AtS 18: Double or Nothing
[Angel puts his soul on the line when a repo man comes to collect on Gunn's past deal to sell his soul. Meanwhile, Cordy is back from vacation and tries to console Angel over the loss of the only child he will ever have, and Fred tells Wesley that the prophecy was a fake and all was lost for nothing.]
Someone always has to be in mortal peril, don't they? There's never just an episode where they sit around and have fun together. Maybe that stuff happens between episodes, and since it's the boring part that doesn't advance the plot, we don't really get to see it.
I have to say that having Cordelia back felt like a tremendous relief. I hadn't realized the extent to which she anchors the show, but man, having her walk through that door was amazing. She seems to be the only one who can bring Angel back to reality, who can ground him in any way. Without her there, things went haywire, and she stepped through the door and it felt like it would all be all right somehow. Of course, Cordy being back meant that it was time for Angel to start to accept that Connor was really gone. It was like it wasn't going to be real to him until Cordy looked him in the eye and acknowledged it, sort of like how Buffy didn't realize Joyce was dead until she had to face Giles. Cordy just sitting with Angel was so touching, and it was exactly what he needed. He just needed someone to be there and not say anything. She knew what not to say, and sometimes that's the most important thing of all.
I really like Groo, and not just because I think he's Connor. (Though I definitely watched the scenes with him and Angel together very closely.) The way he talks is hilarious, and I love how he's trying so hard to be helpful. He's incredibly sweet and innocent, and he only wants to help. I love that about him. He had some great lines like, "Hail to you, potential client!" and "It is good that he [Gunn] has such a fine woman [Fred] to take care of his weapon." (Lorne: *snort* "I'm not touching that one!") and how he didn't know that the business card the demon left behind was important.
It was interesting that Gunn had sold his soul to a demon to buy his truck. The choice of "Gangster's Paradise" in the background of that scene was a little over the top, but the lyrics actually fit the situation pretty well. I love me some Fred/Gunn -- oh, yes, I do. And of course, they got Gunn out of it in the end, which was interesting. The whole "selling your soul" thing is such a big part of mythology, and so I liked the way it was turned on its head here. It wasn't something set in stone at all, but was just another demon to be slain. I also liked the fact that in the end, the crowd turned on the demon, so Angel and the gang didn't even have to finish the job.
I loved the implication that Cordy and Angel had a plan all along that no one else knew about, and they used the whole "What happens if Angel loses his soul?" issue to cover it up. It was the only way to get a weapon close to the demon, and very smart. I suppose you could also look at it from the perspective that it really was worth gambling his soul to keep his family together. They're all he has, and he's reminded of it even more now than before.
So what's going to happen to Wesley? I'm not sure what's coming next for him.
BtVS 18: Entropy
[Anya, secretly a demon again, attempts to get vengeance on Xander but fails. She finds comfort by sleeping with Spike, but the Geek Trio's cameras reveal the tryst to the gang. Meanwhile, Willow and Tara arrange a coffee date.]
The title of this one was really intriguing to me, because I thought the writers must have been trying to make a statement with it. So I've been playing around with the idea of the cast of the show (Scoobies + Anya, Dawn, Spike, and the Trio) as being a sort of closed system, with its own brand of entropy. And what might that sort of perspective tell us about what happened in this episode?
My layman's interpretation of entropy is connected to the second law of thermodynamics, and though this isn't exactly precise, the idea is that in a closed system (meaning energy is neither added nor deleted) the total amount of energy will spread itself out over time under certain temperature conditions. One big consequence is that the flow of energy only goes in one direction without the addition of energy to the system. The classic example is that something hot cools down in a cool environment. It takes a lot more energy for something cold to cool off a hot environment -- energy has to be added to the system in order for that to happen, and that happens through work, which adds heat (which is one reason why your air conditioner has to vented to the outside). You sometimes see this paraphrased as "heat cannot of itself pass from a colder to a hotter body".
So here's my weird interpretation: this has to do with Spike and the impact he's able to have on his environment. Sure, it's cheesy, but he definitely is cold-blooded while everyone around him is warm-blooded. Spike alone can't seem to have much of an impact on people. Buffy can brush him aside without much trouble, yet she has had a tremendous impact on him. Even in this episode, where he has sex with Anya, he's dismissed. He's just a tool for others to use, and he doesn't have much of an effect on the system. Everyone else, on the other hand, has had a great impact on him. It's clear that he's "warmed up" through contact from all of them. He's changed -- he said it himself at the beginning of the episode, and I'm not sure they believe him, but it's true. They've effected him greatly, but he hasn't really had such a big effect on them.
So Anya's a demon again, but no one seems to know it except for Hallie. It was kind of funny that she was trying to get everyone to make a horrible wish about Xander, and then none of them would. Dawn even told her flat out that she wasn't going to say "wish" again while there were vengeance demons lurking about. Anya and Spike getting drunk together and commiserating was hilarious because they've totally done it before. But this time, they were both desperate and would up getting physical. That was interesting to me on a lot of levels: (1) they're the only non-human regulars on the show, and it seems like it ought to have happened before. (2) Who hasn't been in that situation, where you're pissed off at someone who's left you or doesn't notice you and you hook up with someone just because you can (and often, because you're really drunk)? I certainly have. (3) It just happened to be caught on video and everyone saw it, emphasizing in a very painful way that the sexuality of the non-human characters is something that catches everyone by surprise. It was funny that the scoobies were trying to uncover all the video feeds just as fast as the Trio was trying to shut them down, and then suddenly, they all stopped to watch Anya and Spike getting it on. If it had been Xander and Anya, would they have stopped to gawk?
I was glad that Buffy finally told someone though. It seemed that Willow figured it out just like she figured out way back when that Buffy had slept with Angel. It was fitting that Buffy told Dawn, because Dawn is her sister and theoretically the closest person to her.
Oh, but Xander. When Xander went off on Spike, calling him every name Buffy had ever called him, it was almost like Buffy was seeing a mirror held up to herself. She heard how horrible those things were and how vicious they sounded, and then she heard Xander say that someone who would stoop to sleep with someone like Spike was no better. The look on her face was part guilt and part shock, like she'd never thought it through until that moment. She'd had so much faith that her friends would understand, and that they'd see her as above Spike somehow, and not on the same level as him. But when Xander lit into Anya, you could tell that for Buffy, it was all about her. I was surprised that Spike was the one who said something in the end -- I really thought Buffy would be the one to do it.
And aw, Tara and Willow seem to be back together now! I can't help but wonder if Tara is making a mistake in trusting Willow again so soon.
AtS 19: The Price
[Angel must pay for using powerful dark magic in his failed attempt to bring back his son, and the hotel becomes infected with deadly slug-like creatures who invade Fred's body, leaving Wesley as Gunn's only hope to turn to save her. Meanwhile, Cordelia experiences a new and shocking power and they learn of the coming of The Destroyer determined to kill Angel.]
All right, so Groo isn't Connor. Damn. But Connor seems to be back, and it doesn't seem to be a good thing. Eeek! I can't wait to see what happens next!
Oh, but let me talk about this episode first. The shrimp things completely grossed me out. Shrimp kind of weird me out anyway, but ones that possess you and suck all the moisture out of your body? *shudders* It seems like the spell Angel cast is going to have more unintended consequences.
Cordy's vision of Angel being tossed across the floor hasn't seemed to come to pass yet. Maybe I missed it, but I sure didn't see it. I'm assuming that's still to come.
I have yet to figure out the politics of W&H. They have to protect Angel and torment him at the same time. It's like he has carte blanche with them in a lot of ways, yet they'll eventually collect that debt. I can't believe I'm rooting for Lilah in the Lilah/Gavin rivalry. Yeow. I love all the bizarre shit W&H folks do, though. Lilah having to use some magic tarantula to type the password to an email was pretty crazy.
It's odd that there is an entire wing of the Hyperion that no one has been into yet. And a ballroom? Whoa. That's a lot of space not to have spent any time in. I wonder if we'll be seeing more of that. And wow, there are kitchens down below.
It was good to see Gunn go to Wesley, but a little weird that Wesley was so hostile. Doesn't he understand why they're pissed at him? You'd think he'd get that, but he was nearly ready to let Fred die out of spite. I do have to admit he's really hot with a beard, though. And I usually don't go for the beard thing. Stubble yes, but actual facial hair, no.
I wasn't quite sure what happened to Cordy, but it seemed like something that might come in handy later. And aw, Groo is feeling insecure about his relationship with her. Poor guy. I really like him, but I have a feeling he's not going to be around much longer. He and Cordy seem to be bickering a little bit. When he confronted Cordy about what he perceived as her feelings for Angel, she sure didn't do much to reassure him.
So is Connor "The Destroyer", or was it that creature we saw? I'm inclined to think the former. And I'm now thinking that Holtz's plan all along may have been to raise Connor to go back and kill Angel. Ouch. The kid's only been gone for a week or so in Angel's dimension, and now he looks to be about 15. This is going to be interesting!
BtVS 19: Seeing Red
[Willow and Tara reconcile. Warren acquires a pair of demonic orbs that imbue him with strength and invulnerability, and he faces off with Buffy but loses. He comes back with a gun, and shoots both Buffy and Tara.]
Whoa... That shift in momentum is always a bit heady as things start happening to propel the show toward the end of the season. Wow. A lot happened in this episode. That stuff I said about entropy for the last episode makes a lot of sense to me now, because an awful lot of energy is about to get dumped into the system as things get revved up.
Spike: I was wondering when he would finally, really hit bottom. It seemed like he was falling more and more, but I didn't realize until this episode that he didn't get it. He said in the previous episode that he doesn't hurt Buffy, and that should have been a big red flag. But I totally missed it. And I think that's interesting, because everyone else missed it too -- everyone but, ironically, Xander. Even Spike thought he wasn't capable of hurting Buffy because he loves her, but because his chip doesn't affect his actions towards her, he is entirely capable. And it took something like this for him to realize it. I was surprised that Buffy had as hard a time fighting him off as she did, but it needed to be that way, I guess. It was interesting that he wasn't the one who stopped it -- she finally shoved him off. It was sort of horrifying to think that he would have actually raped her, and he seemed pretty stunned by that as well.
His confusion afterwards was pretty interesting, because it wasn't the same self-loathing that he's been feeling. It was almost an epiphany about himself, a realization that he really is just a soulless thing like everyone has been saying. His words were quite powerful there, that he's neither a monster nor a man -- and so he's left with nothing. It's worse than being a vampire, and that's quite interesting. At the end, I think we were meant to think he was going to go and get his chip out once and for all, but it can't be that simple. I have a feeling that he's about to embark on something much more difficult than that chipectomy he's been wanting for two years now.
Willow and Tara: Gah, I should have known that all that happiness couldn't last. It was great to see them have their glorious happy few days together, and it was sweet to see Dawn so excited about them getting back together. I really didn't see that one coming, but I suppose that was the point. They were well on their way to a happy ending and boom, Warren walks in and starts shooting. The saddest thing about that is that he wasn't shooting for Tara at all -- she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So at this point, I'm going to guess that Buffy survives (she's going to come back for the last season, after all, and they won't bring her back from the dead again) and Tara dies, even though it isn't clear at the end of the episode. Tara looked like she got shot through the heart -- and she got to have such a perfect couple of days, which seems to be a blinking neon "death is approaching quickly" sign on this show. Willow really seemed to lose it there at the end, and I have no idea if that's a good thing or a bad thing.
Xander and Anya: I thought it was interesting that they both wound up in bars telling their bizzare stories to complete strangers. And it was kind of funny that Anya is so self-absorbed that she can't even manage to be a vengeance demon at the moment. No one knows she's a demon again, do they? I was pissed at Xander for being such a twat to Buffy about the Spike thing for most of this episode, and then I realized that he was right all along -- and he was the only one who could see it. *sigh*
The Trio: Still crack me up, though they're definitely dangerous. I loved Andrew's crush on Warren, because it really explains why he would stay loyal to someone who is so obviously evil. I also loved the fact that Jonathan helped Buffy in the end. I was really hoping he would! But Warren, dude -- Warren is far more evil than anyone could have known, and it's interesting that he's capable of some pretty heinous shit. It's actually interesting to compare him to Spike, since Warren seems to be in possession of a soul and is far more dangerous than Spike ever was. And wow, does he ever have issues with women.
Let the ride begin. I'm hanging onto my sunglasses and I'm strapped in tight!
AtS 20: A New World
[Mere months after Angel's infant son was carried off to a virtually unreachable Hell dimension, the heartbroken vampire's prayers are answered...sort of.]
I loved the way this opened with slow motion fighting -- it was an interesting choice, and it made me think about that classic sci-fi thing of the hero being able to slow down his perception of time so that he can handle everything that's being thrown at him. In this case, literally.
So wow, that was Connor? How cool! I'm not terribly disappointed my theory about Groo was wrong, because this is actually so much cooler!
I think it's hilarious that Connor not only went from being an infant to being a teenager overnight, but became the worst kind of teenager -- angry, rebellious, defiant, and impulsive. Granted, this kid has a good excuse, having grown up in hell. But still, it was pretty funny. It seem to be quite a statement about parenting. It's also interesting that he seems to be quite a lot like Angel. He's strong and skilled, and he has a protective streak that can get him in trouble. When he's protecting people, he seems to lose his moral compass a bit (and I do believe Connor has one, considering that Holtz raised him -- albeit a bit warped). He has good intentions, but with a bit of a scary twist. And when he and Angel were having it out in the crack house, it seemed like the point was to show them as being very much alike. Angel seemed to fall into the role of strict father rather easily.
The scene with the (extraordinarily perky) drug addict was fun. I felt like a but of a perv, but I think that was the intention. I mean, they did have the kid strip down naked and then get kissed by a girl. I was disappointed that stopped when it did. I'm not sure why she stopped kissing him to go shoot up, especially since she made it sound like she was going to go pop in a diaphragm or something. And then she dies of an overdose, ouch. That seemed a bit over the top preachy for this show, actually.
So at this point, I'm wondering who "the Destroyer" is meant to be. Connor said he was looking for his father, but he seemed to mean Holtz and not Angel. And whoa, what happened to Holtz? Did he turn into some sort of demon to survive? It seems that we're meant to think he spent the last 16 years or so preparing Connor to kill Angel, but I'm not yet convinced that's what's going on. And LOL, when I first saw him I thought it was Sahjhan at first. I keep waiting for him to pop up. I just doubt we've seen the last of Sahjhan, and we still don't know why he considers Angel his mortal enemy. I mean, there's the whole thing about Connor growing up to kill him, but I don't think that's enough.
The tension seems to be mounting between Groo and Cordy. He's even learned to be sarcastic, which is kind of funny. I don't know how that will end, but I imagine not so well. And aw, Cordy was his first? That's unbearably sweet.
And poor Wesley is still holing up in his apartment. Interesting that W&H made a play for him -- or at least, Lilah did. It was also quite fascinating that she labeled him as the "Judas" of the group, and that he really seemed to think about it. I do think he was wrong not to tell anyone what he was doing Wesley is very smart and very strong, but he can also be incredibly arrogant. The single biggest message of both of these shows seems to be that friends and family are the most important thing you've got in the world, and the characters who forget that even for a moment are the ones who suffer.
BtVS 20: Villains
[Tara's sudden death pushes Willow over the edge. After magically saving Buffy from her own wounds, Willow — consumed by anger and dark magic — hunts down Warren and tortures and kills him.]
So we've been gearing up for Warren to be the big bad of the season, and with just two episodes to go, Willow dispatches of him. That makes me think that we've been intentionally distracted, and that the real danger all along has been the possibility of losing Willow. As I said just above, the message of the show really seems to be about sticking together and protecting each other, and here is a case where Willow has lost sight of that completely. I'm assuming that Buffy and Xander can find a way to bring her back, but I'm not sure how. It seems like she's gone off the deep end, and Riley's wife ominously told us that people don't come back from that.
It also struck me as really odd that she left Tara's body on the floor to go exact her revenge. That doesn't seem the act of a person in love, somehow. It seems callous to do that, and then not even to bother to tell anyone else that Tara was dead until she had to. The fact that she left her there for Dawn to find was fairly stunning, actually.
I have to admit I was kind of thrilled to see that misogynist twat Warren get his come-uppence from a witch. Heh. At least up until the part where she started torturing him. And when she said "Bored now" and skinned him alive, my jaw fell open, because the message seemed to be that she's now become just as evil as her vampire alter ego. And wow, so powerful. I like the fact that there is a big emphasis on that power having a price, though.
That said, it was still fun to see Warren running scared through most of the episode, I have to say. First, the vamps in Willy's bar laugh at him and anticipate the Slayer ripping him a new one, and then that crazy crackhouse wizard (Rack?) was getting a contact high from all the rage Willow was projecting about Warren. Putting a robot of himself on the bus was clever -- though I have to wonder what Warren was doing with a robot of himself. I mean, all of the other robots he created were for very specific purposes.
The conversation between Buffy, Xander, and Dawn about what to do about Warren was interesting. Xander seemed to be saying that Warren was no better than a vampire and deserved whatever Buffy could do to him, while Buffy showed the most spine she has in a long time by standing her ground and saying no -- dishing out justice to humans is not her jurisdiction. It was an interesting conversation about the morality of being the Slayer, and it felt different than Buffy's earlier self-torment about being a killer at heart. Her power may come from a dark place, but as long as she doesn't overstep her bounds, she seems to be able to keep herself balanced.
And how the hell did Spike get all the way to Africa that fast? The demon he confronted in the cave seemed to have different intentions than Spike, I fear. These trials that he's talked about sound pretty interesting, and somehow I think a chipectomy is not what's waiting for Spike at the end. I have a suspicion that he's going to wind up with a soul, whether that's what he went there for or not. It would be an interesting step for his character to take -- simply getting his chip out would just send him right back to where he was at the beginning of season 4.
AtS 21: Benediction
[ After a violent reunion, Angel finds himself battling vampires with his now teenaged son Connor by his side. Meanwhile, Fred and Gunn distract Connor so Angel can confront Holtz for stealing his son.]
Fred: "So he survived an unspeakable hell dimension. Who hasn't?" That almost sums up this entire series, you know?
So, Connor punched through into our dimension because he wanted to confront and kill Angel, and then Holtz followed him there. The psychic who sealed the breach seemed to think whatever came through was a horribly dangerous beast, and every shred of evidence is pointing to that being Connor. Yikes.
I'm still not sure what Holtz's deal is. Did he raise Connor to hate Angel, knowing all along that Connor would eventually want to come back and kill him, and thus exact his revenge? His sending Connor back to Anegl seemed such a noble gesture, something that a person who was truly at peace would do, but then he had Justine kill him and make it look like it was done by a vampire. So was everything he said to Connor and Angel a lie? Has this whole thing been a set-up to get Connor to kill Angel for him?
It was so great to see Angel and Connor happy together for just a little while, I have to say. Seeing as the next episode is the finale, I figured it wouldn't last, but for those few moments when they were fighting back to back and then teasing each other in the alley, it was so, so glorious. And now W&H and Wesley know Connor's back, which makes me wonder what's coming next for them.
I'm really feeling for Groo now. He disappeared for an entire day and Cordy never even noticed he was missing. And when he finally came back, she thought he was Angel. Ouch. I think he's on the way out, and I actually will be sorry to see him go.
So what kind of demon is Cordelia, anyway? We've only seen good side effects so far, and I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The way she can flit in and out of visions is interesting, and the cleansing thing she did to Connor was pretty cool. I'm just... worried. Because it's never that easy, you know? There's always a price to be paid, and I'm not sure when that will happen.
I'm also completely freaked out about the ending of this episode. I love angst, but the sort of angst where the people involved are angsting about things beyond their control. Misunderstanding-angst is actually something I don't like so much. I mean, in small doses, it's fine, but when it leads to horrible things? Waah. I'm terrified about what's going to happen in the final episode. They're setting me up to think Connor is going to flip out and think Angel killed Holtz, and that's the sort of thing that could completely destroy any chance they have at a relationship. And if that's the sort of vengeance Holtz has had in mind ever since he saw Connor "born" in that alley, this would be it. So I'm just hoping against hope that this will end well, somehow. But you know? Not so hopeful.
BtVS 21: Two to Go
[Buffy and Xander must protect Jonathan and Andrew, who are next on Willow's list. The Slayer is no match for Willow, who has drained Rack of all his powers. Giles arrives to test Willow's conviction that she's unstoppable.]
So Willow has basically become the big bad. Yeow. I have to say that it's really admirable that Buffy and Xander are trying to protect her from herself. It's an interesting approach -- and typical for this show -- that Buffy isn't trying to save Jonathan and Andrew because it's the right thing to do, but because she doesn't want to see Willow cross a line she won't be able to come back from.
It's also interesting to me that Anya is still working with them. It says a lot about how much she's changed in the last few years that she's not taking the side of Willow in this, who is actually out for vengeance. It seems like she's not behaving much like the vengeance demon she is. It's also interesting that she's gained some very useful powers and seems to be using them for good.
Xander is showing amazing strength in this, considering taht it's also clear taht he feels completely useless. He's not giving up, and I think that's what I adore about him as a character. He has so much heart, so much more than anyone else. And though he's often painfully blunt, what he says when he's dead serious is generally true. He's like Ron Weasley in that way, I guess.
I'm glad Jonathan has finally grown a spine, and I wished that Buffy et al would have given him a chance to help. I know they don't think there's any reason to trust him, but I think they're wrong about that. Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.
Something funny, in a sea of not-funny:
Xander to Andrew: "You've never even had a tiny bit of sex, have you?"
Anya: "The annoying virgin has a point."
Spike is getting closer to his destiny, whatever it is. I loved all the slashy vibes in his fight with the firey-handed guy. When Spike first saw him, his reaction was fantastic, like he practically had to stop himself from drooling. And then after he'd killed him, he referred to him as "Loverboy", heh. I'm wondering if we'll find out his fate in the last episode, or if that will happen at the beginning of the next season.
And then of course, there's Willow. Seeing her attack Dawn was pretty shocking, and then fighting with Buffy -- it's hard to imagine that they'll be able to bring her back from that. And at this point, I honestly don't know if they'll be able to. It's hard to imagine the show going on without her, but I've learned by now that anything can happen. She's almost as powerful as Glory was, and that's immensely scary. And of course, there's a price to be paid for such power, isn't there? I'm not sure yet what that will be. It's interesting to think that power could be that intoxicating for someone as strong and centered as I always thought Willow was.
And OMG Giles walked through the door at the end, just as she was saying no one could stop her! I have no idea how this is all going to end!
AtS 22: Tomorrow
[The joyful reunion between Angel and his now teenage son Connor is short-lived when the enraged Connor comes seeking revenge against Angel for murder. Meanwhile, just at the moment when Cordelia and Angel are finally ready to face their feelings for each other, she is sent a message from the Powers That Be concerning her future.]
So first I should say that I was so nervous about watching this finale that I put it off for four whole days. I just didn't want to know what was Connor was going to do to Angel. I guess I should've known it would be far more cruel than just going back and trying to kill him. Of course, when Connor showed up at the Hyperion, with that evil gleam in his eyes and kind words rolling off his lips, I knew it was going to be awful. So yes -- giving Angel exactly what he wanted was the most cruel thing to do, and then to use it against him. I suppose I thought it would take longer, but Angel and everyone fell for it so fast that it was almost better that Connor turned sooner rather than later.
I was sorry to see Lorne go, and I'm wondering if he's gone for good. I hope he'll come back now and again, but I suppose he's fulfilled his purpose.
And Wesley and Lilah? Whoa. That was interesting. He really can't sink much lower, can he? Somehow I think she isn't quite as callous as she wants him to think.
Oh, Groo. I knew it was coming, but it was still hard to see him have to be the one to tell Cordy she was in love with Angel. And then he left. I have no idea where he'll go. Actually, he should go to Vegas with Lorne. He could do some good there, I'm sure.
And oh, Cordy! Just as she figures out what she really wants, TPTB step in to take her away. But she's a good person and her heart is in the right place, and so of course she chooses to go. It's hard to imagine TPTB would take her away like that, though. I mean, she's so needed where she was. I'm hoping against hope that she'll be back, but that scene at the end with her ascending and Angel descending (strapped and welded into a coffin of sorts, down to the bottom of the ocean) had to be the biggest fucking cliffhanger ever. That just can't be it, you know?
Angel is going to get free or be freed somehow (because hey, there are two more seasons), but of course, the question is how long will it take. I don't think we've seen the last of Cordelia, because that ascension thing happened for a reason. It must be that she'll be able to do something bigger now and help in a way she couldn't before. Maybe she'll even be the one to rescue Angel, which would be very cool. And I also think Connor's and Justine's stories aren't over yet. Oh, and there's still the matter of Sahjhan trapped in that jar and ready to cause trouble. Oooh... if Connor can't kill Angel, might he get Sahjhan to take him to a place where he can? I have no idea how that would play out, but it would be interesting. I still think that prophecy about Connor killing Sahjhan is going to come true sometime. Maybe next season...
BtVS 22: Grave
[Giles faces off with Willow, but she drains him of his powers. This much power causes her to feel all the suffering in the world, so she decides to end it — the world, that is. Xander finally gets through to her, and he saves the day by doing so.]
For most of this episode, I was yelling "Giles!" and absolutely terrified that he was going to die in this episode. He was absolutely ready to die to save Willow from herself, but I'm glad he didn't have to in the end. The idea that witches in Devon felt Willow's presence was really interesting. This was the first time it had become clear to me (and maybe it was the first time it was mentioned in the show as well) that there's a light side and a dark side to magic. It seems quite a lot like the Force in that the Dark magic is fed by fear and anger, while the Light magic is connected to all living things. Add in the fact that the dark magic is disfiguring, and that people can sense each other's presence and it really seems like they were borrowing heavily from Star Wars here.
Giles cracking up at the idea of Buffy sleeping with Spike was fun. They needed a moment to not be freaked out about everything. And he noticed that she cut her hair! It was almost the first thing he said when he saw her. The scene at the beginning where Buffy and Anya both buried their faces in Giles's shoulder and just clung to him was so sweet. Sometimes a girl needs a daddy, you know? It was also interesting to hear Buffy tell Giles that she had thought she was done and really didn't know why she was back. There's a sense in which that really sums up Buffy for the whole season.
It was really clever that Giles had come there with the plan of letting Willow take that borrowed magic from him, because he knew that was the only way he could hope to bring her back. And the idea that she was suddenly connected to all of the pain in the world reminded me a lot of Cordy in the last season, when she was suddenly opened up to all the pain in the world. It was interesting that it affected Cordy and evil!Willow so differently. Cordy wanted to save the world -- the experience gave her a focus that changed her completely. But Willow wanted to destroy it. That's very interesting.
When Anya told Buffy that she wouldn't be able to stop Willow, I figured it would have to be Xander. He was the only one left, seeing that Dawn was down the hole with Buffy. And wow, that was a great moment for Xander. It was such an interesting idea that he knew he could only stop her by appealing to what was left of her humanity. Him saying "I love you" over and over while she kept attacking him, was really wrenching. It was almost a Christian metaphor in a lot of ways, and though that sort of thing usually makes me uncomfortable, it really didn't here. And then it worked (or at least seemed to) and wow -- Xander saved the world! I was hoping he'd get a chance to shine, especially after he's spent a good chunk of the season feeling useless.
The only thing in this episode that didn't quite sit with me was Buffy's epiphany about Dawn. It was just too contrived, I thought. There have been so many situations where it was life or death, and I wasn't convinced that this one would make her change her mind about Dawn so radically, or that this would be the moment that she'd finally decide she wanted to live after all. I mean, I can squint at it and it makes sense, but that whole scene felt rushed to me somehow.
And bwahaha, I WAS RIGHT about Spike!! That was an awesome way to end, after everything that had happened, with him telling the demon, "Give me what I want, so Buffy can get what she deserves," and the demon replying, "Very well. We will return your soul." So going back to what I wrote about Tabula Rasa, I had said then that the whole idea of a clean slate could be interpreted as revealing something about what the person really desired or wanted to be. This seems to be a confirmation that what Spike really wanted, whether he was aware of it or not, was to have a soul and be more human again. That deep down he doesn't really want to be a monster anymore. This is going to be very interesting!
It seems like this season was about finding out who you really are for all of these characters. They all took a journey, and they all had to face their inner demons -- and some were worse than others. Every single character had to face something difficult, and in every case they would much rather have just avoided it. And in many cases, they did until they were forced to deal with it.
So that leaves me wondering where the show goes from here. I'm guessing that now that they've all seen the bottom, they'll have to put themselves back together again. And I'm guessing that the road is going to be rough, as always.
So wow, that's it for these two seasons. I can't believe I only have one season of Buffy left to watch! I'm going to be slowing down my watching of them because I REALLY need to get to work on writing my holiday exchange fics. And I'm not exactly in a hurry to have Buffy be over either...
Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 18-22: [BtVS] Entropy, Seeing Red, Villains, Two to Go, and Grave.
[AtS] Double or Nothing, The Price, A New World, Benediction, and Tomorrow.
[AtS] Double or Nothing, The Price, A New World, Benediction, and Tomorrow.