this episode.

People who aren't Buffy or Angel fans to the Nth degree may not like the musical, but those of you who like a good musical (Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Wizard of Oz) will see a deeper meaning in the dancing and songs.

I find something new almost every time I watch and sometimes I just put it on and listen to the whole thing while I am doing more mundane things. This is a rare and enjoyable musical - TV or not.

This is a fun episode and absolutely one of the top ten in the series.
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Don't dis the singing!!!
CarmenEstelle22 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Anyone who complains about the vocal prowess of the cast has totally missed the point of this episode. The point being that ALL the residents of Sunnydale are being forced to reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings by being compelled to sing, regardless of their singing ability. None of the cast were hired as singers, and no one should be *expected* to do professionally what they are not trained to do; especially not in front of the viewing millions. You wouldn't hire a plumber and expect them to be able to fix your electrics too so why people expect these actors to be singers as well is totally beyond me. Even Anthony Head and James Marsters - who had sung before - were less than comfortable with it when it was first presented to them. To be honest, I'm not even sure what the complaints are on that score because as a classically trained soprano, I thought they all did really well. I've heard a lot worse from people who do actually call themselves singers. It is to the cast's eternal credit that they buckled down and made the best of it and, in doing so, made one hell of an episode.
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Joxerlives26 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The Good; All of it, especially Tara's song and 'Going through the motions', Anya's solo is also a belter. Always leaving them wanting more, certainly true of the Spuffers in the final scene. Also love Tara's uncontrollable jazz hands during 'I've got a theory' and the ballet of morning in the Summer's house.

The Bad; ? I think Giles' song is the weakest . No real fan of Spike's either.

Best line; Giles; "Buffy needs backup"

Women good/men bad; Xander's witches theory which he rapidly recants.

Jeez!; Dawn getting the sack isn't nice.

Kinky dinky; Sweet wants to claim Dawn as his child bride but Buffy volunteers to go instead. She's not interested in the handsome hostage she rescues in the graveyard. Parking ticket girl isn't wearing any underwear. Anya mentions that Xander's 'penis got diseases from a Shumash tribe' which might be the best lyric in history. Dawn's superb dancing with Sweet and his minions is extremely suggestive, MT really starting to become noticeably voluptuous as well as tall. Dawn's story about giving birth to a Pterodactyl must have pleased the Got-ficcers. Love Anya's two-piece nightie, Xander loving it in the night when he's 'warm in her tight....tight embrace' which he also describes as 'firm and supple' later. Buffy goes to 'pump Spike for information'. She ends up straddling him in a grave.

Captain Subtext; Tara jokes that she's cured and 'wants the boys' who eye her up (don't blame them, Tara's corset certainly helps her already formidable cleavage). The end of her song where Willow's head disappears downwards as Tara floats is the filthiest bit of Buffy for, oh at least half a season. I'm sure Joss must have been tempted to do "You make me complete. You make me com..." then cut back to the Magic Shop but even the dumbest censor must have been able to spot that. Willow says she's not 'big with the butch'. Tara sings about 'Spreading beneath her Willow tree'. Dawn thinks Willow and Tara together is romantic and that she 'does know about this stuff'. Hmmmm? Of course the Willow/Tara sex scene is arguably rape, Willow's spell has interfered with Tara's mind and without it's influence she probably wouldn't consent to having sex with her. Sweet is 'tempted' to take Xander as his 'Queen' (well you know those Broadway types!) Anya is still a little jealous of Buffy saying Xander flees to her when things get tough.

Guantanamo Bay; Spike wants to make the minion "Sing"

Apocalypses; 6

Scoobies in bondage: Buffy: 8 Giles: 4 Cordy: 5 Will: 3 Jenny: 1 Angel: 4 Oz: 1 Faith: 3 Joyce: 1 Wes: 1 Xander; 1 Dawn; 3

Scoobies knocked out: Dawn comes-to on the pool table at the Bronze Buffy: 16 Giles: 11 Cordy: 6 Xander: 9 Will: 5 Jenny: 2 Angel: 6 Oz: 3 Faith: 1 Joyce: 3 Wes: 1 Anya;2 Dawn; 2

Kills: one of the trio of vamps Buffy kills in the graveyard has the distinction of being her hundredth vamp (killed on screen at least) plus their demon master Buffy: 101 vamps, 41 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot Giles: 8 vamps, 2 demon, 1 human, 1 god. Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon Will: 6 vamps + 1 demon +1 fawn. Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, 1 a demon, Anya: 1 vamp and 1 a demon Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons Spike; 5 vamps and 2 demon Buffybot; 2 vamps Tara; 1 demon Dawn; 1 vamp

Sunnydale deaths; 3 burnt to death by their dancing 93;

Total number of scoobies: 7 Xander, Willow, Buffy, Giles, Anya, Tara, Spike

Xander demon magnet: 5(6?) Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?

Scoobies shot: Giles: 2 Angel: 3 Oz: 4 Riley; 1

Notches on Scooby bedpost: Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes? Cordy: 1? Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 1 possible, Dracula(?) Angel: 1;Buffy Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?) Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley Xander: 2; Faith, Anya Willow: 2;Oz and Tara Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore

Spike; good or bad? Spike saves the day and earns his kiss

Dawn in peril; 6 as Buffy says "If Dawn's in trouble it must be Tuesday"

Dawn the bashful virgin; 5 horrified at the thought of being a demon bride.

Buffy and Dawn more than sisters? Again note that Buffy sings that 'Through the smoke she calls to me' as she makes her way to the Bronze, once again some sort of stronger link between Dawn and Buffy is suggested

Questions and observations; Longest ever ep of Buffy. Contary to popular belief not the first musical ep for a fantasy series, Xena did it first (the terrific 'The Bitter Suite') and arguably Ally McBeal too. But altogether splendid. Note that the newspaper has the city council denying that monsters are involved, SD's open secret apparent. Ironically in an ep where Tara takes Willow to task for magic abuse it's Xander who screws up everything. He is never brought to book for this, just as he's never called to account for his actions in Becoming Pt 2. In fairness it's hard to pick a Scooby who hasn't abused the supernatural and caused the deaths of innocent people? Note the look Tara gives Willow when she starts crying at Buffy's revelation, their rift forgotten.

One question, what is Buffy drawing in her notepad when Giles summons her for training in the teaser?

Marks out of 10; 10/10, legendary!
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One Question About This Episode...While Watching...Did Anybody Else...Burst Into Song?
WakenPayne29 July 2010
Sunnydale is alive with the sound of music as a mysterious force causes everyone in town to burst into full musical numbers, revealing their innermost secrets as they do. But some townsfolk are dancing so much that they simply burst into flames, and it becomes clear that maybe living in a musical isn't so great after all. This Episode Is One Of The Best Musicals Ever Made. I Despise Musicals. I Give This 9 But I Gave It One More Star For Its Imagination. I Showed This To A Non-Buffy Fan & He Gave It 9 As Well. To Me Claiming This Is The Best Buffy Episode Ever Made Is Kind Of Overrating It. My Favourite Song From This Episode Is "Walk Through The Fire" Followed By "Rest In Peace"...Yeah...I Like A Song That Is Sung By James Marsters...I Was Scared Too But He Can Sing Songs Like "R.I.P.". The Biggest Surprise Singing Talent Came From...Well Everyone. When I Heared About This I Was Actually Scared. This Is An Excellent Episode Of Buffy. If Your A Buffy Fan & Want To Get A Friend Hooked On Buffy This Is The Episode To Show Them. I Would Loved To See Joss Whedon Explaining To Hinton Battle His Role...Or Even To The Main Cast Members. Sarah Michelle Gellar Stated That The Most Terrifying Thing She Had To Do On The Show Was Sing. Best Buffy Episode: The Wish. Best Musical: Dr. Horrible. 2nd Best Musical: Once More With Feeling.
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This could easily be a high school musical...the good kind
Boromir286 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This episode is so good.

Joss Whedon is a true genius. Having an episode completely silent and now a musical? And we're still captivated! As I was watching it I could see high shoolers doing this. The songs are fantastic, funny and cheesy, especially Xander and Anya's song about their fears and insecurities about their wedding, could have been taken directly out of a Stephen Sondheim musical. But the songs are not all funny. Buffy's grand soliloqy about her being taken out of heaven is really painful. Willow hopefully learns something from this, even though the damage is probably done. If the songs are truly how they feel, Tara has had enough of her wicca overload.

A definite 10/10. I really liked that it was the cast's own voices, it wasn't meant to pretty, but none of them directly sucked. Xander was probably the weakest voice, but it had it's charm. At least he was better than Russel Crowe in Les Mis. Oh and a final note: Michelle Trachtenberg showed some really sexy moves...and it's OK to say that as she's no longer 15.
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What every TV musical should be
boangel-992965 June 2019
As a fan of musicals, I'm always wary of TV musical episodes- so much can go so terribly wrong. But this episode exemplifies the daring, artistic spirit that made Buffy such a cultural icon.

The opening credits and muted old Hollywood aesthetics set the tone for the show. The musical format works so well because of the cohesiveness of the music and plot- there is no filler song, just as this episode is not an "extra". It's pivotal to the season, with revelations that are best expressed in song.

The music is catchy, and perfectly suited to their respective characters. Spike's corny rock ballad "Rest in Peace" is hilarious, shining a light on his angsty feelings toward Buffy. Tara's "Under Your Spell" ode to Willow in her soft new age voice is unexpected and beautiful. I also have to give credit to Sarah Michelle Geller for remaining faithful to her character- as the lead, her performance could have made or broken the show, and she was solid. The entire cast did a wonderful job- they're not professional singers, which makes the musical feel all the more authentic and true to the Buffyverse.

There was much of the characteristic comedy and wit that fans of the show have come to love. Some favorite moments: In the demon battle, Giles very seriously says, "She needs backup!" and Tara/Anya run to Buffy's aid as backup dancers. Spike's part in Walk Through the Fire: "I hope she fries, I'm free if that b*** dies!/ I better help her out." Actually, Spike's everything in this episode was pretty much golden. Oh, and Anya's fear of bunnies is finally explained (I totally get it!).

"Once More, with Feeling" is not only the best episode of Buffy, it's one of the best moments of television.
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I'm writing this review 10 years after having watched this episode
GraXXoR10 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I'm fairly stoic. I'm not one who rarely gets one's knickers in a twist. But this episode made me jump up and down and spin right round...

There was just something about this episode that resonated. Having watched every episode of Buffy from day one and having followed the story of her and her friends, I found this episode to be incredibly moving. Deep on so many levels... This is pure philosophy masquerading as popular entertainment. Wheedon is masterful in asking the important questions. In pushing the discussion forward... What if one WAS dead and could be revived... but if in being dead one was in a state of bliss. Being "revived" to the real would would make one feel what, exactly?

Beautiful stuff, which is why Joss Whedon is one of the foremost bright lights in illuminating the modern morass that pretends to be entertainment.
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A True Buffy Classic
millet-0884430 January 2018
Like many fans, I had no clue what I was in for. The idea of the cast suddenly bursting into song seemed horrendously stupid. But what I ended up with was a wildly entertaining creation: a character-driven episode that not only pushed the story forward, but was also hilarious, and the music itself was surprisingly catchy.

An absolute joy, and among the series' greatest achievements.
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Best Episode Ever
iceman9132128 January 2016
The songs are very catchy and poignant and as always the dialog is hilarious.

Xander: As in burnt up? Somebody set people on fire?

Anya: That's nuts. I don't know, one more verse of our little ditty and I would've been looking for a gas can.

Giles: Well, clearly emotions are running high, but as far as I can tell these people burned up from the inside. Spontaneously combusted. I've only seen the one. I was able to examine the body while Police were taking witness arias.

Singing, dancing and all the dirty little secrets is song.
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Practically Unbeatable! Shot right after 9/11.
JossIsham15 July 2008
There are at least 141 inferior episodes of Buffy. Only 'The Body' and 'Hush' are equal to the vaunted status of this gem. This is a pinnacle of television excellence. But on a forgotten note: Much of the vocal recording was done just prior to 9/11. The video was shot just after the tragic, depressing event. There was LITTLE "something to sing about". But the lip sync action had to match the relative bliss that came before. Imagine yourself as SMG (a Manhattanite) dancing and sync-ing her way, as though nothing had happened. I've found practically nothing on the facts that surrounded the Buffy fantasy with this harsh reality noted anywhere else. I base my assertions on the dates printed on the original shooting scripts with the related schedule of vocal takes on the DVD 'making-of' special feature. Nobody interviewed referred to the real-world history occurring upon their lives, however. I can't say as I blame them anyway.
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Once More with Feeling
lily_14704 July 2008
I am a big fan of Buffy, however, I was horrified by this episode. While much is revealed about several of the characters through their songs, it is having to sit through the cheesy musical to get them that was sheer torture. I even fast forwarded through some of the songs. I usually love Joss Whedon's sense of humor and his quirkiness in all of his shows (Buffy, Angel, Firefly), but this musical episode was beyond silly, it made me downright uncomfortable. Seeing many of the characters sing was awkward and it took the focus off what was really going on in the show (many huge things were happening with each character). The songs sounded like the typical formulaic Broadway songs that always make me cringe. I could have lived without seeing this episode, however in the interest of watching the complete series I suffered through, save the few songs that I fast forwarded through (Dawn, Tara, and Xander and Anya).
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