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The Buffy season finale
May 21, 2002 7:40 PM   Subscribe

The Buffy season finale was possibly two of the best hours of TV I've ever watched. Did you miss it? If you taped it to watch later you may not want to read the article until you see it.
posted by Cyrano (62 comments total)

 
Quite the "last-second gasper," I thought.
posted by Cyrano at 7:45 PM on May 21, 2002


The resolution of the Spike thing...oh...wow. Should be interesting next season.
posted by kittyloop at 7:57 PM on May 21, 2002


As a friend of mine said, it was a good episode, but not a good finale.

I guess I was hoping for more to make up for how lousy the season was.
posted by ice_cream_motor at 8:07 PM on May 21, 2002


Then there are those of us who enjoyed this season. Was a nice step into a certain cold hard reality. Now its time for the usual fun in the sun.
posted by madmanz123 at 8:15 PM on May 21, 2002


C'mon. Yeah, Willow as the big bad was interesting and they were fine episodes, but they pale in comparison to the Season 5 finale. I just hope next season is better.
posted by mtevis at 8:21 PM on May 21, 2002


The resolution reminded me of the end of A Wrinkle In Time. You know, the part where Meg saves Charles Wallace from the evil IT by telling him...

Oh, nevermind.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:21 PM on May 21, 2002


wow. this was what's sunday's x-files episode could have been.

well written, well acted, good twists and turns. can we ask for 22 episodes of this quality?

of course i didn't realize it was a two-hour ep and missed the first five minutes of the second hour — i assumed giles walking in was the last scene. wandered back to see b & g laughing. what'd i miss?
posted by paulschreiber at 10:05 PM on May 21, 2002


i loved this season and thought the finale was great fun... plus i was actually caught off guard by the final moments with spike. usually i can see plot points coming from a mile away but they had me too busy thinking of other things and then whammo!

poor spike, it'll be fun next season seeing him deal with this unexpected turn of events.
posted by t r a c y at 10:13 PM on May 21, 2002


No custom Mutant Enemy monster for the finale. Bugger.
posted by scottst at 10:16 PM on May 21, 2002


This is season was very hit and miss. Giles rules. And that Spike twist was neat. But overall, a bit of a disappointment (don't get me wrong, still better than most things out there. Buffy has just set itself a high standard).
posted by dig_duggler at 10:22 PM on May 21, 2002


For readers of Wanda's gossip column, the surprises were ... well, slightly less surprising. It didn't matter one whit: the execution was flawless, and for me it was even more exciting knowing (only just vaguely) what was to come.
posted by dsandl at 10:50 PM on May 21, 2002


I was hugely disappointed by this season. Last week's episode and the finale were better than anything else this year, but the show itself seems to be fraying at the edges. Good finale, but Buffy has may have passed its prime. Angel, on the other hand, has never been better.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:05 PM on May 21, 2002


this was the weakest finale i've seen since season one. kinda wish they'd just off the show and give dawn her own show. i could be into a show about a teenaged girl who REALLY doesn't belong.
posted by patricking at 12:13 AM on May 22, 2002


My problem with the show this season is that it's turned from Buffy The Vampire Slayer into a soap opera starring all the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean, Buffy always had its soapy elements, but still.

I'm always down with watching Willow kick ass, though. The finale was fun.
posted by furiousthought at 1:52 AM on May 22, 2002


I am utterly speechless regarding this thread.

The "best" 2 hours of television you have ever seen is Buffy the Vampire Slayer???????????????????

I think there is nothing more to say.
posted by a3matrix at 4:19 AM on May 22, 2002


Warning: The following question contains a spoiler.

Does this mean Spike will be a vampire with a soul, or that he no longer will be a vampire?

posted by Holden at 5:13 AM on May 22, 2002


Holden - that was my question exactly. I believe Spike was hoping for that chip-ectomy and didn't read the fine print. They led us to believe he was hoping to be the big-bad again but got a soul instead. No more bitey-on-the-necky for Spikey. Great epidose and finale, by the way. Willow as a super witch was great. I loves the magics!
posted by cowboy at 5:40 AM on May 22, 2002


Holden- Spike should (like Angel) still be a vampire, just with a soul. An interesting twist, but I always thought he'd be a better pair for Angel than Buffy (two former bad-guys turned good for different reasons).

The execution was, as mentioned, great, but I was a little disappointed in the resolution of the whole Willow scenario-

- Two words: Dark Phoenix. Been done, been done better.
- The whole "magic is evil"/"magic is a drug metaphor" is an annoying undermining of the earlier, more benign lesbian metaphor (from the whole Tara/Willow courtship).
- Satanic Church? What??? Random plot device.

But, a decent end to an uneven season. Word is the next (and probably last) season will be a lighter, "back to its roots" season.
posted by mkultra at 6:15 AM on May 22, 2002


I was disappointed. Some of the dialog was grievously below Mutant Enemy standards (Buffy and Dawn, all weepy at the end; Xander and Willow- "I love you!" "Shut up!" "I love you!" "Shut up!") It had it's moments, but overall I think it fell flat.
posted by Fenriss at 6:30 AM on May 22, 2002


Can somebody please explain to me the appeal of Buffy? (As opposed to the appeal of Sarah Michelle Geller, whose appeal is blatently obvious..) Why do so many people apparently like it?
posted by salmacis at 6:32 AM on May 22, 2002


There are spoilers in this. If you didn't see the season finale and have it on tape or Tivo to see later, read no further.

If the satanic church is connected to Hellmouth, the writers now have a way to close the Hellmouth once and for all, which may be the basic thrust of the seventh, and possibly final, season. The church having been there buried all this time, and predating the Hellmouth itself, it now explains why there's a Hellmouth in, of all places, innocent little Sunnydale. Can you say deus ex machina, boys and girls? I knew you could.

I found the direction they took Willow to be inevitable, but unfortunate and predictable. Still, Allyson Hannigan looks really sexy all gothed up like that. It's a crowd pleaser. I really liked the character of Tara. I always thought the actress was the most attractive one on cast, but then I favor women who don't look anorexic. Tara was the only obstacle between crayon breaky Willow and scary veiny Willow. If they wanted to play the Dark Phoenix card, they had to remove Tara irrevocably from the picture, and that's disappointing. However, I sensed this was what they'd do with Willow since that little spat Willow and Giles had just before he left. Nice touch that they brought that up again upon his return.

It was great to see Giles again. That I did not expect. I thought that actor would never return, since he supposedly has his own series in the works at the BBC, or was that just a rumor?

Let's look at this one objectively, mon ami. "Two To Go" and "Grave," like much of the latter half of season six, felt rushed. The acting seemed at times phoned in. The dialogue was below par (can you honestly think of a single memorable line from this episode without going back and reviewing your videotape?). The fact the highlight of the season was a musical driven by Joss Whedon indicates that the man really shouldn't stay away from his creation for so long. And with the series being bumped from the WB to UPN, Gellar running off in between takes to make the Scooby movie and Head leaving the majority of the season to attempt the alleged BBC series "Ripper" (whatever happened with that anyway?), too much of the talent of Buffy has been stretched to the breaking point.

Considering the obstacles, I'm amazed the show is still going, and doubly amazed that the quality is what it is, that being "not good but not bad." In fact this season brought me back. I had never been a big fan of Buffy, thinking it was just going to be another wasted spinoff remake of a moderately successful movie. I watched a few episodes back when Seth Green was a werewolf on cast, and left permanently when he did, until this season.

You can call it bad, terrible, awful all you want, but it has immensely entertained me this season, because for the first time in my recollection, the story of an ex-cheerleader becoming the savior of the world has actually seemed for lack of a better word... realistic.

This was not the best two hours of television. However it was by no stretch of the imagination the worst. Many argue that this season was the worst, but I disagree. Just as Spider-Man is nothing without Peter Parker's angst, There can be no hills in life without valleys. The characters of a fictional storyline cannot seem real unless they experience both light and shadow. We the audience can't appreciate the good times unless the bad times have some kind of weight to them.

Many confuse the fact that this has been an emotionally draining season with 'bad.' We didn't get the feelgoody "kill a vampire win a prize" silliness of previous seasons. Buffy is all grown up now, and life is not always peaches & cream. What makes this season the most memorable (not the best, but the most memorable) is that Buffy's Scoobies are no longer pubescent juveniles out looking for a good time. They have real worries, real concerns and real consequences to their actions. They're all grown up, and just as every young person has to find their own trial by fire to shuffle off the old and embrace the new, so too did this series need a dose of reality to make the fantastical that much more incredible.

Let's just look at what all has happened in the course of one season. Buffy died and came back to life unnaturally at the hand of her best friend Willow, who got drunk with power and became a junkie of the dark magicks. Xander discovered he could make a living as a grunt, and almost married the ex-vengeance demon Anyanka. However he left her at the altar because of his indecisiveness, causing Anya to get all vengeancy and return to her roots, having sex with Spike as an act of solace (interesting point that) and not vengeance. She reclaimed her independence from Xander without turning him into a toasted pastry. Or a newt.

Spike and Buffy did the nasty. Repeatedly. Only to learn that while Spike was incapable of true love without a soul, Buffy was incapabable of confusing lust with love. She was using Spike because she wanted solace but could only get that from Angel, and he's on a different network. She could no longer use Spike for the empty solace he provided, so she told him to stick it where the sun don't shine, and that in itself has consequences which will continue to bare soured fruit next season. We've only seen the tip of that iceburg, thus whetting our appetite.

What's really a statement of promise for next season from Buffy's writers to the audience however is not with Spike, but with Dawn. Buffy's been treating her like a smothering mother, trying to replace the role of their lost mother. It hasn't been working and until last night, the character didn't understand why.

Dawn's not really what she thinks she is and never has been. Buffy didn't always have a sister, but thanks to the funtime of past seasons, temporal physics was given a holiday and Dawn was born, out of The Key. Buffy might have closed the door that holds that Key last season, thus dying and then coming back to life, but the Key still exists, and that probably means the Lock is still out there too.

Whereas normal humans and even demons and vampires have that "dust to dust ashes to ashes" thing going for them, Dawn's a ..little different. Dawn's whining this season has become incessantly annoying not only to the audience or other Scoobies, but even to Dawn herself. Her kleptomania has been a bit downplayed, and can't outdo Tara's death, Anya's displeasure, Xander's futility, Buffy's angst or Willow's junkieness. Thus why she steals and whines: Dawn's been competing for attention and losing. It's not that she wants attention. She needs to be treated like a human being, because deep down she knows she's only pretending to be a human being and needs reinforcement there, otherwise she might one day wake up and find herself unDawned. In this last episode she's proven herself worthy, standing up to a score of the undead, battling at Buffy's side like a veteran. Buffy was trying to hide Dawn from the world. Protect her, and all that was doing was making Dawn feel like a bird trapped in a cage, and it created unneeded tension, keeping Buffy from focusing her attentions where they needed to go. Dawn's still the Key. That never changed. She's only hidden in human form to keep those who want the Key from using her. Willow almost turned Dawn back to her former self, "a little ball of energy." This means that's still possible to do, and there are probably people out there who would still want to do that. I will bet next season there will be at least one episode in which suddenly Dawn no longer exists, at least temporarily. If Buffy's behind-the-camera staff plays their cards right, the loss of Dawn should be as surprising to us as her sudden appearance was to us last season.

Someone earlier said this show has "turned from Buffy The Vampire Slayer into a soap opera starring all the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Actually it's never been about just Buffy, but about Buffy, Willow & Xander. His real reason for leaving Anya at the altar was what diehard fans have known since the first season (a friend of mine has it on DVD). Xander and Willow care for each other. As friends and even for a time when Oz was around, as lovers. Maybe they'll go back and try to be lovers again, which will no doubt tick Anya off, but it's the way things were in the beginning, and with Xander's near sacrifice at the end of "Grave" (who's a carpenter by the way, I loved that metaphorical touch) we learn that this is perhaps the way things should be. It took them six seasons but with last night's episode, many things have finally come full circle. Buffy's all grown up. So are Willow & Xander.

To call this season "the worst" or "the best" and then leave it at that is juvenile. It's like saying "GARTH BROOKS ROCKS DUDE!" or "JULIA ROBERTS SUCKS" without giving reasons as to why. Such mindless statements utilize a negative percentage of grey matter. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has, does, and will entertain. It has never pretended to do anything other than that. So with season six it has delivered. That makes it good. Not great, but certainly not bad by any stretch. No fan of the series could ask for more than what Buffy has delivered. At least Joss Whedon insures that each subplot of the series has some kind of beginning, middle and end to it, unlike Chris Carter. The jerkoff.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:39 AM on May 22, 2002


I just knew when I saw this essay that ZachsMind was at work. Very good analysis my friend.
posted by cowboy at 7:26 AM on May 22, 2002


Great post, ZachsMind.

One note, however. The development of a Willow/Xander relationship has been ruled out by the writers. They've confirmed that Willow isn't going to return to dating men, (if she's ever able to date at all). There's a direct quote from Steven DeKnight to that effect, but I'm too swamped to look for it at the mome. Willow's gay, folks. That's the last word.
posted by Fenriss at 7:37 AM on May 22, 2002


She was using Spike because she wanted solace but could only get that from Angel

why could she only get it from Angel?
posted by tolkhan at 7:40 AM on May 22, 2002


missed Fenriss on preview:

Steven DeKnight is also generally considered to be the biggest lier of all the writers. he is the guy who said specifically that Tara wouldn't die. it's part of his job, to disinform, though there are plenty of people pissed at him right now because of Tara's death. i bear no ill will for him, though i won't believe a word he says.
posted by tolkhan at 7:47 AM on May 22, 2002


To call this season "the worst" or "the best" and then leave it at that is juvenile. It's like saying "GARTH BROOKS ROCKS DUDE!" or "JULIA ROBERTS SUCKS" without giving reasons as to why.

I can easily argue that this was the worst season. The characters were muddy. There was no clear cut enemy. Other seasons usually started and ended with the same enemy, Spike, Angel, the Master, Gloria. This year there was only the three geeks. Worst evil-doers ever. Tara was killed by a random bullet. There were no back stories, everything was up front and clumsy. Xander and Anya's wedding was classic cliched television.

ZachsMind: Wasn't it was you I was talking to once who mentioned that you'd never even watched the show until this season?
posted by eyeballkid at 7:56 AM on May 22, 2002


Buffy was/is always at its best when it plays with and subverts classic storytelling cliches. A lot of the earlier, self-contained episodes did this brilliantly. There are still flashes of this in season 6:
- The Musical Episode
- The Evil Nerd Troika (admit it... it was truly inspired)
- Buffy in an insane asylum
- Putting Tara in the opening credits, then killing her (Joss Whedon gives a great pre-emptive background to this in his DVD commentary on the pilot)
- the amnesia episode

But, there's a lot not to like, mainly because the storytelling fell back on those same cliches:
- Buffy trying to work at a real job (boring)
- The Madcap Wedding
- Willow's magic addiction (bad afterschool special writing)
- Dawn's kleptomania
- the "love conquers all" ending of the finale (cheap, though hopefully they'll deal with the fact that Willow did actually murder two people)

Still, the worst episodes of Buffy are still better than most of what's out there.
posted by mkultra at 8:22 AM on May 22, 2002


I think the pacing and the stories this season were a lot more deliberate than they're getting credit for. The emphasis shifted from the Big Baddie that gets it in the final episode more toward the characters. That being said, I don't think it always worked either. Heck, just two weeks ago I was telling a friend I thought it was one of the weakest seasons. But I did like how it got all dark and intense in the end.

And I'm not sure how else it could have ended. We've done the heroic sacrifice thing...twice. We could have had the Buffy Beats Down the Villain thing, but that's been done too and I don't think anyone really wanted to see Willow get pounded anyway. The "love conquers all" ending may have been cliche but I think with the characters and the situation it actually seemed to make the most sense. Your best friend is evil and going to nuke the world. You have no power to stop her. You've got nothing left to try so you might as well try that.
posted by Cyrano at 8:47 AM on May 22, 2002


Yeah, I remember reading a comment on the boards of Mighty Big Without Pity and its basic point was that they could have got a lot more mileage and a lot less stereotype out of Black Magic Willow if they'd used anorexia as a real-life model for it instead of drug addiction. I always thought this was very apt.

ZachsMind, when I said that Buffy's turned into a full-fledged soap opera, I meant in terms of writing and general story development. It's always been an ensemble show, I know that. But it's the whole "up front and clumsy" bit eyeballkid mentioned - in the earlier episodes the relationships of the ensemble weren't always so damn front and center and as a consequence the dialogue was much much tighter.
posted by furiousthought at 9:00 AM on May 22, 2002


I shared in a lot of the disappointment expressed through this season, but I couldn't and still can't shake the feeling that the apparent crappiness was somewhat contrived (though nothing will let me forgive the magic=drugs thing). The monsters took on a decidedly childish tone, the threats of seasons past suddenly seemed more or less juvenille... could it be that the wins and losses of adult life end up making what seemed apocalyptic in the teen years into almost an afterthough by comparison?

I don't know if I'm reading more into what was laid out for us this season, but with the show's willingness to subvert the norms of theatrical storytelling, it wouldn't surprise me to find myself coming back to season six as much more than I could see the first time around.
posted by holycola at 9:07 AM on May 22, 2002


mkultra:Still, the worst episodes of Buffy are still better than most of what's out there.

I agree 100%. I didn't enjoy this season as much as others, but I did enjoy it. I think Marti Noxon is just getting her feet wet. When she finally decides to dive in, I'm hoping the show gets back to what it does best: deep, dark and complex.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:09 AM on May 22, 2002


Well, people.. now remember, it isn't magic that really bad, it's the black magic.

Because, of course, Giles was all hopped up on the coven (good) magic, and Willow stealing it is what actually saved her.

As for Spike with a soul.. I toyed with the idea that that was what was going to happen to him, then discarded it, then thought about it again. I mean, if he did get rid of the chip, and he's the big bad next season, it would be a reply of old times, plus everyone loves him now, and him going off killing everyone would just piss people off, since he'd have to be killed in the end.

But, now, see, I don't think he's going to be all goodie - good, though.. He got rid of the chip, she could hurt people, but now with the soul, he'll have a conscious about it.. so I think he's going to go through the moral dilemna/pain that they always use the flashbacks with Angel to show, but never were able to fully explore/develop it.

I think Willow needs to join/start a coven in Sunnydale so she can still use magic, but be under some 'good magic' control.
posted by rich at 9:12 AM on May 22, 2002


"I was hugely disappointed by this season. Last week's episode and the finale were better than anything else this year"

I loved the finale, but it was nothing compared to Buffy: The Musical. That was the best hour (and 10 minutes) of TV I've seen this decade.

Okay, most people have said the things I'd say about this episode, but my unanswered questions: Now that Spike has his soul back (who knew they were all kept by a demon in Africa?) how different will he really be? Spik-with-chip isn't that different than Angel-with-soul. Spike wasn't any more evil with the chip than a lot of ensoulled humans are (*ahem*Warren*ahem*). Soul != good. One high point is that, since presumably the demon didn't use the Gypsy spell to refill Spike, he's free from the 'moment of pure happiness revokes your soul-card' clause.

Will Willow go back to her magicless existence? We see her exhausted in Xander's arms, but we have no idea what her mindset will be. Will Will still be quasi-evil like Rat-Amy? Will she swear off magic forever again? Willow sans-Tara, sans prospect for Oz or Xander is really a boring character. Hey, at least all the dark arts books are empty now. Does she retain the knowledge, if not the power? I'm guessing not, since the ink is gone from her hair...

Dawn is such a letdown. All season we wait for some kind of vindication, for a hint that she's not so much a whiney teen as she is a secret stepGod. What's our reward? She learned a little swordplay watching sis, just enough for a little bonding. Even Angel's been better than that. Willow had it right when she ripped Dawn an emotional new one. Now that 'the truth is out there' the writers have to make Dawn relevant one way or another, and not just an 'I wish'y plot device.

Was anyone else hoping that Giles (or anyone for that matter) would "I wish" Willow's powers away, ala re-vengeanced Anya?

And of course, the most important question of all: Is there still a Warren-skin-suit caught up in a tree in the Sunnydale forest?
posted by kfury at 9:21 AM on May 22, 2002


Don't forget for next season: Buffy died. So there's another slayer somewhere...
posted by Cyrano at 9:26 AM on May 22, 2002


Cyrano: actually, there won't be a new Slayer due to Buffy's dying last season. Marti Noxon (and I believe Joss as well) have said in interviews that because Faith is still alive, there was still a Slayer in the world when Buffy died. Thus, both Faith and Buffy would have to die before a new Slayer would be called.
posted by Bluecoat93 at 9:53 AM on May 22, 2002


Don't forget for next season: Buffy died. So there's another slayer somewhere...

Not according to canon. When Buffy died the first time, Kendra was called. When she died, Faith was called. Buffy being brought back (a second time, natch) put her outside that "bloodline". Only when Faith dies will a new slayer be called.

it wouldn't surprise me to find myself coming back to season six as much more than I could see the first time around

I agree. Buffy eps age well, and there are plenty of things to pick up on. Seeing reruns of early S6 episodes, the whole "earth as hell" thing for Buffy becomes more fleshed out. If you go farther back, you can see "Willow is gay" references dating back to the beginning.
posted by mkultra at 9:56 AM on May 22, 2002


even though i haven't liked this season very much, slow buffy seasons always play well when played back-to-back after dubbing. the first-year-of-college season (four..?) played wonderfully upon re-watching, even with that ridiculous "adam" storyline and riley's repeated whining. i'll have to watch this one again to see if i really did like it.

my biggest criticism of this past season may also be its biggest benefit: the character development was muddy. all the leads spent the entire season being conflicted between what they *knew* they were supposed to be and what they actually had become...very much like what happens to us in real life. (i actually think the characters should have reached the same emotional climaxes in the college season.)

but i still wanna see dawn in her own show. it'd probably be "my so-called life" crossed with "ghost world" and "the craft." i'd go for that.
posted by patricking at 9:59 AM on May 22, 2002


Ooh, good point, Cyrano. That and new-and-improved Spike, questionable Willow and scooby-ized Dawn should make for an interesting next season. I'm looking forward to it.
posted by me3dia at 10:04 AM on May 22, 2002


salmacis - Since no one else bothered to answer you as to why people love Buffy (the show, not the character), here goes:
1) "subverts classic storytelling cliches" as MKUltra says above. The writers regularly set you up to expect a classic horror movie plot, then throw a curve at you. ("Soylent Green is ... veggie burger!")
2) Uses horror/fantasy elements as metaphors for the trials & tribulations of real life. Sometimes this comes up lame, as in the magic abuse/drug addiction plotline, but more often than not it works well.
3) Mixes humor and tragedy/horror better than any show I've ever seen by far, without one element being undermined by the other.
4)Great characters. This seems to be a blend of good writing, good casting, good acting & good direction. Gellar/Buffy is actually my least favorite of the ensemble, but she works well in relation to the rest of the cast.

I'm speaking here, for the record, as someone who hasn't watched TV regularly for the last 15 years. My life is too busy to schedule around a TV show, but my girlfriend has been taping the episodes for me so I can watch them when I get to it. Now that the season's ended, I probably won't watch any TV until it starts back up in the fall.
posted by tdismukes at 10:13 AM on May 22, 2002


Buffy episodes have also historically had the very best and most cleverly edited ending scenes on television. I don't remember it exactly, but sometime around season 2:

(outside Sunnydale High, after defeat of something evil)
Buffy: And now we can get back to our pathetic lives as outsiders and school outcasts!
Scoobies: Hahahahaha! Ha ha! Ha! Ha! Ha.
(glum pause)
(cut to credits)

See, I like that stuff.
posted by furiousthought at 10:30 AM on May 22, 2002


"Not according to canon. When Buffy died the first time, Kendra was called. When she died, Faith was called. Buffy being brought back (a second time, natch) put her outside that "bloodline". Only when Faith dies will a new slayer be called."

Hmmm...good point. Didn't think of that. Although there's probably still some decent stuff that could be twisted around that if they worked at it. Doubt they will, though.
posted by Cyrano at 10:37 AM on May 22, 2002


I agree with Kfury about the Musical - the best episode this season by far, but I liked the rest of it too. Just not as much. I made a CD of the mp3s for my car, and still listen to the tunes on occasion. Spike's tune has real legs to it. It's fun to sing to on the highway.

Fenriss: "Willow's gay, folks. That's the last word."

Whether the writers realize this or not, Willow's bi. Not gay. I've had my experience with bisexuals. I even married and divorced one. I know of what I speak. Willow loves a person based on whether or not they make her all Jell-O Pudding Pop inside, and their plumbing is irrelevant. Will's own words, "I think I'm a little gay." Any good writer knows to keep their options open. The writers may have Will & Xan attempt nonplatonickiness with some discomfort. They'll fail, but will attempt it long enough for Anya to catch them in the act and get all pissy. Should be fun.

tolkhan: "why could she only get it from Angel?"

I never understood why she didn't just poke Angel with a stick in the first place. He's a vamp. She's a slayer. She had the hots for him in a way that even Riley never appeased. After Angel left, Buffy used Spike as a rebound. At the time she needed hot passionate vampire sex so she could slowly get off her codependent addiction of Angel's solar plexes. Spike was the only available option at the moment.

"Steven DeKnight ...is the guy who said specifically that Tara wouldn't die."

Tara may not exactly be dead. She was a witch too. I'm expecting them to bring her back as an apparition or a zombie with a brain. Maybe do that Empire Strikes Back Obi Wan Kenobi glow seethru thing. Corny? Of course. They'd be fools not to keep Amber Benson on the payroll. She's a very talented and good looking babe. Undeadness is not out of the question for a show like this.

eyeballkid: "I can easily argue that this was the worst season. The characters were muddy."

As if the characters were on calibre with Shakespeare in previous seasons? They've always been muddy. That's one of the things likable about them.

"There was no clear cut enemy."

The theme of this season was that our true enemies are ourselves. Real life is the enemy in the sixth season. The consequences of inappropriate action and inaction. That's why the trio developed, not because of clear-cut direction, but from the entropy that occurs in any person's life without some sense of direction or order. You see it as a failure in writing, but I agree with mkultra, "The Evil Nerd Troika (admit it... it was truly inspired)." I see it as brilliance.

"Wasn't it ..you I was talking to once who mentioned that you'd never even watched the show until this season?"

Yes & no. I never watched the show with any regularity until it switched networks. I have caught the occasional rerun, and happened to catch a couple first run episodes back when Seth Green was a semi-regular. Then they killed him off and at the time he was the only character I actually liked, so I rolled my eyes and wrote Buffy off as just another stupid show.

This is the first year I've made an actual effort to catch the shows on first-run. Switching networks made me think they would either crash and burn brilliantly, or make an active effort to shift gears and hunker down. Since I got addicted to this season I've gone back in reruns and borrowed friends tapes and DVDs to see what I've missed. Plot synopses and episode guides on the Web have helped fill in the blanks. Now I know just about as much as any diehard fan who's been with the show from the beginning.

"..the worst episodes of Buffy are still better than most of what's out there." Very.

As for how they'll deal with Willow's double murder, there's no evidence that she killed Warren. However, there's a body with Rat. Granted, the body's trapped in his inbetween place. The police will never find it, but the next person who goes to see Rat for their fix may find it. I'm sure as despicable as Rat was, he did have friends. That's probably how they'll deal with whether or not Willow gets punished. Friends of Rat will show up to kick her butt a few times. Should be fun.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:38 AM on May 22, 2002


By muddy, I meant that they were mostly acting out of character. It seemed to me that this season rejected most of the character development of previous seasons. Most of the Scoobie's actions were just stepping stones to the next plot point with no real internal motivation.

Also, I mispoke(mistyped?) earlier. The musical episode was the best this season. I just never think of it as being part of this season because it was an episode Whedon had direct control over, unlike the rest, and it really shows. It was also the last time this season that I was truly excited about an episode.

Also, I can't wait for Firefly.
posted by eyeballkid at 10:58 AM on May 22, 2002


these last two EPs have proven my theory that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the second best show on television, right behind Press Your Luck!
posted by mcsweetie at 11:44 AM on May 22, 2002


I have caught the occasional rerun, and happened to catch a couple first run episodes back when Seth Green was a semi-regular. Then they killed him off and at the time he was the only character I actually liked, so I rolled my eyes and wrote Buffy off as just another stupid show

Maybe the reason you didn't like it is because you were watching Duffy the vampire player or something. Oz (seth green's character) has never died.

Also, Rack's not neccesarily dead.
posted by dig_duggler at 12:02 PM on May 22, 2002


After Angel left, Buffy used Spike as a rebound.

huh? after Angel left, there was Parker, who introduced Buffy to the one night boink, then Riley, who stayed til the middle of season 5. she didn't do anything with Spike until the beginning of season 6, two years after Angel left. i don't think the Spike boinkage was to rebound over Angel. i think it was a complex thing involving her being yanked out of heaven, the harshness and violence of this world, her own emotion emptiness and inability to feel anything she thought was real, and that Spike was the only person around her who could understand the death-and-resurrection thing.


in season 4, Buffy pursued Faith to LA after the whole body switching incident and found that Angel was giving sanctuary to Faith (in the coincidentally titled Angel ep "Sanctuary"). they fought. they said mean things to each other. at the end, they were not on good terms with each other.

as for Rack, are we certain he was human?
posted by tolkhan at 1:12 PM on May 22, 2002


Zachsmind wrote: "It was great to see Giles again. That I did not expect. I thought that actor would never return, since he supposedly has his own series in the works at the BBC, or was that just a rumor? "

The series is still being negotiated. The BBC want it and have an option on a 6 part series, but apparently it's very hard negotiating between Fox and BBC.

Joss Whedon has written the pilot for it but now they've put the whole thing on hold because he is too busy getting Firefly off the ground.

I'm still crossing my fingers for it. On the other hand, I would very much like Tony Head to be more involved in Season 7 of Buffy, and have them do his series after that ends.

As for the finale... being in Holland I've had to download it. I was completely spoiled for it (knew Giles would return, knew bits of dialogue and several twists, etc) but it still blew me away. I thought the season's storylines were fab, but didn't like the execution of most of the episodes. Seemed to be something wrong with pacing, and the actors seemed to be phoning in their performances at times. The finale made good for all of that - I'm guessing (or fanwanking) that the presence of Tony Head on the set just brings out the best in the other actors, and he was sorely missed during the season. (Even if it was necessary for him to leave, in terms of the season's 'theme' of 'growing up'.)

They had Buffy claw her way out of a grave in the season starter... and then finding out she left part of herself in there, which set the dark tone of the following episodes. In the finale, they had her crawl out of a grave again, into the sunshine, this time with her sister (whom she ignored for ages) at her side. It's always darkest... before Dawn. They've sown a seed for a possible 'Dawn the Vampire Slayer' series.

Many episodes ago, Giles said: 'You don't forgive people because they deserve it, but because they need it.' The full implications of that came together in the finale, with the Xander/Willow showdown.

Also liked the way how the 'soulless vengeance demon' Anya seemed the most humane of all, choosing to be with the stricken Giles, rather than help Buffy and Dawn in their fight.

I'm psyched for next season, and really looking forward to see what they've thought up for Souled!Spike, and how he's going to be different from the other vamp with a soul.
posted by prolific at 1:27 PM on May 22, 2002


re: ensouled Spike.

there are some who think, and i entertain the possibility, that Spike isn't now a vamp with a soul. Spike demands that the demon make him what he was so he can give Buffy what she deserves.

Spike was never a vampire with a soul, so how can he be made that again? being made what he was would be a chipless Spike, or the foppish pre-vamp William.

Buffy getting what she deserves means getting an ensouled vampire again? because it worked so well the first time?
posted by tolkhan at 1:31 PM on May 22, 2002


Spike went to the demon to make him what he was, yes, but the demon's last words were: 'we will return your soul'. (Though last night, Joss Whedon claimed it was all about fish...) There's sure to be some other twist to it.
posted by prolific at 1:44 PM on May 22, 2002


well, being made human would mean having his soul returned.


actually, i'm just hoping for that to happen because i'd looooove to hear the whining from Angel. "But i've been brooding and tormenting myself for a hundred years! i wanna be human!"
posted by tolkhan at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2002


"so she told him to stick it where the sun don't shine"
-- ZachsMind

Do you really think so? Spike did go on and on on several occasions about "the things you do" and Buffy has asked something like "Why did I let him do those things to me?"

I have pondered those lines. What are we supposed to think?

"We've only seen the tip of that iceburg, thus whetting our appetite. "
-- ZachsMind

Oh my. Rrrrar.
posted by squinky at 2:24 PM on May 22, 2002


Spike said, "I want to give the slayer what she deserves." Of course, what the Slayer "deserves," considering her virtue and all, is love and contentedness ... which an ensouled (ex-vampire?) Spike could give her, perhaps.

As for the fish thing ("sole," not "soul") thing, it is reminiscent of Joss's remarks last summer about bringing Buffy back to life. When asked if they would find a simple, cheating way to bring Buffy back to life he was reported to have rebutted such a suggestion by saying, "Oh, we're going to earn it." When, of course, episode 6.1 came along, it was a magic URN that they used, in a (rather) cheating way.

Personally, I think that the Buffy-in-an-asylum episode was the best of the year (after the musical, of course!) and that it raised plot points which will have to be addressed.
posted by MattD at 2:27 PM on May 22, 2002


tolkhan: in season 4, Buffy pursued Faith to LA after the whole body switching incident and found that Angel was giving sanctuary to Faith (in the coincidentally titled Angel ep "Sanctuary"). they fought. they said mean things to each other. at the end, they were not on good terms with each other.

Don't forget, though, that Buffy went to visit Angel this season, after her resurrection. The show actually made a big deal of this, with her departure coming at the climax of "Flooded" and referred to in mysterious terms in the teaser of "Life Serial":

DAWN
So how was it? Seeing Angel … him seeing you. Was it weird?

Buffy is clearly uncomfortable.
BUFFY
It was… intense.

WILLOW
Well, if you want to talk about it…

BUFFY
I don’t. It’s… not important. Past. I’d just rather keep this one to myself, if that’s okay.

DAWN
Sure, whatever.

I kept expecting that what happened between Buffy and Angel would prove to be a major plot point. Maybe next season ...
posted by nathanstack at 3:45 PM on May 22, 2002


nathanstack... do you watch Angel? (spoiler within!)

The "best" 2 hours of television you have ever seen is Buffy the Vampire Slayer???????????????????

actually, the best 132 hours of television I've ever seen is buffy.
posted by mcsweetie at 4:26 PM on May 22, 2002


It was a yawner. My wife and I were calling out plot points half an hour ahead of time. Everything, even the last scene, was entirely predictable.
posted by Captain Ligntning at 5:14 PM on May 22, 2002


My thanks to prolific for the update on Ripper. I too would like to see that come to fruition although I wish it was happening here in the states so I'd actually get to see it. Perhaps PBS will pick it up in five or ten years. If it's ever made. However I also feel it's better if they keep Tony Head on the Buffy show and wait till later for Ripper. I think the others have proven his presence is a valuable one. Without Giles around, things just went to hell.

dig_duggler: "Maybe the reason you didn't like it is because you were watching Duffy the vampire player or something. Oz (seth green's character) has never died."

Ooh. My bad. You're right. He just got in a VWBug van and ran away, Same diff. Oz won't come back until Seth Green realizes he won't make a steady paycheck talking to puppets.

"Also, Rack's not neccesarily dead."

Rack. Rat. *hmph* He looked dead to me. But then he looked dead when he was walking around sniffing strawberries.

tolkhan: "..after Angel left, there was Parker, who introduced Buffy to the one night boink, then Riley, who stayed til the middle of season 5. she didn't do anything with Spike until the beginning of season 6, two years after Angel left."

Ooh. My bad. Shows what happens when one sees all the past seasons out of sequence. She did make a point to go see Angel one last time early in the sixth season (a meeting we didn't get to see cuz the networks couldn't set their differences aside for a crossover episode). I don't know anything about Parker, but Riley was a joke. He was like Xander but with military training. I was unimpressed.

Also, I don't watch the Angel series. So I'm by choice in the dark regarding what happens on that show. Angel's on the same time as Ally McBeal. *embarrassed look* For anyone who does watch Angel, was the mysterious meeting between Angel & Buffy ever mentioned in that show this season?

Caution: Extreme episode dissection and weird plot extrapolation ahead.

MattD: "I think that the Buffy-in-an-asylum episode was the best of the year (after the musical, of course!) and that it raised plot points which will have to be addressed."

I would have disagreed with you. Initially I hated that episode because of the implications of it. However, I'm beginning to think the people behind Buffy were thinking about making everything since Buffy's death a selective reality thing somehow. I don't mean one day Buffy wakes up and finds Angel in her shower, a la "Dallas." Although if they opt to cheat, it will manifest itself in a corny way. I think they're going for something else though.

In one of the early episodes this season, Buffy's plumbing went out. It so went out that her basement was flooded. After the commercial break we see all the Scoobies in Buffy's kitchen. Now we know her water ain't working cuz the pipes are all busted. However, Buffy's standing there at the kitchen sink and she's spookily spacing out staring at the running water in her fawcet. Willow walks up and turns the water off, which brings Buffy out of her funk. Why is there still running water in her kitchen when all the pipes are busted in her basement? It doesn't make any sense. It obviously didn't make any sense to Buffy either. It's one of those philosophical questions about reality. One could dismiss this as a continuity error, but they made such a point to do a close up of the running water, and showing Buffy all spaced out. Then they just left it there, like a tree that just fell in a forest without anyone around to hear it make a sound. What is reality, anyway?

This is why fans of the show like it. It peels like an onion.

The very next episode, Buffy's sitting in a philosophy class trying to get back in the swing of things with college. She's sitting next to Willow and their teacher is Mike. He's going on and on about the subjectiveness of reality, and other students are chiming in, in a way that confuses Buffy's brain.

"Social Construction of Reality [is] a concept involving a couple of opposing theories, one stressing the externality and independence of social reality from individuals. And the flip side [being] that each individual participates fully in the construction of his or her own life. Those on the latter side of the theoretical divide stress [blah blah blah] because social phenomena don't have unproblematic objective existences. They have to be interpreted and given meanings by those who encounter them."

The scene ends with the query of whether or not there are countless realities. Why wasn't the class on more ancient philosophy? Or why was it a philosophy class? The writers could have made an even more confusing class for the Buffy character by having them commit discourse about European history, biochemistry, or gravitational physics. Why'd they pick subjective reality? Maybe it was because the trio were later to mess with Buffy's perspective of reality. All three trials they put her through had to do with altering her reality as opposed to the reality of those around her. Warren inhibited her connection with temporal reality by slowing her down compared to those around her. Andrew sent elusive demons after her which appeared and disappeared without any evidence of their existence (that one's a stretch, granted). Then Jonathon put her in a temporal loop, until she could successfully sell a disgruntled mummy hand to a stubborn Magic Box customer.

I may be reading too much into this. The rest of the season doesn't seem to have many other examples of subjective reality or obvious continuity glitches. At least not obvious ones that come to mind but the one about the running fawcet in a house with broken plumbing just came to me last night. There may be others that I just haven't noticed. Then with the episode "Normal Again" this demon's blood makes Buffy sick and she starts hallucinating about an alternate reality in which she's gone mad and none of the past six years have been truly real, except in her own mind. They made a point to bring this up again in the finale, upon Giles' return. It was one of the things they were laughing about in the training room, while Willow pulled the Jedi Mind Trick on Anya.

Is the past season all simply a hell upon which the very dead Buffy's soul is subjecting herself? They certainly do know how to keep their audience wondering, don't they?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:07 PM on May 22, 2002


Over at the Cross & Stake boards, there's been much discussion of alterations of reality and perception this season in Buffy, from "Life Serial" (the funny episode where the nerds messed with Buffy's sense of time) to "Once More With Feeling" (the musical) to "Tabula Rasa" (ep after the musical where everyone caught amnesia) to "Gone" (Buffy's invisible) to "Dead Things" (Buffy thinks she's killed Katrina) to "Normal Again" (Buffy in the insane asylum). I've really enjoyed this season, despite the unfortunate Willow-as-addict arc that didn't do anything for me (or from the sounds of it, most people). The writers really did earn Buffy's resurrection this time, really artistically dealing with the issues it would raise. It seems like they also took the opportunity to revisit Season Two, her last post-resurrection season. They stretched the malaise that characterized her in "When She Was Bad" (the first episode of that season) to be a factor in the entire arc. Her relationship with Spike, and the temerity of the questions they dared to pose (e.g. what constitutes rape? what motivates it? what does it result in?) kept me fascinated. Anya and Tara really grew as characters this year, and Dawn seems to have a similar growth in store. I'm hoping for a new character or two next season. I wrote my thesis on this show, and I'm so impressed it's going so strong, six years after it began. If the writers end it after next season, they will have much to be proud of.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:55 PM on May 22, 2002


Look away if you don't want to be spoiled for Season 7

grrarrgh00: Concerning the cast, ne of the writers, Jane Espenson, was on the Succubus Club last night and said: There are going to be new recurring characters but I don't think any new regulars. Possibly a new high school principal.

Jane implied some more stuff including Buffy as mentor to someone other than Dawn, more Giles, the return of Sunnydale High, more stand alone eps. And Joss is writing the first episode next season.

Also, on Spike's trip to Africa, she explicitly stated that their intention was to show that Spike indeed went soul searching in Africa to be able to give Buffy what she deserves, a lover with a soul.
posted by prolific at 2:07 AM on May 23, 2002


Don't forget, though, that Buffy went to visit Angel this season, after her resurrection

i remember, but the impression i got from it wasn't one of passion or boinkage or lovelornness. they were once in love. they still love each other and all that, but i think both are long over the coupleness part.

also, Angel came to Sunnydale for Joyce's funeral last year.


besides, Angel lervs Cordelia now.

Riley was a joke.

how was Riley a joke? even if he was, he looks so good that i don't mind. we just needed more naked Riley scenes.
posted by tolkhan at 5:58 AM on May 23, 2002


Oh please spare us the naked Riley scenes. He was redundant. Xander with miltary training. A human with government backing who hunts down and kills baddies. I just didn't see how he fit in the Buffy hierarchy. To make it believable that there's little to no media attention or government intervention of Buffy's antics, the big corporate and political entities have to appear incompetent. It's admittedly one of the weaknesses of the show, but Riley & Maggie were just not believable in the Big Picture. Suspension of disbelief and all that. Shame, cuz Lindsey Crouse is a major babe. We needed more naked Maggie scenes. Whatever happened to her anyway? I missed that episode.

grrarrgh00, if you got a decent grade on that thesis, I for one would be interested in reading it.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:55 AM on May 23, 2002


get me some naked Riley scenes and i'll work on getting the naked Maggie for ya.

Maggie was 'skewered by her Frankenstein like creation before the final.' after trying to have Buffy killed, when everyone thought she was gonna be the big bad of season 4, she was talking to her creation, all motherlike, and it stabbed her while her back was turned.
posted by tolkhan at 2:45 PM on May 23, 2002


Maggie was supposed to be the Big Bad of season 4, but apparently the actress renigged, so they had to throw up Adam.

At least that's the rumor. Pity they couldn't make such an excuse for Glory in season 5.
posted by fujikosmurf at 1:31 PM on May 24, 2002


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