Buffy Diaries: Thoughts of a First-Time Buffy Viewer by Emma Grant
Summary: I started watching BtVS on DVD in August 2006, and I was immediately hooked. I watched obsessively for months, and I kept a record of my thoughts and predictions, episode by episode starting with season 2. I added in Angel when I started that series, and generally watched both shows in order of when the episodes were aired. Read my reactions to the episodes at the links below. They get longer as I move forward in the series, because I found I had more and more to say!
Categories: Meta, Other writing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Angel (Series) Characters: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 19 Completed: No Word count: 87372 Read: 495395 Published: 08/12/2007 Updated: 08/12/2007
BtVS Season 5; AtS Season 2 , Episodes 18-22 by Emma Grant
Author's Notes:
Episodes 18-22: [BtVS] Intervention, Tough Love, Spiral, The Weight of the World, and The Gift.
[AtS] Dead End, Belonging, Over the Rainbow, Through the Looking Glass, and There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb.
[10/3/06]


BtVS 18: Intervention
[The Scoobies mistake Spike's custom-made romance with his Buffybot for the real thing; Glory's minions kidnap Spike in the belief that he is the Key.]

Now everyone's had a double running about and causing havoc! Even Giles, if you count that first episode Wesley appeared in.

The Buffy robot was actually kind of fun, especially the shots through her eyes looking at Buffy's friends with weird bits of trivia about them. Like Anya's "likes money" and Willow's "gay (1999-present)". I really wanted robot!Buffy to look at Giles and Spike too, just so I could see what would have been in the file for them. And she was programmed to say "Angel's lame", which totally cracked me up. Spike seemed to like his toy, but you could tell he really wanted to pretend it was real, and that it wasn't completely right even for him. Though Spike with messy hair was kind of cute.

Okay, the scene with her riding him in the cemetery? "Oh, Spike, you're the big bad!" How they hell did that get past the censors? Xander's horror at the whole thing was pretty funny. I have to say that it's interesting that of all the sex we've seen on the show, this is only the second instance I can recall that didn't depict the missionary position. The other was Faith/Xander. Isn't that weird?

And Buffy's vision quest tied nicely back into Restless, with the desert and the first slayer. (It wasn't all that remote, though -- you could see a car going by in one shot, off in the distance.) "Love will bring you to your gift" was interesting. I know that the finale for this season is called The Gift, and at this point I have no idea what that might be. Well, the first slayer said "death", but that made about as much sense to me as it did to Buffy. And when Buffy said no, that death was not a gift, she said, "You have your answer". I've been thinking about what that might mean, but I'm really not sure.

Unless... Well, I know Buffy dies sometime between now and OMWF (lots of spoilers there, of course), so maybe that is what it means, that Buffy is going to die and that she'll consider it a gift in the end? Bah, I have no clue. At the rate I'm watching these, though, I should find out what it means by the weekend, so I guess I can be patient. ;-)

I really didn't doubt that Spike would protect Dawn. I just couldn't imagine him spilling that secret, no matter what. I just worried that Buffy wouldn't find out for a long time, which would lead to lots of the sort of angst that I don't like so much.

Buffy's indignant shock that her friends hadn't even suspected robot!Buffy wasn't real was funny. "You guys couldn't tell me apart from a robot?" And this bit, of course, was glorious:

Xander: "No one is judging you. It's understandable. Spike is strong and mysterious and sort of compact, but well-muscled."
Buffy: "I am not having sex with Spike! But I'm starting to think that you might be."

I also found it interesting that Buffy's doppelganger was a robot, because in each case of one of the main characters comig face to face with another version of themselves, the doppelganger revealed something about the character that they hadn't seen in themselves before (and that we hadn't seen, in some cases). Willow's doppelganger was a vampire, which showed that Willow is capable of a lot more dark things than anyone would have guessed. She seems to be moving in that direction now, so I wonder if that was intended to show us (and maybe her) that she was capable of being so dangerous? In addition to that, would Willow have been as open to the idea of a relationship with Tara if she hadn't realized that her vampire self was gay? Xander didn't have a doppelganger so much as he was split into two parts, but it seems that the experience of being very cool and mature in one of those incarnations enabled him to be more that way when he was put back together. But Buffy's doppelganger was a robot, a tool created by another being, whose role was to take orders and carry them out quickly and efficiently. I can't help but wonder if that was intended to show us something about how Buffy feels about being the slayer and not feeling like she has any control over her own destiny. Even though she stood up to the Council a few episodes back, there's an extent to which the slayer really is just a tool, an instrument of TPTB. We didn't see Buffy struggle with this here, but I can't help but wonder if it will come up as the season goes on.

Other fun stuff: The scabby guys being referred to as "hobbits with leprosy"; robot!Buffy telling the real Buffy, "Yes, he's evil, but you should see him naked!" and Buffy looking like she actually thought about it for a second; and the scabby monk guy saying, "We will bring you the limp and bleeding body of Bob Barker!" I am really going to miss those guys when they're gone. They and all of their euphemisms for Glory crack me up!

At the end, when Buffy walked into Spike's crypt dressed as the robot, it was pretty obvious that it was the real Buffy there to get the dirt on what Spike had told Glory, so it was interesting to watch Spike talk to her with his guard down. I don't think he's ever just been that open in front of her (even before she rejected him a few episodes back), and it was all the more amazing because Buffy could see that it wasn't an act. When she kissed him, I was surprised, because she didn't have to, as she was just about to reveal herself. And it wasn't done in a cruel way, either, as a "see what you can't have" thing. It was probably just the only way she could think of to thank him. Of course, it may have been because his lips were the only non-bloody spot free on his face.

The last line was lovely, though, with her basically thanking him for protecting them and saying, "I won't forget it." Did she learn a lesson from the vision quest after all?

One more thing: in the last episode of Angel (last post), Angel told Cordelia that Harmony would turn on her because she's a vampire and that's her nature. When Cordelia said Harmony was her friend, Angel said she wasn't, and reminded Cordelia that Harmony no longer had a soul. And in the end, Angel was right about Harmony. So what does that say about Spike?


~*~*~*~*~

[10/4/06]


A:tS 18: Dead End
[Angel and Lindsey must grudgingly work together when Cordelia's disturbing vision leads the gang to a grotesque Wolfram & Hart body shop where parts are harvested from live humans. Back at Wolfram & Hart, Lilah fumes and frets over the extra attention that her partner's receiving.]

Some seriously slashy moments in this episode. Yep, this one was pretty much all about the Angel/Lindsay.

It was weird that Lindsay got a hand transplant (evil hand!), and also that while he and Angel ultimately freed the spare parts victims, the issue wasn't actually resolved. Well, I suppose they needed a reason for Lindsay to leave W&H, and this was it. I really liked him on the show, though, and I'm not sure why he's leaving. I'm hoping he'll be back, if for no other reason than to fuel my slashy fantasies. I loved that Angel was so jealous of his singing.

Poor Cordelia, struggling with the visions. I wonder where all of that is going. Though I do like the fact that Angel is always the one to catch her when she collapses. I find it really sweet. Oh and this bit melted me:

Cordy: "I love you."
Angel: *smiles*
Cordy: "And you oughta do that more often."

The scene where Lindsay was packing up his truck and Angel was there to say goodbye was fun. I can just imagine a fic about that scene that takes a slightly different path and has the boys say goodbye in another manner altogether. Someone must have written that. And there simply must be a slew of Angel/Lindsay/evilhand fic out there. Right?


~*~*~*~*~


BtVS 19: Tough Love
[While Buffy is preoccupied with being her sister's keeper, Glory sets out to grab the person whom she now believes to be the Key — Tara.]

This episode answered a question I'd been wondering about, which was who actually had custody of Dawn with Joyce gone. I was worried there would be some horrible sort of battle about that, but I suppose that wouldn't have advanced the plot so much. Still, poor Buffy, having to be a parent when she isn't really all that grown up herself. Did she actually earn any credits at school this year? It doesn't seem like it.

As an aside, I couldn't help but notice that Dawn's math textbook was Key Curriculum's Discovering Geometry, which is one of my favorite geometry texts. :-D

Eek, Glory sucked Tara's brain? I didn't see that coming! I'm pretty sure she gets it back eventually, but still, that's horrible. The scene with Dawn crying to Spike about how she's the cause of all of these bad things was interesting. I was intrigued that he reached out to touch her and then drew his hand away again -- I'm not sure why. But later when Buffy insisted that she'd stopped Willow and he told her he would have gone after Glory if Glory had hurt "someone he loved" (and stared at the floor while he said it), I sort of melted a little. I don't know what to make of Spike in a lot of ways, but I really adore him at this point. He's such a grey character, and I think that's amazing.

And Willow really did go on a kamikaze mission, didn't she? She is quite powerful now -- and yet can't manage to de-rat Amy. Will Amy ever be human again? At this point, I'm imagining that happening in the last scene of the very last episode of the show, in season 7. That would be funny.

Poor Tara, having to be spoon-fed and restrained.

And now Glory knows Dawn is the key. Yikes. Well, there's only three more episodes in the season, so it was bound to happen soon. We seem to be about to start hurtling toward the finale. I'm still not sure what the gift is. Well, other than "death", but what does that mean?


~*~*~*~*~

[10/5/06]


A:tS 19: Belonging
[Shaken up when a mystic portal deposits a rather violent Drokken demon at his club, The Host takes news of the unexpected man-eating guest to Angel and company. Their only clue to finding it is Cordelia's vision, which leads them to a library with a missing librarian. Meanwhile, Gunn heads to his old neighborhood to help with a vampire problem, and Cordy's spirits take a hit when her acting gig doesn't go so well.]

The title really nailed the theme of this episode: every single character had to deal either with where they came from and where they are now, along with the resulting alienation. It made for a nice character study in what otherwise seemed like a filler episode. (At least, it felt like a filler episode until the very end.)

Cordelia is still trying to be an actress, but is less and less certain that it's the best path for her, so she's transitioning to finding her herself on a new path. She's not sure where she belongs, and seems to think that the only thing she has to offer Angel et al is the visions. And if she didn't have those, what good would she be? The scene where the director was being a dick to her was stunning, and I'm sure it's completely realistic for an actress. I was glad to see Angel stick up for her, because she needed to hear that she's worth more than that. He seemed a little surprised by how good she looked in a bikini, which was funny. Actually, the bit back in the office when he was telling Wesley and Gunn about it was great: "He's got her wearing this flimsy swimsuit that covers like... nothing." And then they all looked dazed for a moment while they pictured it. You know, I always thought Charisma Carpenter's boobs weren't real, but they sure seem to be.

Wesley's phone conversation with his prick of a father really made me feel for him. He seems to be struggling with his role as the leader of the group. He doesn't seem to be completely confident that he can do it, and I'm wondering how that will play out. I'm imagining he'll either give leadership back to Angel at some point, or he'll be in a situation where he has to rise to the occasion. Or maybe both.

Angel's age came up quite a lot in this episode, which struck me as interesting. I suppose he's isolated himself quite a lot in recent years, but that feeling of just not feeling able to relate to the people around him was quite evident. He's also coming across as desperately wanting to be needed by the group, particularly by Cordelia. It's like he wants to protect her, but mostly wants her to want him to protect her. He hasn't quite cottoned on to the idea that the women in Joss's universe don't need a man to protect them. But what he really wants is for the group to need him again, and there were lots of little moments here where you could see he was feeling like an outsider. The moment with him on the beach set was sweet. And I still want to know where he gets his money. Is that ever revealed on the show? If it is, don't tell me when or even give me a hint as to what it's about, but it's bugging the crap out of me.

Gunn is stuck between two worlds in a way, and not sure about where he really belongs or where he can do the most good. He probably blames himself for his friend's death, when the reality was that there probably wasn't much he could've done to prevent it. But he has to decide where he really belongs, because he probably can't do both. That's a tough moment in life.

And finally Lorne, who seems to have left his own Xena-like dimension because he was "different". That's a big honking metaphor, isn't it? His cousin was funny, though. Joss and his writers seem to have a thing for that Vikingesque dialogue.

And wow, Cordelia winds up in the other dimension! Somehow I think she will team up with the missing Fred and they'll find their way back. I'm wondering if Fred has become some sort of Xena warrior woman in this dimension.

What happened to Darla, by the way? She seems to have disappeared completely, and Angel doesn't seem a bit concerned about it.


~*~*~*~*~


BtVS 20: Spiral
[When Glory finds out who the real key is, Buffy and company flee. Meanwhile, the Knights of Byzantium have their own plans to deal with Dawn.]

Another aptly-named episode. Things are always darkest two episodes before the season finale, and this one is no different. Just as things seem impossibly bleak, something happens to make them look irrevocably doomed. And yet I have faith that our heroes will prevail, somehow.

So Glory can be defeated, apparently. And Ben is not a god but a human, created not unlike Dawn was, to imprison her. And the only way to kill Glory is to kill Ben. Of course, there's also the other option of destroying the key, which would render Glory powerless. So here Buffy is faced with a horrible choice -- one innocent person must die no matter what, so should it be Ben, thus getting rid of the Beast once and for all, or Dawn, thus removing the possibility that the key will ever be used by some other nefarious being to open the gates of hell and end the world as we know it? There are pros and cons either way.

Of course, I happen to know that Dawn is still around for the musical episode, so I have a sense of which one Buffy will choose. Of course, it may not be her choice -- but Joss likes to see her suffer, so I imagine it will be up to her in the end. Then there's that Gift of Death hanging about, of course. Or maybe Ben will see the light and will kill himself, heh. But of course, Glory has Dawn now and there's no telling what's happened. What if the key doesn't work any more because Dawn is human now? That would be too easy an ending, wouldn't it?

Spike really impressed me in this episode. I like the weird friendship that seems to exist between him and Buffy now. She trusts him, and oddly enough she's the only one who does. None of Buffy's friends want him around, but Buffy defends him. That's just fascinating, really, but also scary -- because Spike would die for Buffy, and I think she would let him and not lose much sleep over it. For once, I'm far more worried about Spike getting hurt in all of this than Buffy. It seems that Buffy hasn't told anyone else what she learned about Spike when she was posing as robot!Buffy.

This episode also seemed to be a tribute to westerns, with the whole fight on top of the Winnebago like all those movies where the heroes battle it out on top of the moving train. And I wouldn't be a proper Texan if I didn't notice the resemblance of their holing up in the abandoned gas station to The Alamo. I also couldn't help but notice that it was the women who did the fighting in this episode while the men were in the supporting roles, and were quickly injured and incapacitated.

Poor Giles! I imagine that when this aired people worried he might not make it out of this season alive.

And Buffy's collapse at the end was a long time coming. She's never been pushed that hard, and she's never lost so much in so short a period of time. This makes that trial the Watcher's Council put her through way back in season 3 look like a cake walk. Eeek, what happens next?


~*~*~*~*~

[10/6/06]


A:tS 20: Over the Rainbow
[Cordelia is transported to a dimension where humans are sold into slavery by demons, and the others follow only to be mobbed by angry villagers.]

I think the thing that strikes me the most about this episode is how much Angel is acting like Buffy would here. The situation seems hopeless, and it certainly doesn't seem to be in the interest of the greater good for the whole group to run off to another dimension to save one of their own, but he'll risk everything and do it anyway. That's exactly what Buffy would do in a similar situation.

Poor Cordy, captured, sold as a slave, tortured... and then apparently revered as a god of some sort? I guess I'll find out next episode exactly what she was doing dressed like a Vegas showgirl and sitting on a throne, but it looked pretty interesting.

Wow, the Korean guy from Lost is a lawyer for W&H! And it was funny that the phone psychic friend of Lorne was a real psychic. And they drove Angel's car through the portal -- that was clever. Having the top down seemed like a stupid move, until it became evident that it was a Plot Point.

Aw, Angel can be in the sunlight in Lorne's home dimension. It was sweet to see him so excited about that. (I suppose that was easier for the writers to deal with than having to worry about him burning up in the other dimension.) I wonder if he's still really a vampire? His strength and other abilities seem intact so far.

This march toward the end of the season is so much lighter than what's happening on Buffy that it's nearly jolting. Maybe it won't remain that way, but still.

Fun lines:

Cordy, to her new owner: "I'm not a cow! I'm... an American. I have rights."
Gunn, on xenophobia: "Why they afraid of Xena? I think she's fine."
Angel, on the Tower of London: "It wasn't that bad."

I think my favorite bit was Angel and Wesley pinching each other's cheeks in the car and grinning like schoolboys. That was kind of yummy. And they don't have the book, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they get out of this situation and back to Earth.


~*~*~*~*~


BtVS 21: The Weight of the World
[Willow psychically enters Buffy's subconscious in an effort to reach the Slayer, who has been rendered catatonic by Glory's abduction of Dawn.]

This episode made me think of lot of Restless, I guess because a good chunk of it took place in Buffy's mind. It was also strangely quiet for coming so close to the end of the season. I'm not sure if it's the calm before the storm or if the ending of this season is just going to be quiet and not involve a huge battle.

It's interesting to see the role Spike plays in the group changing over the last two episodes. At the beginning of the previous episode he was a complete pariah to everyone but Buffy, but now they all seem to accept him. I guess it was going to take an experience like the one they all went through in the abandoned gas station in the desert for that to happen. It feels a bit sudden, but I suppose everything is weird right now for all of them with the impossible-to-defeat enemy on the verge of destroying reality as they know it and Buffy basically incapacitated.

And with all that going on, I feel kind of guilty about seeing a ton of Spike/Xander in this episode, you know? There's much more important things to think about, but I'm just sitting here squeeing at all that slashiness. I have to say I loved Spike lighting up in the hospital right in front of the "No smoking" sign, cause that's just so IC. And "This is so going to be worth it" and slapping the back of Xander's head, and then they both grab their heads in pain, simultaneously.

It was interesting that Glory's confusion magic didn't work on Spike. After all, vampires usually aren't excluded from stuff like that on the show. I'm guessing it was convenient for the plot this time? I guess that explains why Dawn didn't say anything about seeing Ben turn into Glory before.

I knew that weird demon looked familiar -- it's Joel Grey! And I wonder what the box Spike and Xander took from him does. And he's not dead, so... hang on... there were three hellgods from Glory's dimension, right? Was he one of them? Hmmm.

I'm not sure what's happening with Ben, and I'm a little confused as to why he would trust that Glory won't just kill him in the end.

Willow was great in this episode. It was nice to see her standing up and taking charge, and then bringing Buffy back. Her being in Buffy's mind and trying to get her unstuck was interesting. It was also interesting that Buffy seemed to know that she was going to have to kill Dawn, and she was retreating from reality so she wouldn't have to face it. Of course, I know that Dawn is still around in the next season, so clearly there must be a way around it.

I had a weird thought while watching this about what's happening over on Angel -- those guys are stuck in another dimension with no way to get back, and if Glory is successful, the barriers between dimensions start to break down. This is probably far-fetched, but I'm starting to wonder if that might actually be a way that Angel and the gang can get back to their reality. Of course, I was wrong about Fred being all Xena-like in the other dimension, so this is probably pretty far off-base too. I seem to keep looking for opportunities for crossovers between the two shows, don't I?


~*~*~*~*~

[10/7/06]


A:tS 21: Through the Looking Glass
[Angel and friends work overtime to survive in a foreign dimension. Cordelia discovers her dirty duty as Princess of Pylea is to mate with a creature called the Groosalugg. She's unable to escape the palace with Wesley and Gunn, and the priests keeping watch over her also prove to be less than trustworthy.]

Wow, so many highs and lows of emotions here. This episode almost contains the entire range of emotions that I've ever felt watching this series, which is pretty amazing.

There were moments so funny I thought I was going to hurt myself laughing, like Lorne's relatives being hillbillies; his mother looking more like his father and his father not being visible at all; his cousin Numfar doing the ridiculous Dances of Joy and Honor (Edit: perseph tells me that Numfar was played by Joss himself! Clip here); and Lorne's voice being such a horrible sound that his relatives fell to the ground in pain, writhing and screaming "It burns!" LOL, and Angel seeing his reflection and being so enamored of himself that he couldn't stop staring, and then obsessing about his hair until he had to be dragged away from the mirror -- that just killed me. I love how vain and shallow he can be at times, and I swear it's part of what makes him so charming as a character. He's just enough of a storybook Prince Charming in that way, and it's such an adorable character flaw. Cordelia stealing treasure from the castle as they were trying to escape; finding out she was going to have to mate with some demon; "What is it about me? Do I put out some kind of komm shuck me vibe?"; and her demon mate turning out to be a hot Hercules look-alike hunk. The comedy in all of those scenes was fantastically done.

And then on the other side, Angel being separated into human and demon so distinctly that he became literally a monster, and then was so horrified by what he saw in his reflection that it shut him down. And now he doesn't want to continue, because he can't face what he really is. He was just as incapacitated at the end of this episode as Buffy was at the beginning of the last, but he doesn't have anyone who can pull him back like she did. I'm not sure if Fred is going to be able to help him, but she may be the only one who is available. Though at the end, she seemed more interested in keeping him for herself than in helping him pull himself together and get back out to fight with his friends.

And uh... under what circumstances has Wesley spent so much time staring at Angel's bare back that he can recognize Angel's tattoo on sight, in a split second, on a completely unfamiliar body and in the heat of battle like that? o_0 It's kind of odd. I'm just sayin'.

And there's some connection between this place and W&H, as seemed to be shown by the books (cleverly, "Wolf, Ram, and Hart"). But if what Holland told Angel was right when they were on the elevator to hell, W&H is everywhere, because they represent the evil that exists in the universe. It makes sense that they would be in this dimension too, and I'm betting that they're those weird covenent guys whose faces we haven't really seen yet. I guess Angel didn't tell Wesley about what he learned from Holland, did he?

Cordelia's actions seem to have resulted in Lorne's death, which was a dark way to end the episode. I can only assume he's really dead, which is horrible because I really loved that character. I suppose it was a way to show the characters and the viewers that despite all earlier humor, this is a dangerous place, and very bad things will indeed happen there.

Are they really going to pull it all together and get back home in the final episode?


~*~*~*~*~

[10/8/06]



Thoughts before watching both season finales: I've actually been putting off watching these. I could have watched them last night, but I'm starting to feel like it's all going too fast, and I want more time to think before I find out what happens. I'm also apprehensive about both of these episodes coming up. Based on the way things have been going this season, I don't have that sense of excitement about finding how they are going to wrap up all of the plot lines, defeat the baddies, and end on a hopeful note, like I did in the other seasons. Because deep down, I'm not sure I believe that's what will happen here. I think there will be some resolution, but I'm not sure everything will be resolved, and I'm guessing some things will be resolved in ways that make everyone's lives worse.

So I don't have such a good feeling about this at the moment, and I'm almost dreading finding out what "the gift" means, and who else is going to die, and how Angel is going to pull it together again, and everything. I still have a suspicion that Buffy is going to die here and that it won't be as simple to bring her back as it was back in season 1.

Well, on the bright side, I won't have to wait four months to find out what happens next, will I?


BtVS 22: The Gift
[Buffy must square off against a true god when Glory prepares to use Dawn to break down the walls between the dimensions and unleash Hell on Earth.]

Oh, boy. So I was right about the dying part.

The moment she said, "Dawn is made of me", I knew that was what was going to have to happen. That, and the fact that everyone in the episode had a chance to say goodbye to Buffy and make their amends in whatever way they needed to. And she got to say hers as well, and in the end she really seemed at peace with what she had to do. The ending, when they were all staring at her body and it was starting to sink in that she was dead -- that was sort of beautiful to watch. From Giles's stunned disbelief to Spike's disintegration into sobs, with the voiceover of Buffy's goodbye over the music, it was all beautiful. And then ending with a shot of the tombstone, wow.

Maybe this isn't killing me like it should, because I know she isn't going to stay dead. But I can't help but wonder what people thought when they watched this when it aired. Did they know the show would be back for a sixth season? Did people think Buffy was dead for good?

It was interesting how this episode tied in so many things that happened over the season, with the glowing orb thingie from back at the beginning playing a role, Tara's Glory-induced madness and Willow's zeal to cure it becoming important, and even the Buffy robot being a crucial part of the plan.

It was also great to see Spike get reinvited to Buffy's house and that he got to tell her that he loved her even though he knew she wouldn't love him back. Of course, now I'm worried that he said that to the Buffy robot and not the real Buffy. Could the robot have invited him in, though? And is it just me, or are they making Spike look cuter every episode? He's always looked a bit rough and wiry, but in the last couple of episodes they seem to have softened him a bit. His make-up isn't as harsh and his hair is messier and not so plastic-looking, and he looks weirdly younger than he has before. Overall, he just seems more human, for lack of a better word. When he was standing on Buffy's doorstep, he almost looked like he did as William, sitting on the couch all those years ago, professing his love to a woman who was about to reject him. Was that meant to be a parallel? The apprehensive look on his face was the same, and then it melted away into something almost boyishly happy when Buffy said, "Come in, Spike." And when he said, "I know I'm a monster, but you treat me like a man", I wanted to hug him. I really hope that was the real Buffy. I think it had to be. Joss doesn't seem to twist the knife like that, even when he could.

Another interesting Spike note was when he was on the tower defending Dawn and Doc asked him why he was doing this, saying, "I don't smell a whiff of a soul about you. Why do you care?" I'm really, really curious to see that question answered. It was also interesting that this was the first episode where Spike was completely a part of the team, and no one questioned that at all. They all trusted him. How did Buffy talk to Spike at the end, to tell him to go up the tower? It sounded like she was talking through the pipes and he could just hear her because his hearing is better than the humans', but I wasn't sure if it was meant to be anything more than that. Either way, it was very cool that he was the only person who could help at that point, and he didn't even think -- he just went, and he was prepared to die to do what Buffy asked him to do.

And oh, Xander, proposing to Anya. I knew they got engaged at some point (because that's in OMWF), but it was a total surprise to me that he proposed to her then. I lovelovelove them together. I think they're the one couple in this series that I really, really want to work out so badly that I will feel betrayed if it doesn't.

I was so, so glad that Giles stepped in to kill Ben. There aren't enough words to express how relieved I was that he did that, because it had to be done and Buffy was never going to do it. That sort of moral ambiguity is really interesting. And that brings me around to yet another of the big themes here, that it took all of them to fight this battle. They all had a role to play, and everyone contributed something significant.

And Willow brought Tara back, which also made me cry. I was crying at a lot of things here, but probably not for the right reasons.

I guess that brings me back around to the ending, to the last shot. I loved the epitath: "She saved the world a lot". So now, how are they going to bring her back?


~*~*~*~*~


A:tS 22: There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
[Angel, Cordelia, Wesley, Gunn and the Host find getting out of the foreign dimension to be increasingly complicated. Figurehead princess Cordy is trapped in the palace by the ill-intentioned priest Silas, who is also responsible for the Host's recent beheading.]

This finale seemed somehow anticlimatic after the Buffy finale. Everything seemed to get resolved much more easily than I expected it to, especially Angel's freak-out over seeing what his demon really looked like. That had shut him down at the end of the last episode, but he got over it fairly quickly here. Maybe it isn't over yet, but it seemed like it was too easy.

I was SO glad that Lorne isn't really dead. How strange that decapitation doesn't kill him. It seems to kill almost everything else.

Wesley really shone in this episode. I love how he can rise to the occasion and take charge, even though he only seems able to do it when Angel isn't there. He was nearly ruthless in this episode, and it made me think quite a lot about Giles in the last Buffy episode. He knew some sacrifices had to be made, and he knew that some people wouldn't be comfortable with it, so he just assumed that responsibility. He even lied to Angel because he had to, because he knew Angel would be too afraid of himself otherwise. It was also interesting to me that the only person he let see what he was doing was Gunn.

I loved Cordelia in this episode. She seems to dredge up strength from places you didn't know existed at times, and this was one of those times. She had a chance to lose the visions, and she said no -- they're part of her now, and she sees them more as a gift than a curse. I thought that was a big moment for her. I cheered when she cut off the priest's head and then freed all the slaves and completely reorganized the government, leaving the dim-witted Grooselugg in charge. Somehow, I think she'll continue getting mileage out of the whole princess thing for a while. I also loved Gunn explaining the complexities of race relations to a bunch of people who really didn't have a clue what he was talking about.

And then they got back with relatively little trouble, Lorne back in one piece, and having rescued Fred to boot. It seemed like it had all been too easy. But then, of course, there was Willow waiting for them, and it was almost a relief to know that someone came to tell them Buffy was dead. It had been weird to see them off fighting in some other dimension for the last couple of episodes, and that brought them right back down to earth again, back to the reality of the world they work in every day.


~*~*~*~*~


Wow, and that was the end of season 5! I can't believe I only have two seasons of Buffy left to watch. *wibbles*
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