Watching Buffy and thinking how cheesy it is, and how I don’t even really care about Riley.
But then Riley is talking about Buffy to Xander, and says: “Yeah, I’m well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy’s like nobody else in the world. When I’m with her, it’s like - it’s like I’m split in two - half of me is just on fire, goin’ crazy if I’m not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content. Just knows, this is the one…
But she doesn’t love me.”
And then Buffy comes in, and Riley puts on a happy face and kisses her like nothing is wrong, because all he can do is accept that things are what they are, and be happy for whatever they have for however long it lasts.
DAMN YOU, JOSS WHEDON! RIGHT IN THE FEELS, YOU BAD, BAD MAN!
(Yeah, I haven’t really watched much Buffy before.)
Sometimes I feel like those of us that have watched this show a million times overlook this moment because our preconceived notions about Riley, or else a preference for a different relationship of Buffy’s (which can cause people to negate the positive qualities of other relationships) to appreciate how much this moment hurts. I get chills every time I get to this point of the episode. It shows just how much we underestimate Riley, and just how much he underestimates himself.