It’s a shocking scene meant to show the pitfalls of mindless revenge (and, I suspect, the dangers of magic addiction), but it was also apparently just as intense to shoot. In an Oral History of the Big Bads of Season 6 by vulture, Busch spoke about the experience of filming the sequence. “Warren’s death scene was really intense,” he said. “I was hanging there all night, crucified, between takes, while everyone was taking breaks. It made me very cold, very miserable and very tortured, which I think worked really well for the stage.”
Busch mentions that one moment in the sequence had a double, but for the most part, it was just the actor and his genuinely miserable self bringing Warren’s tortured final moments to life. The scene is a charged ending for a totally despicable character. Busch played Warren perfectly, as a demanding and amoral geek with a mean streak towards women he can’t fully control. Looking back on the character, he is a prescient archetype for the incel movement and others like him. Writer Drew Greenberg sums up the power of the supernatural series’ all-too-human villains, saying it was a “fundamental lack of understanding that caused so much wanton destruction by these three seemingly harmless nerds.”
Yet despite all of this, Warren’s death is utterly heartbreaking. In the same oral history, producer and supervising writer Jane Espenson calls the Skinless Warren “so hard to watch”, while admitting that it’s “one of [her] favorite things. For all its decidedly ’90s sensibilities, ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ achieved some excellent practical effects, including in this scene. The shots of Warren’s gooey, skinless body are indeed unnerving, and Busch delivered excellent performance as a Desperate Guy trying to reverse his very real actions to avoid the consequences Warren’s gloriously bloody death may not redeem the muddled half of Season 6, but it definitely puts a shocking exclamation mark on the end of an ugly but important character arc.