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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Grave

Willow: "Is this the master plan? You're going to stop me by telling me you love me?"
Xander: "Well, I was going to walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil, but it seemed kind of cartoony."

Anya said at one point that "no magic or supernatural force can stop her," so of course, it had to be Xander.

Willow was so detached, even referring to herself in the third person; it was Xander (as well as that magical back-door Giles zapped her with) that made her reconnect, and finally cry for both Tara and herself. I should have known it was coming, since Xander kept referring to what a failure he was throughout the entire two-parter. Can Willow recover from this? Let's face it, Warren and Rack are no great loss to the world (Rack is dead, right?) but it won't be easy for Willow to put something like this behind her.

A huge highlight for me was Buffy and Dawn finally connecting, fighting animated corpses back-to-back, and even walking off into the sunrise and the L.A. smog together. Buffy handing her sword to Dawn was a pivotal moment, heralding a major change in their relationship, and it was about time. Dawn has been underutilized and shortchanged as a character this year, and I'm glad they're giving her a chance (probably motivated by Gellar's contract ending next year). And boy, it was way past time for Buffy to shake off her returning-from-the-dead depression; of course, having her do it while crawling out of a hole in the ground in a graveyard was so symbolic it was ridiculous.

Speaking of symbolism, when Giles came in and noticed Buffy's haircut, Anya said, "I'm blonde." She didn't say, "Hey, I'm a demon again." I think Anya has decided that she can't help being a demon, but it isn't what defines her any more. Or something like that. Good for her.

There were many truly wonderful moments here: the training room scene with Giles and Buffy literally doubled over in hysterical laughter; Xander holding a sobbing Willow as the black drained out of her hair; the previously mentioned Buffy handing her sword to Dawn. But what made this episode for me was the last two minutes.

"So you'll give me what I want. Make me what I was so Buffy can get what she deserves." Buffy deserves love, doesn't she? Every single thing Spike said to that demon could be taken two ways, but I honestly think Spike was asking to be dechipped and evil again. How wonderful that he didn't get what he wanted; instead, he got what he needed. It certainly made me happy; I want Spike to complete his journey toward redemption, and now it looks like he might. The test demon said was that he was returning Spike's soul; there were no specifics. Spike could be a vampire with a soul, a human being again, a human/vampire hybrid, or something I haven't even considered. It's going to be a long four months until we find out.

Bits and pieces:

-- Willow zinged Giles about their fight in the kitchen in the episode, "Flooded."

-- Did Giles get contacts? He didn't wear his glasses in this episode.

-- Did the tombstone behind Buffy and Dawn say "Rosen"? Hmmm.

-- I'm going to give Mutant Enemy the benefit of the doubt and ignore the fact that a carpenter saved a Wicca from her evil magicks. Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't a show that sneaks in Christian messages, or I wouldn't be watching it.

Quotes:

Buffy: "Giles, everything's just been so... Xander left Anya at the altar, and Anya's a vengeance demon again. Dawn's a total klepto. Money's been so tight that I've been slinging burgers at the DoubleMeat Palace, and I've been sleeping with Spike."
(Giles bursts into uncontrollable laughter)

Spike, staggering with exhaustion: "Well, that was a bloody doddle and a piece of piss."

Jonathan: "Ow! Son of a bitch!"
Andrew: "Buttwipe."
Jonathan: "I wasn't talking to you."
Andrew: "Oh. Reflex."

First hour a bit weaker than the second, but as a whole, this season ender was a four out of four stakes, a zappy capper to a schizophrenic season,

Billie
---
Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.

11 comments:

  1. You're right, Joss Whedon is not one to support Christianity. Thank God. (Yeah, I know it's contradictory)

    Many people love this season, but I find it very problematic. Some episodes were the best in the series, but many things just don't do for me. Many.

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  2. Did the tombstone behind Buffy and Dawn say "Rosen"? Hmmm.

    It's "Rosene". ;)

    I like this episode and this season as whole. It's flawed, but very good. I love how intimate it is, with no new main characters, only the once cohesive Scooby Gang from season 5 now falling apart.

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  3. Billie, I've been ducking in and out of your Buffy reviews for a while, and whats so fascinating about them is that most of them have been written as they aired, which is pretty rare to find. It must have been amazing to have been a part of the series since 1997. I actually got into it myself back in 2002 (alongside Charmed) during these episodes, the Dark Willow thing drew me in instantly. Though, I was 12 at the time so a lot of the deeper imagery and darkness was lost on me.

    Coincidentally, there's a big Buffy marathon airing on Syfy UK this weekend, the top 20 Buffy episodes hosted my Mr Stewart Head himself. I haven't gotten a chance to see any of his intros or anything, but I've the top 3 set to record. Its nice to see such an event all these years later.

    Argh, random Whedon fanboy outburst, sorry! Great reviews though, I hope to read them all properly when I revisit the series in a few months.

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  4. Don't apologize for a great comment, Panda! These *were* mostly written during the run of the series, starting with "Anne", and I often think of these reviews as my most poorly written because they were my first. In fact, I keep flirting with the idea of rewriting the early ones, and keep coming to the conclusion that I should just leave well enough alone. Your comment made me feel better about my decision to leave well enough alone.

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  5. Yeah, leave them as is I think. If you were to go back, maybe just add it in headed up with "retrospective views", or something?

    But yeah, I'm loving what I've read!

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  6. Season 6 is my favourite; I love Spike, Dark Willow and pretty much everything that's been going on. And yet, I have a problem with the finale, and it's mostly about Giles.
    I don't know, maybe I just never really forgave Giles for leaving, but it feels like him being there is not deserved and just way too neat... A coven in England? Back door magical manipulation? I would have liked to have it resolved differently.

    (I'm doing my own BtVS rewatch now and also came back to your awesome reviews again, so let me take this opportunity and say thanks, I love your site :)

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  7. Thanks so much, Jul. I get what you're saying about Giles. I sort of never forgave him for leaving, either. They so obviously needed him after Joyce died.

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  8. I also wondered what Spike was asking for. It was never clear to me whether he asked for one thing, but got what he really wanted deep down, or if he was asking for a soul all along. Because everything he said could be taken two ways we are left wondering. If he was asking for his soul back so that he could be a man that Buffy could love it's very different than if he wanted to have the chip removed so he could destroy her. I think that by this time even if he got the chip out he wouldn't be able to really kill Buffy because he is in love with her, so maybe he wasn't asking for that in the first place.

    Regarding Giles, it was so great to have him back again! I missed him so much this season and I also never really forgave him for leaving, though back in the training room Buffy seems to acknowledge that maybe it was the right thing.

    Lastly, Xander pissed me off so much this season making stupid decisions and being generally useless. Having him do something actually useful will allow him to gain the confidence he needs to be actually useful to the Scoobies in the future.

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  9. *Sneers unpleasantly like Denethor* Ahhh, I see... a chance for Xander to show his quality...

    >>"Anya said, "I'm blonde." She didn't say, "Hey, I'm a demon again." I think Anya has decided that she can't help being a demon, but it isn't what defines her any more."
    That's definitely reaching, if you ask me lol. I just took it as a cute character moment of jealousy over the palpable love between Watcher and beloved Slayer. Nothing more than that, she would've told him about REJECT HUMANITY RETURN TO DEMON if she thought he'd awkwardly force a positive acknowledgment of that too or be impressed in any way (which he hilariously might've still faked just to not bring the mood down).

    >>"-- Did Giles get contacts? He didn't wear his glasses in this episode."
    He's channeling Wes-Wes! Or no, probably just worried about them getting smashed.

    >>"Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't a show that sneaks in Christian messages, or I wouldn't be watching it"
    Whatchew got against good, clean Christian messages?

    Buffy's laugh-crying at the end must've been the easiest bit of acting from SMG. It totally screams "Thank god, viewers at home, the season's finally over." I feel bad for her, apparently she was doing well enough in her life that she really struggled to relate to Buffy's perpetuating misery. I'm glad she doesn't have to anymore, because her recovery doesn't really feel earned or make any more sense than the period of depression did. I dunno.

    @Anonymous: "[...]though back in the training room Buffy seems to acknowledge that maybe it was the right thing"
    Definitely just writers-fuckery, or Buffy was simply too glad to have him back and that lovely moment they just shared together to give him crap for it just yet. Maybe she'll passive-aggressively ask him if he's leaving again now that the trouble's over.

    Really loved Xander's little barb when Dawn immediately denied what Spike did. Made me all warm inside. I guess it's good that there's at least one person on the writer team who isn't letting it pass through so easily. But I'm ready to memoryhole it with the start of next season. Please, show, don't ever bring that up again, I can't stand seeing fans still somehow bickering over whether it was "RAPE rape." Christ

    So why DID ASH come back? Did his family annoy him? I'm glad that it's apparently all the time he really needed with them because it's good to have him back. And lol hush up about with-holding forgiveness from him. Everyone's happy about his return, sense of entitlement be damned.

    Better than I remember it from my last watch, I could see the aspects that made me so down on it (the whole Giles-dying stuff, the Spike scenes - which I don't oppose, it's just that it was boring to watch and felt like the commercial breaks of the episode) but it was still generally a success. Facing oblivion with your best friend, and the notion of asking her to kill you first so you don't have to see the destruction of the world... I could see exactly how it would get to her, the guilt and shame and love. They should've called the episode My Best Friend if I knew people wouldn't find it cheesy af. But it's earned... it was beauty fool

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  10. Time flies, it's now 2021 and I just found your reviews on this site. I'm re-watching Buffy after never finishing it 20 years ago and have found a new appreciation for it. Watching it and reading your reviews is giving me life. Thanks.

    After finishing this season, I have to say it's my favorite one. It gets dark and depressing and perhaps you need to be in a certain state of mind to relate and appreciate. I'm also not sure what to think about Spike's development. I wonder if there's any other way that they could have moved his character forward and justified him leaving. What they had him do was so disgusting (as I viewer I was disgusted) that it permeates the whole season. Plus, Spike might be evil but not stupid. I feel it's just such a stupid thing to do. It's almost like they broke his character arch, his redemption story. On some level it makes sense, and the show is reminding us that by his nature, redemption is impossible in its current form. It's like the show (or Joss and the writers) is speaking to the viewer, taking the role that Sander takes with Buffy, in reminding us of what Spike really is (in case we forgot). In a way, the show made the right choice in just burning that relationship to the ground, with no return path, with Buffy regaining herself and ending it because of her own behavior, and Spike "ending" it because he can't help to still be soulless. So if a relationship between them grows again, it's from new ground instead of being any type of continuation of what they had.

    Also, I feel like this season probably has the biggest issues with the writing, specially around Buffy, Spike and Riley stuff. But overall, there's a lot of brilliance in it.

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  11. Mandragora, you're very welcome and thank you for your well-thought-out comment. I'm glad you gave Buffy another chance. Season six was absolutely its most controversial, which I'm certain I've said in many other comments. :) Back in the day, we debated the pros and cons of season six endlessly.

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