Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Buffy Rewatch Week 44

6.20 Villains
6.21 Two to Go
6.22 Grave

Follow along in Bite Me, pp. 306-310.

If you're watching Angel, this week's episodes are:

3.20 A New World
3.21 Benediction
3.22 Tomorrow

Follow along in Once Bitten, pp. 238-245.

Whew. That was a hell of an ending, wasn't it? Death, destruction, betrayal... but enough about Angel, let's move over to Buffy!

Season 6 was a dark and complicated one, a season that began with Buffy crawling out of her own grave into a world of confusion and darkness, and ended with Buffy crawling out of a grave into a world of light and hope. The arc that we saw her follow was a little troubled and clumsy at times, but the point was made, and I thought Gellar handled the role beautifully throughout the season.

There wasn't a Big Bad this year, per se, more an Annoying Bad with an eleventh inning Devastating Bad. The Troika appeared at the beginning of the season, then disappeared, then returned near the end, then were dealt with, and then Willow rose up and became the force that had to be defeated. But it wasn't Willow herself who had to be defeated -- it was the darkness inside her that had to be vanquished. The same darkness that followed Buffy every day she had to live in a world with memories of Heaven still dancing in her head; the same darkness that caused Xander to lose faith in himself and leave Anya at the altar; the same darkness that drove Anya back to being a vengeance demon; the same darkness that pushed Spike to a brink where he committed an atrocious act against Buffy; the same darkness that caused Dawn to become a whiny little klepto, but one who just wanted her sister to be HAPPY to be back. The same darkness that led to the death of our beloved Tara.

The darkness is living in this world. Buffy says to Dawn at the end of S5, "The hardest thing about this world, is to live in it." And yes, sometimes life can be a sonofabitch. It throws curveballs, it makes us question who we are, and who the people around us are, and what our purpose is, and why we're even bothering. But it can also be beautiful and hopeful and glorious. The Scoobies are all falling apart, but Xander will never stop loving Willow. Giles will always be there for Buffy. Willow's rage was driven by her love for Tara, and it was Xander's love back to her that saved her -- and the world -- in the end.

Yes, Xander saved the world. Damn, that just has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

I have a lot more to say about the end of season 6, and so, I'll do so in the following video podcast. This week I'm joined by Robert Thompson, who is the author of Always Fresh: The Untold Story of Tim Hortons (yes, the very Tim Hortons I've been telling every American Slayage person they must stop by when they're here next year!), which is the biography of Ron Joyce, the company's co-founder. Formerly a business writer for the National Post, one of Canada's two national newspapers, he's now one of the top golf writers in the country, a Golf Digest course ranker as well as freelancer and the golf columnist for Sympatico. While at the Post he began a series of articles where he would golf with some of the country's top politicians and CEOs and write about them, their game, and the course they were playing. He later turned those columns into an excellent book. He's also formerly the Canadian correspondent to Billboard magazine (where he'd hobknob with Feist and golf with Alex Lifeson).

But MOST importantly, he's my husband! So before I discuss anything with you guys, chances are I've already had a long discussion with him. Rob's known for talking a LOT, talking over people, dominating conversations, and it's because of that that I've become the effusive talker that I am. But as you'll see in the video podcast, he was rather quiet until I prompted him (I'm used to him jumping in and the two of us having big discussions, which is what happens in the middle when we get onto the topic of Xander) so I realize I look like the talker who doesn't let the other guy get a word in edgewise. But trust me, at the dinner table it's very different. ;)

I will warn everyone who plans to watch The Wire that he's put a spoiler in there... I have no idea how to take it out without wrecking the video, so I've left it in. I hope you'll still watch it. It's almost 18 minutes long, so set aside some time to watch! And enjoy!

Next week: We begin the final season! I can't believe we're already here. I'll be joined by Elizabeth Rambo as we discuss the last (televisual) season of BtVS.

7.1 Lessons
7.2 Beneath You
7.3 Same Time, Same Place

And if you're watching Angel, we begin S4, sadly my least favourite season (what is with me and Buffyverse fourth seasons?). The episodes will be:

4.1 Deep Down
4.2 Ground Slate
4.3 The House Always Wins


Marebabe said...

I usually spread out my viewing over 4 or 5 days when I have 6 episodes to get through in a week for this rewatch. And I usually take them in the order they were first seen, Buffy-Angel-Buffy-Angel, etc. But I was feeling more than a little impatient to find out how these intense stories would be resolved, so I watched all 3 Buffy episodes in one sitting on Wednesday evening, and all 3 Angel episodes on Thursday evening. And I must say that I felt much more satisfied with the way Buffy S6 concluded, compared to how Angel S3 left us with multiple cliffhangers and a STACK of questions. The frustration and confusion level I’m experiencing is right up there with how I felt at the end of “The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Incident” on LOST. I’m glad to know that I’ll get to dig into the new seasons of Buffy and Angel in just a few days. More on Angel later. But first, Buffy!

At the beginning of “Villains”, at first I thought it was strange that Xander failed to notice the blood-spatters all over Willow. But then I realized that he was in shock over Buffy being shot, so it’s no wonder.

I kept admiring the excellent special effects in this episode – the dark magic books smoothly flying off the shelves, the lines of text flowing from the books into Willow, and that bullet hovering in mid-air. I gave them a pass on the fact that the bullet wasn’t at all misshapen, which would’ve been much more realistic. (That’s how bullets do so much damage. They spread out on impact.) That brand-new, perfect bullet just looked so pretty, hanging in the air. It somehow went with Willow’s dreamy, creepy voice as she was talking about it. *shivers*

Warren went to Rack to get some magic that he could use to withstand Willow’s powerful attack. Was that the ability to transfer some of his essence to the Warren-bot so that Willow would follow IT? If ALL of Warren’s essence went into the decoy, wouldn’t the real Warren have been dead? Was it just a question of percentages, making sure that the decoy had more of Warren’s mojo, so it would have a stronger signal, so to speak? I guess I’m confused on this point. At least it delayed Willow catching up to him.

How did Clem, a demon, get to be so sweet? I hope he sticks around.

In “Two to Go”, I felt bad for Xander, when Anya teleported out, and then Buffy ran off in search of Willow. Not only was he left alone, but he was feeling very useless (again). Then later on, when he rolled up in a cop car at a VERY opportune moment, I felt like cheering. He wanted so badly to contribute, and he finally got to. I thought that his character had gotten his full portion of redemption right then. Little did I know...

Marebabe said...

I never thought I’d see Buffy and Willow fighting! That was all kinds of wrong, and quite freaky.

I’m so very, very glad that Giles’ sudden appearance was a complete, stunning surprise to me. I loved it. And even more surprising in “Grave” was the POWER he wielded! (And didn’t he look elegant and altogether fabulous tossing spells around! What fun that must’ve been for Anthony Head!) Of course, we’d never seen even the smallest hint that Giles could do magic, so I was pretty confused, even while I enjoyed the heck out of it. I was mighty glad when Giles explained fully about the coven in England.

Another thing that was unexpected, which I absolutely loved, was the huge giggle fit with Giles and Buffy. I’ve heard that laughing on cue is a much harder acting job than crying, by all accounts. So, bravo, Sarah and Anthony!

Nikki, remember during the LOST rewatch, when we got to the episode where Nikki and Paulo were buried alive, you posted a bunch of pictures of people laughing their butts off, because they were so happy to be rid of N & P. And you included stills from “Grave”, with Giles and Buffy laughing. I’ve been wondering when we would see that. (There’s only one season of Buffy left, not counting the comics.) And here it is, breaking the tension in an extremely grim story. That was truly an inspired choice on the part of the writers.

I’ll repeat what I posted on Bookface last Wednesday night. I. Love. Xander. More than I ever realized. Every lapse and failing and screw-up of his entire life was totally made-up-for by his courage and love for his dear friend. And that reminds me, I could have so easily been spoiled on major plot points simply by reading some of the liner notes on my DVDs before watching the finale. I happened to glance at the tiny, little blurb for “Grave” as I was putting the disc back in the case after finishing the season. In one sentence, they mentioned Giles, and the fact that Willow’s reign of terror would end because of “her oldest friend”. I’m so glad I didn’t look at that before watching!

Marebabe said...

I really only have two main questions going into S7 of Buffy. I’m wondering how everyone, especially Willow, will be able to get over the terrible stuff that happened and move on with their lives. And what is Spike going to do, now that his soul has been restored? He wanted it very badly, judging by the extreme trials he endured. He was going on about how he was going to destroy the Slayer, or something, calling her a bitch (NOT in a nice way). The OTHER vampire-with-a-soul with whom I am acquainted is Angel, Mister “We help the helpless”. I know, I know. In the fullness of time, all will be revealed. I think that if we didn’t have a schedule to follow with this rewatch, I would probably have the marathon-to-end-all-marathons and watch ALL of Buffy S7 in a single weekend.

OK. Angel. It sure felt like we were saying goodbye to both Cordelia and Lorne. I hope not. It feels like Wesley has been damaged beyond repair. I hope not. I totally don’t know what to make of Connor and Justine. I don’t want Angel’s beloved son to be evil. Sure, he’s been brought up believing lies, but can he ever be persuaded that his Father loves him and is worthy of trust? And it’s a given that Angel will somehow be rescued from his sinking coffin, but it’s beyond me how they’ll pull that one off. The only thing I really liked in the baffling final minutes of “Tomorrow” was the visual symmetry. As Cordelia was ascending in a beam of light, Angel was sinking, at the exact same speed, into the watery depths. It looked elegant, but I didn’t like either thing that was happening.

Marebabe said...

Wonderful podcast, you two! And, Nikki, you were so right about the middle part, when you were discussing Xander. Loved it! Thanks for the lively and entertaining discussion. Watching you when you really got on a roll, it felt like we were all sitting around your kitchen table, and I could chime in whenever I wanted. I think the fact that you were mostly echoing my sentiments contributed greatly to that “live and in person” illusion. I also felt like I was getting to know you even better, and it was a fabulous introduction to your husband. Thank you, Robert, for so generously sharing your insights. Now, I think I’ll watch that again! :)

Page48 said...

I wanted to kill Warren myself, but Willow beat me to it. My only beef is that she didn't torture him for a full episode (or a spin-off series) before polishing him off. Not enough pain for Warren.

Willow is the most powerful wicca in the whole wiccaverse, but Anya not only beats her to the jail, she pops up inside A & J's cell. Willow, on the other hand, gets there late and has to methodically tear down the jailhouse wall and then float up to the cell.(Anya: 1, Willow: no score)

Xander trying to extract unwarranted sympathy from Anya. DRY UP, Xand-man, you're embarrassing yourself. Hell, you're embarrassing ME.

Thankfully, Anya explains to us, the home viewers, that Giles teleported his Ripper self to Sunnydale. I thought he might have come over on the Concorde like Phil Collins at Live-Aid.

Buffy wants to show Kleptodawniac the world, but as far as we know, Buffy's whole world is the Sunnydale/LA corridor. Buffy's begins showig Dawn the world by showing her the flowers at the cemetery?

Did Giles's glasses get lost in teleportation? I know it happens, but to Giles?

A & J are unable to escape while walking behind the bickering Xander and Dawn.

Spike's body hasn't taken a shit-kicking like that since his Glory days.

Clem is a junk food connoisseur. I love that in a floppy-eared demon.

Xander saves the world in spite of being a jackass.

Great finish to the season and shocking the first time around when I thought all I had to look forward to was the Troika getting bitch-slapped in a two-part finale.

The Question Mark said...

If there's one thing I noticed about these current seasons of Buffy & Angel, it's that the writers really made us hate the villains. Warren, Holtz, Justine...I wanted all of them to get their butts handed to them on a silver platter. And while Warren did get his just deserts, Holtz and Justine actually WON, which was mega-sad.

With Buffy Season 6 taking such a depressing turn, I'm really hoping that the final season closes the show on a much more uplifting note; possibly even trating us to one final goodbye with characters from the past like Faith and Oz. We've come to love the Scooby gang so much, it'd be nice to see their story end on a positive note.

The world of Angel is what really has me humming & hawing. Cordy's disappearance reminds me of Ramona Flowers from "Scott Pilgrim". I hope she comes back soon. And the same goes for Lorne, who is easily my favourite Buffyverse character of all. I wanted to be Lorne for Halloween this year, but I couldn't afford the buckets of green make-up I'd need! :P

@ NIKKI: I feel the same way about Connor that you do about Dawn; I think he's a whiny little usurper who's causing nothing but trouble, and I hope someone (preferably Lorne or Gunn) smacks some sense into him real fast. LoL

Lisa(until further notice) said...

As to the argument re. Spike and if he did indeed intend to get his sould back or his chip taken out, I think that he intended to get his soul back. All that talk was certainly tough, but what he meant by it was that she'll get what she deserves...who he was before. William. With a soul. So she can't keep taunting him about being an evil "thing". She'll have to pay him some notice now. Up to now, she's used the evil, soulless argument. That will no longer fly.

On another note, Spike discovered this season that he was actually able to hurt Buffy, even with the chip in tact, so I assume he could kill her if he wanted to. Why go through all the trouble with the trial to get the chip out? He wants Buffy, and he hopes that regaining his soul with be the key.

I love the ambiguous way in which it was written. I think it was brilliant. It certainly made for a surprise ending.

Colleen/redeem147 said...

You see Willow's power when she's talking to Osiris - no rituals (or urn) just demands. And that goes for all the magic she does in these episodes. BTW - Osiris has fangs - is he the god of the vampires? It fits with his mythology (back from the dead, impotent- okay, Buffy vampires not so much.)

Buffy and Tara have identical wounds. Perhaps Willow should have called 911.

A little story about my niece- she dressed as Dark Willow a few years ago, and no one knew who she was. The poor kid got back from trick or treating and was sitting dejectedly on her dad's steps - when a guy came by and said "Hi, Dark Willow." That really made her Halloween. :)

It's probably best that Dawn stays with Clem for a bit. She's been through major trauma by staying with Tara's body, and for once I think Buffy is right. Spike has a VHS?

There's ambiguity in his statements (of course he's angry. She is a bitch and he thinks getting his soul back is the only way he can deal with the chip, but it's not what he wants to want.) but in the end, when he says, "Make me what I was so BUFFY can get what she deserves" I knew what he was really there for. Besides, he could have ripped her head off any time if that's what he wanted.

Hey look - a cubic snitch.

Buffy says, "Willow has an addictive personality." That's pretty straightforward.

I wonder what would have happened if Andrew had asked for vengeance for Warren. And why doesn't Anya slip into her much more powerful demon face?

I am amused that Spike calls the demon he's fighting an action figure - when Spike IS an action figure (many actually.)

Willow kills Rack. Human #2.

Willow has become pure id.

Xander is such an ass. I know he's being set up to make the end with Willow even more effective when he comes out heroic, but he lost a lot of fans in this season. He also has a lot of nerve talking about what happened in the bathroom when he wasn't there and is guessing - but he does remember trying to rape Buffy himself.

I wonder how closely Joss was monitoring things. Buffy says that if she was gone another would have taken her place. Not how it works now.

Spike is covered with scarabs - a life symbol.

Why is there a Tekwar book in the magic shop? You can clearly see Shatner's name on the cover.

Willow is at the point that if Tara was there to stop her she would have killed her.

Is it a good idea to build a cemetery on a cave system?

I love the scenes with Giles and Anya. No wonder there were so many shippers. (Okay, I may have been one of them, there may be fanfic, not saying...)

I think I cry in the scene with Willow and Xander because he's been such a loser that his heroism is even more effective.

The last scenes are about being selfless, when Willow has been totally self-absorbed. Xander puts the world ahead of his own life, Buffy wants to give the world to Dawn, Spike goes through the trials to give Buffy what she deserves - how appropriate to play Prayer of St. Francis which is all about being selfless. And of course, every time Sarah M sings a vampire gets his soul.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

Speaking of fast travel, or "teleporting," anybody else watching Ringer? If you are, you'll know what I'm talking about re. tonight's episode.

Nurse Brian said...

Epic "makeshift-man-witch-Watcher" versus "flay-my-enemies-Wicca" battle... BEGIN!

I was telling Marebabe about this last week when I heard she blazed through the last three episodes, but the "fillet-a-la-Warren" scene was definitely a "...whoa" moment for me when the episode first aired. Also, I remember my mouth getting super itchy when Willow sewed Warren's flapper shut.

Did I cheer when he went all epidermis-impaired? DEFINITELY. But the fact it came from Willow was crazy.

RE: A de-spectacled Giles - Maybe they were going for "badass" here. Also, I figured it'd be easier to animate the magic without his glasses (especially the Lime Jell-O burp, hehe).

Also to respond to Marebabe and The Question Mark, and not to be spoilery, the unanswered questions for the Buffy/Angel season finales will definitely be wrapped up in the first episode or two.

@The Question Mark: I won't spoil anything for you, but there is definitely some "comeuppance getting" in store for some characters in the Angel Season 4 premiere! ;)

In terms of next week, I'm going to agree with Nikki that Angel Season 4 is my least favorite. However, I will say that there are some great episodes, one being in next week's lineup - "The House Always Wins".

Nurse Brian said...

@Colleen/redeem147: haha, I totally filled my house with laughter when I noticed the Shatner book!

Christina B said...

I didn't get to see Grave the first time I watched Buffy, so this was a wonderful week for me.
Because of some programming glitch, the channel that was airing BtVS earlier this year skipped right over Grave and went from Two to Go right to the season 7 premiere.
So I had to figure out what happened myself from the 'previously on'.

I love Xander. I've always loved Xander. After Spike, he's my favourite character. It was so wonderful to finally see him save the world. It's been a long time coming.

Angel...I'm sorry but, WTF?!
I'm just confused and disappointed.
Is Cordy and angel now? Did she go to heaven?
Is Lorne gone? Off the show completely?
Where did poor Groo go? I really liked him and my heart broke for the poor guy. Is he just wandering the world alone now?

After a really great season, I just feel really let down by these last 3 episodes.
And now I'm worried if you all say season 4 is the worst season! :(

Efthymia said...

Before anything else, just how adorable is Clem? I think he's one of the fastest-loved characters ever (and deservedly so).

"It was an accident."?! Seriously?! Even I, non-powerful & non-dark, would flay the guy!
I love the scene when Katrina appears: it is the final strong evidence that Warren is a blatant misogynist (a. "Make 'it' shut up!", b. talking about having murdered her after having lost control over her, which is actually the case in relationships in which men abuse their partners; most women are murdred when they've actually left the abuser.)
It's obvious that Warren doesn't believe/realise he was wrong, he's just admitting to it to appease Willow; I'm not saying that Willow was right in doing what she did, I'm just saying I get why she wasn't appeased.

"Two To Go":
Poor Xander must feel so frustrated, being the one who cares about Willow the most but being able to do the least (until the end, that is).
This is why I like Jonathan in spite of everything: he knows he's at fault (and later he actually dismisses Andrew's suggestion that they escape, saying they should go to jail and pay for their crime. I believe the reason he leaves with Andrew eventually is because he believes that he's lost his protector -Buffy falling in the ground-, so it's either escape or death-by-Dark-Willow for him).
"I can't believe that was Willow. I mean, I've known her almost as long as you guys. Willow was... you know." -speaking for the viewers? Definitely speaking for me.
"We'll all be a lot happier without listening to the constant whining." -OK, now they're DEFINITELY speaking for the viewers!
Giles is back! =D And kicking ass! Oh, how I've missed him...

It's good that Anya's unconscious during all the wrecking and burning of The Magic Box -the pain she would be in! (she does come back to her senses and has to witness it, of course, but she has to worry about Giles more).
To me it's once again obvious that what Willow is addicted to is power, not magic itself.
"No, you're not!" -Of course you're not dying Giles! If you die, I'll kill you! (or, I'll send a very angry letter to the writer who decided to off you...)
But, thankfully, he did indeed not die. :)
The whole "I was hoping taking the powers would do that" and "Love saves, and is the strongest weapon" is SO HarryPotter-y!
Even though I can't accept Willow's evolution this entire season, I have to admit it made for a great season finale. I think I cry more in this episode than I do in "The Gift". Friendship stories always get to me more than any other kind of story (far more than love stories, for sure).
Again with the Harry Potter reference, Xander is like Ron: he seems useless, but he's not really, and the story wouldn't be the same without him, and they perform an act of such bravery that you can't help but love them even more.

Efthymia said...

Regarding this season's Big Bad: Some believe it's Dark Willow, some believe it's the Trio, or just Warren, Joss Whedon says it's life; and even though Joss Whedon is the one who actually knows what he's talking about, I can't accept that life is a bad. The fact that all the Scoobies make stupid/bad choices doesn't make it life's fault. So, personally, I'm sticking to my "Warren is the Big Bad" theory. I explained last week why I consider him the evilest, and it's because of him that Dark Willow emerged in the first place.

I remember after watching BtVS for the first time that I kept reading/hearing that many people didn't like Season 6 because of it's darkness, and I don't get it. Why is Season 6 darker than Season 4, for example, where the Scoobies kind of fall apart and don't communicate enough, Oz leaves and Willow is heartbroken and when he returns we suffer through him realising he hasn't really cured his condition and Willow having to make a very difficult choice, the Parker incident, people who seemed to be helpful good guys aren't really (the Initiative), Giles is purposeless, the first Slayer tries to kill everyone in their sleep...
My feelings for seasons 6 and 7 have nothing to do with their darkness -I 've never even considered Season 7 as dark, to be honest; I really like Season 6 (despite its lack of Giles), and I don't quite like Season 7 (although, thankfully, the final 5 or so episodes are pretty great, so the show ended on a high mark for me), but it all has to do with what's happening during theses seasons, what characters they have and some individual episodes.

And although I've chosen not to comment on "Angel", since I'm not rewatching it, I just need to say something about Connor; the other annoying teenager who shouldn't exist in the first place. He and Dawn should get married and run far far far far far away together.

Missy said...


I feel the same way Re:S4's in this 'verse.(Dislike both season arcs)
But they have some of the best standalone episodes of both series.

Willow's on the Warpath...and EVERYONES is in her way.
I cheered when she flayed Warren(and yes his demise should have taken episodes AND MORE TORTURE),I also jumped when he shoved an axe in her back(I was 12.Lol).

"Strawbery..What on this earth do you want?"
"Just to take a little tour"
When Willow KILLS Rack ,You know she's willing to do whatever it takes to STOP feeling(anything).

I've never understood the Xander is a Jerk mentality.
Sure he doesn't express himself well and makes poor choices..but he NEVER does it intentionally.
(Unlike some characters)

CLEM!Is such a sweetheart,So much so he's willing to put up with Dawn.

"I just ... I've had blood on my hands all day.Blood from people I love" Xander

Soo Dawn now knows about the AR,Way to go Xander(though he does have a point The Summers women really do have a blind spot when it comes to Spike)

One of my fav scenes is the sequence that starts with Dawn confronting Willow at Racks and ends well basically when Giles reappears.

one of my least fav because it's sooo upsetting is Dawn's first reaction to Tara's dead body & Buffy and Xander arriving back at the Summers house to find Dawn in the Bedroom with Tara.

Oh Andrew and Jonathan...thats a helluva pickle you've gotten yourselves into.(and I mean the truck ride down to Mexico/Me-hi-co)
I still like Jonathan too..it's really hard not to just feel bad for him..he's a victim of Peer Pressure.
He really should learn to stand on his own though.

I adore Anya in this trio of eps..and her sheer unwillingness to believe that Giles is dying.Too cute.
And Spike gets his Soul back!
With all that this season ended on you'd think S7 would be awesome..a comeback for everyone involved..turns out not so much.

I'm still looking forward to it.
(just for the newbies reactions to some specific things)

Missy said...


Connor meets Sunny(A Drug Addict)
And then cuts off her dealers ear because he made fun of his shammies.Lol
It's funny..whats not funny is Sunny OD'ing.
Connor is such a victim of circumstance..everything is against him.
And he's sooo easily manipulated.
Soo Holtz is DEAD!
And it's upto Justine to convince Connor to sink Angel to the bottom of the Pacific..even though Connor has really connected with Angel(And Justine is annoyed with Holtz for not filling Connor in on the whole Utah plan.)

Lilah & Wesley sitting in a tree K I S S I N G.

Sayonara Groo..take care out there pal.

PLEASE Lorne don't leave.Ignore Gripe-y Connor.WE LOVE YOU!!!

Skips back with a Job Upgrade for Cordy...just as she realizes she LOVES Angel(& visa versa).

I loooooove CATS Fred.Lol

Dusk said...

During the wedding I wanted to yell to Xander "Rise Above Them!" the whole time. At least he can stick around for Willow.

Part of the Dawn problem is that take out the stealing and the only thing that really changes is the Sweet story. She stalled for the whole season. DW calling her out also loses some meaning as we know her taunts to Giles aren't something normal Willow would say, her ones to Buffy are just a re-hash of what we already knew, and she doesn't really taunt the rest, so her impression on Dawn is limited.

Buffy does have an ego, sometimes shehates being the Slayer, but now she uses it to act superior before the throwdown. There is more to this idea coming.

Did anyone else find Willow vs. Giles anticlimatic. He's there as the surprise of Two to Go, then a slight power struggle before her eyes go black as the music swells into the intro music...and she stopped in two seconds. Later she drops Anya, effortlessly shocks Buffy out of the way, is hurled through a brick wall...cut to the nerds and Xander and Dawn walking. I know a lot of the budget went to the musical but it was still a letdown.

Given Connor's history and conditioning with Holz it's not surprising who he believed. Connor is clearly not right in the mind, this will become a huge factor in how you feel about him coming up. Also, his power level is never really clear he brushes past Gunn and Groo and holds his own against Angel the first time, but the Angel can pin him so easily? Just confusing. He is stronger then a normal human though.

I too have major issues with this Season 4. Season 7 is not my favorite, I don't see it as dark like 6, and its story is better then Angel's 4th, but certain elements in it were mostly to the detriment of things fans love IMO. I also feel a certain aspect from 6 wasn't carried well over at all.

Dusk said...

And another comment on the magic=drugs, Willow said "I need power" just before her hair turned black. Not "Guess I better get a little high."

Also, I believe even Holz knew how far he fell, just asking to be sent to hell, and Angel does come back to the surface, so Holz doesn't get what he wanted.

Quarks said...

Like all season finales of ‘Buffy’, this week’s episodes were fantastic. It’s heart-breaking to see Willow as the Big Bad for the finale, but it’s a great, emotional plot and it’s clear why Tara’s death was necessary. Nothing else would have sent Willow over the edge and back into the magicks.

One great thing about this finale was that Xander saved the day. I like Xander more and more as the series progresses; I wasn’t a fan of him for the first few seasons, but in Season 5 and 6 he grows on me. He still annoys me at times, like in ‘Hell’s Bells’, but we can see here how much he has grown.

And it’s also great that it was their friendship that was able to bring out the humanity in Willow. This is a finale which is much more about friendship than relationships; all the characters’ relationships are in ruins, but their friendship is able to survive all the problems and bring Willow back to us.

The plot with Willow here has various similarities to the Angelus plot from Season 2. Just like there, you have a good person who for some reason (in Angel’s case the loss of his soul; in Willow’s case Tara’s death and the magicks) loses all their humanity. They almost become a different person in the same body, but really they are the same person with all their good things stripped away and their bad qualities amplified. Back in ‘The Replacement’ we saw Xander get hit with something that made his personality separate; I think that if it had hit Willow instead she probably would have been split into Dark Willow and the Willow from around Season 3 or 4, before she started using too much magic.

Quarks said...


Although it is heart-breaking to see Willow as Dark Willow, she does have some great lines in these episodes:

BUFFY: Will, back off before somebody gets hurt.
WILLOW: How 'bout I back off right after?

WILLOW: Oh, Buffy. You really need to have every square inch of your ass kicked.

WILLOW: Uh oh, Daddy’s home. I’m in wicked trouble now.

WILLOW: (To Buffy) You're always saving everyone. It's kinda pesky.

I also love the conversation Dark Willow and Buffy have at Rack’s place towards the end of ‘Two to Go’. When Dark Willow says ‘The only thing Willow was good for… the only thing I had going for me, were the moments… just moments, when Tara would look at me and I was wonderful’ it would almost be sweet, if she wasn’t trying to kill her friends.

Notice that as the series goes on, the finales get ‘longer’. Back in Season 1, the finale was just one episode (‘Prophecy Girl’), in Seasons 2, 3 and 4 it was two episodes (‘Becoming, Parts 1 & 2’; ‘Graduation Day, Parts 1 & 2’; ‘The Yoko Factor’ & ‘Primeval’ (not including ‘Restless’)) and in Season 5 and 6 it’s three or four episodes (‘Spiral’, ‘The Weight of the World’, ‘The Gift’, along with arguably ‘Tough Love’; ‘Villains’, ‘Two to Go’, ‘Grave’, along with arguably ‘Seeing Red’). Without giving too much away, this trend will continue into the final season.

My only slight complaint with this finale is that because of all the excitement with Dark Willow we never really get a chance to mourn Tara, and by the end of ‘Grave’ we’ve almost forgotten that it was Tara’s death that sparked this whole chain of events. Also, linked with this, it means that whenever Willow looks back on what happened here, such as when she is crying at the end of the episode, it’s not clear which is the predominant emotion: grief for Tara’s death or guilt over what she did for Warren. But that’s just a personal complaint, and it doesn’t take away from this amazing finale.

Now, we’re moving on to Season 7, which I must admit isn’t one of my favourite seasons for reasons I’ll explain when we get there. That’s not to say it isn’t good, indeed it contains some of my favourite ‘Buffy’ episodes, but in my opinion it doesn’t match up to previous seasons. But more on that next week.

I’ll also quickly say something about ‘Angel’. I haven’t been rewatching ‘Angel’ for a variety of reasons, but it is one of my favourite shows, just below ‘Buffy’ and ‘Lost’ (and possibly ‘Pushing Daisies’, which I have fallen in love with again as I rewatch it). My favourite season of the show has to be Season 5, although I do really like Season 3 as well (which, coincidentally, is exactly the same as for ‘Buffy’). As for Season 4, there are some bits I like (especially an arc involving the return of a certain character) and some bits I don’t.

Joan Crawford said...

You guys are cute! That Rock-n-Roller guy had no chance against Rob's dimple ;)

Your hair looks great!

Marebabe said...

@Question Mark: I’ll second your nomination for an uplifting and positive series finale. All in favor... ?

To disguise yourself as Lorne, you wouldn’t just need green paint. You’d need some very good prosthetics, plus a really festive wardrobe. Personally myself, I’m thinkin’ it would be SOOOO worth the expense and the time spent in the makeup chair!

Suzanne said...

I haven't time this week to write a thoughtful post about the episodes, but I wanted to be sure to thank you and your hubby, Nikki, for the delightful video post. My hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This finale is amazing and it had me on the edge of my seat again just like the first time. But, I really hate seeing Willow go dark. I adore her and especially love the Willow that she is always so embarrased about having been in these later seasons. It is hard for me to understand why she looks back on that period with so much shame given all the cool ways she was able to use her gifts to help the gang. Not to mention Oz saw how special she was. Tara wasn't the only one. For that matter, Buffy saw it too which is why she chose Willow as her, friend, not Cordelia. I understand that she was made fun of, but they seem to be turning her into Jonathon 2 here which she wasn't after Buffy came to town.

Evil Blam said...

When did Harry Potter get new glasses, eh, and why is that man looking on so disapprovingly?

VW: The fact that you wear a mock turtleneck does not mean you are beholden to bitterness or sarcasm.

Blam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blam said...

I'd like to remind everyone to not blame me for anything Evil Blam says.

Your haircut looks great, Nikki, and the vidcast was lots of fun.

So much about the end of Season 6 of Buffy is thrilling, intriguing, and of course heartbreaking, but I really hate what it does to Willow. I've decided that Dark Willow isn't Willow, exactly, or at least is that sad, base, vengeful part of humanity that exists within all of us totally unchecked by what is good — and in Willow, there's a whole heap of good, which means that the black magicks, the power, has corrupted her to a quite literally insane degree. Willow isn't bereft of fault, yet the bad things done by Dark Willow after Tara's death are her responsibility only by dint of her having knocked down the dominoes that led to them, by her indulging in the power early on and letting it consume her. Maybe it's rationalization; I frame it this way, however, not just because I'm too fond of "early Willow" but because I'm not sure how believable it is even given the tragedy she's endured and the long-held insecurities that it unleashed for the character we knew to have gone through this arc without the power itself having some kind of culpability in... distorting her. And through no fault or even awareness of her own, Willow happened to be a woman with terribly strong innate potential, which Tara, Giles, and Rack all realized. I don't know how much of such a perspective (if any) the writers might have intended, but given how many small inconsistencies fans have to overlook and/or explain away — and given that just a few episodes ago they basically asked fans to choose to believe that everything we'd experienced on the series to date was not just a figment of the main character's "real" self's psychosis — well, I get to have it that the key ingredient in Dark Willow's makeup is a viral component of the magicks rather than something inherent in Willow herself.

I love that effect in "Villains" as Willow lets the pages do the walking through her wicca fingers. And the moment that she turns into Willow the Misogynist Flayer is one hell of a shock. But I was kind-of surprised when she showed up in a room at Stevenson Hall; I thought that Willow and Tara had totally moved off campus into Joyce's — which, upon consideration, opens up the question of where Tara lived after she broke up with Willow, so maybe that's what the dorm room is supposed to be.

While I can't really quote it, one of my favorite lines comes in "Two to Go" when Anya starts intoning "hickory-dickory... bumpity-thumpity... Gabourey Sidibe...".

The return of Giles [cue Jon Stewart's falsetto] rocks. So does the subsequent reunion in "Grave" between him and Buffy as she catches him up on what everyone's lives have become, except for the brilliant idea of going into the back room and leaving Willow unattended with Anya.

VW: dowbat — Nocturnal creature that haunts Wall Street.

Blam said...

@#$%in' Blogger. It's a dang good thing I compose offline first.

Quick break for some favorite dialogue...

Andrew: "I miss Ferris Matthew. Broadway Matthew — I find him cold."

Spike: "Well, I ate a decorator once; maybe something stuck."

Anya: "Thanks for coming. It was good of you to teleport all this way."

Angel: "Hey, uh... Anybody get the number of that bus?" [For those not watching Angel I shall helpfully point out that there was an actual bus involved.]

Fred: "Looks like we've been following Angel's son's emissions the whole time."
Gunn: "Now there's a sentence I don't ever need to hear again."

Groo: "Might I further relive you by at first gently and then more rapidly rubbing your shlugti?"

Lilah: "Don't be thinking about me when I'm gone."
Wesley: "I wasn't thinking about you when you were here."
Me: "Oh, snap!"

VW: jacklow — A resounding howl made by the younger Dr. Shephard. ex. "We have to go back!"

Blam said...

Groo finally picked up sarcasm in time to employ it before hitting the road at the end of Angel Season 3. I never warmed up to him.

The writers didn't do much (or anything) with the fact that as a baby Connor was calmed by Angel's vampire face after the idea was introduced, but watching these episodes I still expect a twist along those lines with adult (well, baby-faced young man) Connor/Steven. Yet instead the kid is repulsed, about which I have a spoilery comment that I shall post over in the appropriate comments section.

While Nikki was not kind to it in her book, I liked the slo-mo fight at the start of "A New World" (except for the terrible CGI on the stakes thrown at Angel). Maybe that's because I took it less as being showy and more as giving us a chance to take in everything that was happening to everyone involved in such a few quick seconds. The blocking and choreography really drew me in, as it did when Angel and Connor fought side-by-side later.

The wrinkles that the aged Holtz shows up with in "Benediction" (okay, actually in the final scene of the previous episode) reminded me of Sahjahn, and had we not seen Sahjahn put on a human face in previous episodes — and especially had we not had Holtz bite it (or more properly have Justine make it look like he was bitten) in this episode — I would have been wondering if Holtz would evolve into Sahjahn, making a neat loop as he'd be responsible for bringing his younger self into the present day of the series and explaining why Sahjahn had such a hate on for Angel even though Angel didn't know why. Yeah, I realize that the actors/characters' voices don't match at all, but Angel lost his Irish brogue after centuries, so who's to say that after untold years and untold trips through spacetime Holtz/Sahjahn wouldn't somehow develop a case of Brooklynese. Which reminds me that I've never asked here if anyone else thinks that Keith Szarabajka as Holtz looks and sounds like Nathan Lane doing an impression of Anthony Hopkins' impassively flat, nasal voice in The Silence of the Lambs.

I get a kick out Fred asking "Where'd everybody go?" in "Tomorrow". Ascending to a higher realm, dropping into the watery abyss in chains, hoofing it to Las Vegas...

Blam said...

Colleen: A little story about my niece ...

That was awesome.

Colleen: Spike has a VHS?

Of course! He has to tape Passions.

Colleen: Why is there a Tekwar book in the magic shop? You can clearly see Shatner's name on the cover.

I totally noticed that and was really weirded out.

Colleen: Xander puts the world ahead of his own life,

"I'm begging you, Will. Please kick off your Death-to-Everyone World Tour by killing me first! I've been trying to die like this since that bomb in the boiler room of Sunnydale High."

"... What?"

"Nobody else remembers it because you-all were up in the library averting another apocalypse, but, trust me, there was a whole thing."

Colleen: And of course, every time Sarah M sings a vampire gets his soul.


Lisa(UFN): [A]nybody else watching Ringer?

I gave up on it a little bit into the third episode, when I realized that there was other stuff on the DVR that I wanted to see more. So far this season has been brutal; I'm consistently at least a week behind on almost all of my shows and losing lots of ground on those I put on the back burner early on.

Quarks: it would almost be sweet, if she wasn’t trying to kill her friends

Ha! And true...

Quarks: Notice that as the series goes on, the finales get ‘longer’. ... Without giving too much away, this trend will continue into the final season.

This is a great observation, and, yes, I guess it's better not to say anything too spoilery even about the framework, but Season 7 got very serialized as it progressed.

VW: reckfib — An untruth told without heed to consequences.

Quarks said...

@Nikki: Are there any plans to include the Season 8 comics in the rewatch after Season 7 finishes? I vaguely remember a post indicating that you intended to post something about them, but I wasn't sure if you were going to include them as part of the rewatch (perhaps simultaneously with 'Angel' Season 5).

Marebabe said...

Hey, Nikki! If the answer is Yes concerning the Buffy S8 comics, I’d like plenty of notice, please, so I can acquire them. Also, I have no idea where to get them. I’ve been ordering the Buffy and Angel DVDs from Amazon all this year. Would they have the comics?

Colleen/redeem147 said...

The writers didn't do much (or anything) with the fact that as a baby Connor was calmed by Angel's vampire face after the idea was introduced, but watching these episodes I still expect a twist along those lines with adult (well, baby-faced young man) Connor/Steven. Yet instead the kid is repulsed, about which I have a spoilery comment that I shall post over in the appropriate comments section.

Apparently, when I was a baby I liked to eat eggs. Things change.

Buffy comics:

Season 8 at amazon.ca

Dusk said...

Nikki, should we wait until Angel season 5 has a chance, and then talk about the Buffy and Angel titles in the general forum?

Marebabe said...

@Colleen: Thanks for the lead!

Blam said...

Marebabe — You can also find all of the collections except the last one for 40% off right now at Things from Another World (www.tfaw.com). Here's a link. If that doesn't work, just go to the website and search for "Buffy Season Eight Vol" without the quotes; the "Vol" will ensure that you only get the softcover collections and not the individual issues. There are regularly coupon codes to enter at checkout for discounts and/or free shipping; currently, you get free shipping for domestic orders over $50 with "DARK" or "FDS50" and $5 off international orders with "HORSE". A pre-holidays sale is coming later this month that might bring even better deals.

Blam said...

Colleen: when I was a baby I liked to eat eggs

I'm not saying that there's no valid explanation for the repulsion. I'm saying that it would have been good (better) writing for Angel to have remarked on the change and particularly interesting — from my perspective — for there to have been an instinctive moment of recognition from Connor of the vamp face even if he did ultimately reject it since the plot kinda necessitated him doing so.

Blam said...

I haven't read IDW's Angel: After the Fall stuff at all — and probably won't unless I can borrow it from a friend or the library due to budget concerns. Does anyone here want to recommend it in a non-spoilery way ("Yes! Must get! Trust me!"), or am I good to just read the plot points online at some wiki? I gather that at least a cursory knowledge of that material is helpful before reading the Dark Horse Buffy stuff that follows Season Eight.

Dusk said...

Check down in the spoiler fourm Blam.

Marebabe said...

@Blam: Thanks for the info. 40% off does sound irresistible, but I'm rather counting on Cyber Monday (the Monday following Thanksgiving) to find some really ridiculous sales. From this moment on, my radar is UP!

Earlier today, I looked at some sample pages from the first Buffy comic (on Amazon). The art is gorgeous, far better than I ever expected. I've pretty much decided to get into the comics, whether or not Nikki does a structured thingy here on her blog. More Buffy! :)