Buffy 6×21: Two to Go

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Douglas Petrie | Director: Bill Norton | Aired: 05/21/2002]

“Two to Go” is a decent continuation of the creepy awesomeness that was “Villains” [6×20] . Unfortunately, it slips up a couple places and just can’t maintain the previous episode’s unique tone, look, and feel. With that said, there’s still a lot to like here including entertaining action, Willow continuing to be creepy, and one particularly insightful character sequence. This is a mostly action-orientated episode that does, indeed, suffer from being the middle episode of a three-part finale.

During the beginning of this episode, Willow is still absolutely terrifying. Tearing up the police station and then cutting off an Anya who’s trying to help her, with lightning. Oh, and that scream… yikes! Jonathan points it out perfectly: “I still can’t believe that was Willow. I mean… I’ve known her almost as long as you guys. Willow was… you know. She packed her own lunches and wore floods and was always… just Willow.”

When Willow later goes to see Rack, she cleverly misleads him into thinking she’s playing his tune again, but then rapidly turns the tables on him and sucks him dry too, killing him in the process. Willow’s “just gonna take a little tour.” What a nicely-staged scene — very aesthetically interesting; wonderful use of CGI.

When Willow confronts Dawn, she’s the creepiest she’s ever been, even threatening to turn her back into a ball of energy. Willow cruely tells her, “maybe that’s why you’re crying all the time, Dawnie … We’ll all be a lot happier without the constant whining.” This dialogue is clearly a bone thrown to the fans who are rabidly annoyed by Dawn. Since the comment totally fits within the context of the episode, I’ll not only buy it, but also be simultaneously scared and amused by it.

It’s interesting to watch how Willow acts in this state. When she’s focused on anger and rage, it’s the magic talking; when she’s focused on her emotions (i.e. when she recalls how Tara enriched her life), it’s Willow talking. This change is very subtle, but is denoted in how Willow refers to herself — in the third person for the former, and in the first person for the latter.

The highlight of the entire episode, especially from a writing perspective, is when Buffy confronts Willow about the situation at hand. Buffy’s entire argument is so weak because she’s ignored her own words all season. Although she’s pulled through her problems and is definitely on the rebound, she’s still in no position to be the morally superior one here, as Willow brilliantly points out. Willow says to Buffy, “Please! This is your pitch? You hate it here as much as I do! I’m just more honest about it. You’re trying to sell me on the world? The one where you lie to your friends when you’re not trying to kill them. You screw a vampire just to feel. And insane asylums are just the comfy alternative. This world? Buffy, it’s me. I know you were happier when you were in the ground. The only time you were ever at peace in your whole life is when you were dead.”

Buffy has absolutely no defense against Willow here. Everything Willow’s said is completely true — this is the precise moment when we, the audience, realize that Buffy is utterly powerless to stop Willow. I love how the key to defeating Willow does not lie in brute force and/or magic, but in human connection and love — things which Buffy is not equipped to effectively communicate to Willow right now.

It’s a real shame that the episode goes downhill after this brilliant scene and instead resorts to cliched dialogue and cheesy one-liners (e.g. “Get off, super #####!” and “Show me what you got, and I’ll show you what a slayer really is!”). The action is serviceable, albeit over-the-top. I’m not wild about the hard zoom-ins on Buffy and Willow before their fist-fight either. I hate to say it, but what should be a crackling insightful moment between the two of them quickly devolves into a mediocre fight scene that’s staged — and fails — to be epic. This lackluster ending really pulls down the episode a notch for me. Even Giles’ supremely thrilling entrance (which always gets an earned audible yell of “Giles!” out of first-time viewers) can’t completely save this ending.

Before I wrap up, I’d like to do a shout-out for Jonathan. Andrew asks him, “Why are you helping them?” Jonathan’s response is perfect: “because they’re savings our lives, moron! … you want an order? Grow up!” Jonathan finally grows up here and I like him more in this episode than at any other point in the entire series. Way to go Jonathan! I love that even some minor characters get their own arc in this series.

As good as parts of this episode are, I can’t help but feel the writers could have done even more and gone even further. What’s such a long-time coming just isn’t fully capitalized on. I just wanted, nay: expected, more from this episode — more insight, better action, elevated acting, and more surprises. With that said, this is still a very entertaining episode to watch and, as a whole, still contains many worthwhile character moments and some mediocre-to-decent action set pieces. I really like “Two to Go,” but it’s just not all it could be and doesn’t have the unique tone and flair that “Villains” [6×20] nailed.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Xander physically ill over the flaying.
+ Anya saying “Jonathan and what’s his face.”
+ I’m exuberant about the scene where Anya so very practically tells and shows the police officier what he’s up against.
+ Seeing the cops freaking out over what to do with Willow. She’s not physically harming anyone and is simply standing there, so they really can’t do anything about it. Haha.
+ The truck chase scene was refreshingly different from what we usually see on Buffy — a nice change of scenery.
+ Spike’s shock at “Walking Action Figure” having flaming hands.
+ Buffy’s pragmatism with Jonathan: “We’re not protecting you. We’re doing this for Willow…”
+ Clem reluctantly helping Dawn because he — adorably — wants to be friendly with the Slayer so she won’t kill him.
+ The episode taking a moment to catch up on where Xander and Anya stand with each other.

– Xander making a virgin joke against Andrew because of his Star Wars-laced sentence. Xander of all people should be admiring the funniest piece of dialogue he’s likely to have heard in weeks. His reaction felt a bit out of character to me.


* Xander’s anger over not being able to help is a theme throughout this episode and will obviously factor in huge in “Grave” [6×22].
* Dawn being more pro-active and demanding that Clem help her find and help Willow is clearly setting up her upcoming arc.




52 thoughts on “Buffy 6×21: Two to Go”

  1. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    ^ Agreed.

    On a surface level I can kick back and fully enjoy this final arc. It’s when you start to question WHO Dark Willow really is that it starts to falter. This episode really could have explored this. Mike’s description of first person Willow being the real Willow, and third person Willow being the magic, is very interesting. But where is the line between them? Actually, maybe that’s the point. However, this seems like a comfy alternative, and alleviates her from any real responsibility. These episodes would’ve been so much more compelling if it was all about Willow and the USE of her magic, which, IMO, shouldn’t be a separate entity. But whatever, what’s done is done.

    I’m not keen on dredging up the drug metaphor again. Doesn’t Willow say something like “who’s your supplier?” Christ! That really crosses the line.


  2. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    By the way, Buffy says at one point that if Willow kills someone else after Warren, she will “cross the line” and be beyond saving. Yet nobody really seems to pay attention when Willow murders Rack in cold blood AND clearly enjoys it. Granted he wasn’t much of a human being (he is human, right??) and nobody will miss him, but you’d think somebody besides Dawn would be a bit shocked. (Poor Dawn, always the one who finds the corpses! Or the one whom the corpses find, depending on which season you are watching…)


  3. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    Admittedly I haven’t seen this episode in quite a while, but I still thought the close zoom-ins on SMG and Aly before their fight was epic and gives chills down my spine despite being a bit contrived and detracting from the emotional issues at hand, but it highlighted the fact that despite all the emo stuff going on, the bottom-line was that it was classic Hero vs Villain battle at its core. Plus, them destroying the Magic Box in their cat-fight is just awesome.


  4. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    Marshal, I think you’re dead. It wasn’t a classic ‘hero vs. villain’. It was friend vs. friend. One of their own, which is what makes it painful. True, Willow turned, and willingly, but fact of the matter is her past still counts, including all the good she had done.


  5. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Xander making a virgin joke against Andrew because of his Star Wars-laced sentence. Xander of all people should be admiring the funniest piece of dialogue he’s likely to have heard in weeks. His reaction felt a bit out of character to me.

    While Andrew’s rant is funny and Xander’s response to it a bit on the cruel side, considering the circumstances and Xander’s probable state of mind, I entirely buy him being annoyed and aggravated by the thorough geekiness and no-lifeyness (lo and behold what BtVS is doing to my English…) of one of the guys who are partly to blame for the huge and desperate mess they’re all currently in – and who still has to be protected. Xander certainly used to be pretty geeky himself, but he has largely grown out of it during the past few years.

    So I don’t have a problem with it at all. Amusing Xander at this point would not have been that easy.


  6. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Mike, you nailed all the cons and pros of the episode. I also don´t like some of the lines and also the scene at Rack´s seems odd to me. I also want to point out something I´ve never realised before: that Buffy is not the one to save Willow because she isn´t in that emotional state and thus unable to save her through love. I´ve only thought of the idea of love, pure love and not violence saving the day.
    I´m always finding something new! I gotta say, Mike, that your reviews have made me understand with more depth and love Buffy in a more deeper way.


  7. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    I forgot to mention that Jonathan’s “Hey Warren, do you read me, your girlfriend’s pathetic, over” just about kills me. 🙂

    (I’m one of those who quite like Jonathan. Although I still think that Andrew was the right choice for the comic sidekick in S7.)


  8. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Darth Bunny

    For a second there I was worried I had received a death threat :S Haha

    It was definitely friend vs friend, but it was also very easy to discern who was meant to be the hero of the piece and who was meant to be the villain, and I think that’s what the director of the ep was getting at. Up till that point it was all “Oh no, Willow needs help” but after she flayed Warren without remorse, she became the true villain of this 3 ep arc despite it being good little Willow underneath all the magic.


  9. [Note: Tee posted this comment on December 9, 2008.]

    HarFang — YES! I’m so glad you brought up Rack’s death. I’ve been re-watching the episodes with my roomate (who was a newbie of any buffy [and angel, for that matter] post-S3, so it’s been very fun to introduce him to these episodes) and as soon as Dawn discovered Rack, he jumped on that point – “Wasn’t Rack human??!” Are we supposed to assume Rack was just a demon-that-looked-human and worked magic?

    Speaking of my newbie roomate — I loved his open-mouthed, slack-jawed reaction to…GILES! 🙂

    Wilpy — The drug metaphor is super-distracting for me, too. “I’m so juiced!”


  10. [Note: ddo posted this comment on December 10, 2008.]

    Thanks for posting this. I always enjoy your reviews (have been checking this site for weeks), and although I don’t have much insight since I am really tired at the moment, I wanted to let you know that you did a great job of explaining why I don’t like the last fight in this episode. That dialogue really is mediocre. It’s interesting because there are some great lines in this episode… but not necessarily where it counts.

    I’m not a huge fan of Dark Willow…. she never seemed super scary to me. More zombie-ish. Part of me wonders if she would be scarier if she seemed more *Willow*. She never really seems like Willow when she’s dark Willow. I wish she would bust out some of the one-liners, rants, or confused, quick-talking. I think the other thing is that we are used to Willow being a “sidekick” character. I can’t think of any other episodes where she takes center stage like this. I don’t know, something about it seemed kind of off to me.

    Now I need to go watch the Season 6 finale episodes again. 🙂


  11. [Note: Angelus posted this comment on December 17, 2008.]

    I actually jumped out of my chair like WE JUST WON THE SUPER BOWL at the “Giles” moment. Just awesome.


  12. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on December 21, 2008.]

    I actually liked this episode best out of the three part finale. It unlike Villains, got to show some of Willows character as well as put that sass against Buffy. Also it wasn’t dragged down by cheesy dialogue like Grave was. My only problem with this episode was the whole truck scene was kinda pointless as I couldn’t really see what the hell Willow was trying to do with it. Ahhh oh well it still looked awesome.


  13. [Note: Rob in Michigan posted this comment on January 14, 2009.]

    My main problem with the S6 ending is how long it seems. It really felt to me like a 2-parter stretched to 3 unnecessarily… all run, run, run, fight, run, run, fight. This middle part just didn’t have enough for an entire episode on its own and the parts that were significant could have been squeezed into the first and third of the arc.

    On the other hand… when you try to squeeze things in, you get ‘Chosen’, which desperately needed to be 2-episodes (with the last half of the second just dealing with the emotional aftermath).

    I’d judge this one a bit more harshly than Mike does.


  14. [Note: Kannon posted this comment on June 10, 2009.]

    For me this episode demonstrates how incredibly selfish Willow is. At the beginning of this season she abuses magic for her own satisfaction and because of power-complex and hurts Tara and Dawn. And now, when she knows for a fact that Tara is very likely to be in Heaven now and see what’s happening on the Earth, she goes on a vengeance destructive journey because of inability to deal with pain, hurting all Tara’s friends during it. And the ending of the world in the finale – way to go, Willow. Tara would be so happy! One of the main flaws in Willow’s character is her self-centredness. She never thinkis what can be really good for ones she loves.


  15. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 18, 2009.]

    Giles’ entrance at the end of this episode, IMO, ranks as the best entrance ever on TV!!! I’d like to test that theory indeed! (But my squeeing fangirl response isn’t to shout “Giles!” it’s to sigh “Oh, my baby is finally back!” What, me a Giles fan? Whatever gave you that idea?)

    This episode is again heartbreaking for me because we get a glimpse of just how much Willow truly hates herself:

    WILLOW: scoffs) Let me tell you something about Willow. (advancing toward Buffy) She’s a loser. And she always has been. People picked on Willow in junior high school, high school, up until college. With her stupid mousy ways. And now? Willow’s a junkie. The only thing Willow was ever 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. (grimly) And that will never happen again.”

    These aren’t the words of someone who dislikes themself, these are the words of someone who quite literally hates herelf. And all the magick and all the power didn’t change that; it merely hid it. Had Tara not died when she did she might have gotten a magick-free Willow to a place where she liked herself but Warren put an end to that with a stray bullet and everything after that is a magick and power-fueled suicide trip. The dark magicks took over enough that she was willing to end the world (that was the magicks, not Willow) but in ending the world, she would have died too, which was her ultimate goal. Remember in the previous episode Buffy tells her if she lets go with the magick she won’t come back and Willow responds “I’m not coming back.”? That is her suicide ‘note’ right there. Tara is dead and she’s going to die, too, but not before making sure Warren pays for what he did. Unfortunately in punishing Warren, the dark magicks do take over and we get the next 2 episodes.


  16. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on October 16, 2009.]

    Why does Willow do that scream at the police station? It was an advert-breaker, so it seemed like it was going to be a spell or something, but was she just screaming becuase she was p****d off? It always really bugs me.

    This is my least favourite season ender. I just didn’t buy it. All that drug metaphor malarkey and such just left me cold, so I wasn’t emotionally attached to these episodes.

    And it seemed really obvious to me that Spike had gone to get his soul back. I never even considered that he’d go to get his chip removed. It just didn’t occur to me so it always seems odd when people still believed it was a double-cross. Maybe it was just the dramatic pause before the demon said “(We will restore)……..your SOULLLLLLLLLLLLL” It was kinda lame.

    I’m going to have to look at those scenes again, though. That comment about there being a cave painting of the flaying has intrigued me!


  17. [Note: Randy posted this comment on January 2, 2010.]

    I have to say, when I first watched the series, I kinda thought Spike was trying to get his chip out just because of all the ambiguous dialogue. So at the time, I thought the whole sequence in Africa was really absurd! After rewatching everything, it’s a lot more enjoyable, but I’m still annoyed with the cheesy fakeout. It didn’t really add to the drama as much as the lameness factor. I like that you don’t know what he’s after when he leaves Sunnydale, but once he’s in the demon’s lair it gets to be a bit much.

    And here’s something that would go on my list of Cons for this episode: Why is Anya SO physically weak in this episode? Did the writers just forget that they made her a vengeance demon?? She should’ve been able to teleport and do some cool shit in that last scene, instead of just standing there with the book and then screaming helplessly when Willow grabs her. I guess it was meant to be the buildup for Giles’ big entrance (yay!) but they really should’ve done better with that. Especially since they had that cool scene at the beginning where she teleports into the jail cell. And seriously, for someone who can survive getting run through with a sword in S7, she sure does get kicked around quite easily here…


  18. [Note: graciela posted this comment on June 23, 2010.]

    Are you kidding me with the Giles reveal at the end? I totally yelled at the TV and let out a gasp cos it was such an OMFG moment. So badass.

    I’ve been a lover of all things Willow and Dark Willow is the culmination of where her character was going all along. Every hero needs a villain that sprang from friendship and trust. Those are the villains that hurt the most. Magnetos, Ozymandias, Anakin Skywalker, Satan were all good at one point but they turned. Those are the ones you have to really be afraid of because they know all your secrets and are just as powerful as you. I totally bought Willow’s dark turn and her addiction to dark magic. It was only a matter of time before she moved past taking petals off of a flower and started skinning guys. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.


  19. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on December 10, 2010.]

    On the point of acknowledging Rack I’m pretty sure that he’s human- in Season 7 people say that Willow killed PEOPLE (hence the plural).

    Also I LOVED the Hero vs Villain setup and fight that followed- the previous episode might have been about “helping” Willow but eventually it needed to be acknowledged that Willow has crossed the line into evil.

    The whole idea of Willow mocking everything that Buffy stands for was just an awesome character moment: it’s moments like that at which you want to pause the episode and flashback over all the times when Willow was just Buffy’s geeky friend. Plus Willow calling Buffy “superbitch” was hilarious ;P


  20. [Note: debisib posted this comment on December 10, 2010.]

    random interesting fact…

    Giles says in the beginning of every episode recap… “previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

    But in this episode, he doesnt… in fact xander says something line… “this is what happened this year”

    And this is the episode Giles returns. curious.


  21. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on December 30, 2010.]

    More Evil Willow! Yay!

    Random thoughts about the episode:

    I liked how Willow pretended to be intimidated by Rack at first and then totally owns him and takes his power (and gets all veiny).

    I loved Spike’s reaction to the flaming hands of his first opponent…lol

    Poor, naive Dawn. Thinks she can do something and tracks down Willow…such a bad idea. She didn’t realize how far gone Willow was.

    I loved the trip to the Magic Box during Willow’s speech. And as awful and harsh as the things are that Willow is saying, she does speak the truth. It’s a very revealing scene, first with Willow and Dawn and then with Willow and Buffy starting at Rack’s and ending at the Magic Box.

    The interactions between Anya and Xander throughout these final episodes are really well done, both in writing and acting.

    Yay Johnathon for finally sticking up for what is right!

    Giles’ entrance is fantastic.


  22. [Note: John posted this comment on January 9, 2011.]

    Willow finally telling Dawn off for being a whiny teenager was awesome. I love Willow, and seeing her as Dark Willow is extremely painful, but she’s just so BADASS! 😛


  23. [Note: John posted this comment on January 9, 2011.]

    Also, while seeing Willow as a super-badass in hand-to-hand combat was awesome, I can’t help but notice that every time in the Buffyverse that someone acquires supernatural strength and speed they are made into an accomplished martial artist. Willow may have been superstrong and superhumanly fast, but where did she learn to fight like Bruce Lee? Kinda weird.

    The resulting scene was completely worth it, though. 😛


  24. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on April 17, 2012.]

    Giles’ entrance may have been the most epic moment in television history. My 12 year old (Drew) and I sat watching it (it was a rewatch for me, a first for him) and due to some head trauma, I’ve suffered a lot of memory loss. One pleasant side effect of this is that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about Giles’ entrance. When it happened Drew and I both leaped out of our seats and started high fiving each other as if we’d won the lottery, screeching “GILES! GILES!” Ridiculous, but so so fun.

    God, I love this show.


  25. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on October 18, 2012.]

    Did anyone else find Willow ‘flying’ up to Jonathon & Andrew’s cell and her scream when they weren’t there just awful?? In an otherwise great episode, these two things are just terrible. On the plus side – Giles!


  26. [Note: Me posted this comment on January 2, 2013.]

    I don’t remember is it is brought up in season 7 but does Willow ever show remorse for Killing a Human and does everyone ever bring up to Willow about killing Warren since buffy says if she kills andrew and jonathan she will cross a line but hasnt she alredy crossed it by killing Warren. I thought this was a very good episode love andrews star wars line but I felt when Willow takes apart the wall to the prision I felt the scene went on too long. Overall a good episode


  27. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on January 2, 2013.]

    Willow shows remorse in Lessons the opener to S7 when she talks to Giles during her time in England. She expresses the thoughts she had when he brought her to England, that she thought he was going to kill her but instead helped her. She worried about how her friends would receive her on her return to Sunnydale. Then she showed some remorse or worry in the third episode; same time same place when her fear of the above turned her invisible to her friends and her friends invisible to her. Finally the episode killer in me reopens her wounds when she is turned in to Warren, she experiences feelings all over again. The entire season though in its own way develops her transition back from the dark place she was in and her fear of magic. No one discusses it with her except perhaps Kennedy when she makes a comment to Willow about her being bad. Dawn and Buffy and Xander discuss her return in the third episode.


  28. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 12, 2013.]

    It’s funny, because in here, Anya feels more human than in any episode before, and she’s back to demon form ! Which means vengeance demons are really half/half with a soul.

    I really like the difference there is between Jon and Andrew. Jonathan is basically a good person, with heart. All of his previous actions alone had never intended to harm people, just make him more important (just draw the similarities between him and Willow). He’s unfortunately been misguided and blinded by what he believed to be a friendship. The murder [of Warren’s ex] has snapped him back to reality and he fully understands the consequences. Andrew is also misguided but is not good at heart: flying monkeys, summoning demons, shouting “kill her [Buffy]” to Warren and now the first thing he can think of is: kill Willow.

    There is an interesting parallel to draw between Buffy and Willow. This season Buffy tried to feel positives emotions – even by doing bad things – in order to be whole again. I don’t think Willow knew exactly what the consequences would be when she tapped into the darkest of magic. What Willow gets is a lot of positive emotions by doing terrible things. What makes Dark Willow is a combination of her cravings for power, her need to feel important and self-confident, plus she’s finally Buffy’s “equal”, not living in her shadow. It shows how much she, like Xander, put Buffy on a pedestal and how much she wanted to be on it with Buffy.

    It’s also interesting to see that each time Buffy makes self-righteous speeches, it doesn’t work (especially with Faith) because the speeches are emotionless, without love. They’re mostly made out of guilt. In this scene, Dawn had more chances than Buffy to reach Willow ! Because Dawn has lost her true mother figure, the sensible and wise Tara, her own grief could be related to Willow’s.

    It was also heartbreaking to see Buffy realize how powerless she was when trying to reach her best friend.


  29. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 7, 2013.]

    One thing that I thought this episode did well was compare Willow to Warren. When Warren and Buffy fight in Seeing Red he calls her ‘Super Bitch’. The fact that Willow calls Buffy by the same name reinforces the point that writers seem to be trying to make, which was best stated by the then evil Faith in season three: ‘You kill me, you become me.’ By killing Warren, Willow has become him. How tragic.


  30. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 11, 2013.]

    I think Andrew’s problem is that his fantasy life is more important to him than his real one. Hence he becomes upset at the idea of Bobba Fett being injured but not at the idea of hurting real people (note the difference between his and Jonathan’s reaction in Smashed – Jonathan points out that they have heads, too).

    Andrew starts to value people after he’s taken guestage.


  31. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 29, 2013.]

    I want to add that I think there are real parallels between Warren and Willow. Warren tries to manipulate Katrina in Dead Things; Willow plays with Tara’s memory. Neither of them shows much understanding for their actions – Willow is only saved because she has friends who are strong enough to stand up to her.


  32. [Note: alan24 posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    It seems to me that the rest of the comments on this page have missed something: this is Anya’s episode, and as such it’s wonderful. She is centre stage almost throughout, consistently determined and heroic – far more as full demon than she ever was as a human – but takes time out for a touching exchange with Xander; and because it’s Anya it’s all hilarious as well. What the very best BTVS episodes do, better than anything else: blending high drama with high comedy, and also allowing its characters to change and develop without losing sight of their individuality.


  33. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    I would argue that it’s every character’s episode. Each character plays an integral role in the drama of this episode. I wouldn’t say the episode is solely Anya’s though. It’s clear that the writers intended it to focus largely on the Dark Willow plot.


  34. [Note: alan24 posted this comment on August 15, 2014.]

    I agree with it being “every character’s episode” – in fact I agree with most things written above, I particularly like Arachnea’s comment 33: this is indeed one of Jonathan’s finest hours, and Buffy in self-righteous-speech mode is rather dull (both here and at greater length in S7). And yes I had noticed dark Willow… but I do feel that it’s Anya who provides the extra magic this time. I enjoyed this (even) more than “Villains”: both are highly dramatic from start to finish, but this one is funny as well, and a lot of that is due to Anya.


  35. [Note: Courtney posted this comment on May 11, 2015.]

    Right before Spike started his first battle, did anyone else notice that he quoted Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit?

    “Here we are now. Entertain us.”


  36. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on July 17, 2015.]

    The slight issues with Vengeance Demons arise because in order to be able to fight Buffy in S7, Anya is given equivalent abilities by the writers. In S6 this hadn’t been established. That said, the whole issue of Vengeance Demon abilities has been wonky since they were first seen (Giles pretty easily gets the power centre away from Anyanka in ‘The Wish’, yet by ‘Selfless’ they can go toe-to-toe with a very experience Slayer).

    The reason Willow handles Anya so well is explained a bit more in the roleplaying game (yes, it was a blast to play!). Willow casts a spell that boosts her physical attributes to make her beyond Buffy’s abilities and able to handle her in a fight. She also uses one that heals all injuries. The one she uses to zap Anya and Buffy with electricity is one that is designed to knock the person out and little else. She was just zapping them to put them down and out of the way for a bit.

    Also, Willow’s use of the third person does not mean that sometimes the magic is talking, sometimes Willow. Giles points out during her rehabilitation next season that there is no ‘bad’ or ‘good’ magic. Willow speaks in the third person when she’s feeling her purest rage – she (and some viewers) want it to be something else talking, but Willow means (and is correct) in everything she says, especially to Buffy when knocking her off her high horse. When she refers to herself in third person terms, she’s feeding on her rage, but when talking about Tara, she’s tapping back into her inherently sweet, loving core. It’s telling that she almost immediately reverts back to her rage, because without it, she can’t keep her rampage going. At the end of ‘Grave’ she finally embraces her grief and lets Xander in, which is the catalyst to letting go of the dark magic and letting it fade away. The magic was NEVER the driving force behind Willow’s actions, it was always her intentions and misuse of it coupled with her emotions. When the final arc with Dark Willow kicks in, notice how Magic = Drugs never gets a mention ever again? It’s almost as if the writers are acknowledging that their goal was only ever to get to this point in the arc, regardless of how bad they messed up getting there.


  37. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 17, 2015.]

    Plus there’s the fact that there’s this group of demons causing chaos out there FOR YEARS and apparently none of the Watcher’s Council or Slayers have tried to do anything about it (which puts Buffy’s actions in Selfless in perspective).


  38. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on July 20, 2015.]

    I think it’s likely people have tried over the millennia, given what Vengeance Demons actually do. It’s hard to kill something that can teleport away from you easily, travel to an interdimensional location (Arashmaharr) and can recover from even sword wounds to the chest within a few seconds. I think Buffy just found out what all those people found out – that they’re nigh-impossible to actually kill, are quite tough themselves, and can easily escape if they wish to. In realistic terms, the Watchers/Slayers can’t really do much about D’Hoffryn’s demons in the long run.


  39. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 9, 2015.]

    It seems a little odd that Andrew would mention midi-chlorians here yet claim to be bored at Episode 1. Either he was dedicated to the bit that he decided to make a prequel reference anyway or the writers really did give him new life in Season 7.


  40. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 14, 2015.]

    Star Wars fans still watched and absorbed the information in the film even if they hated it overall. Quoting anything from SW is enough to fulfil the writer’s dig at geeks (‘he knows something from Star Wars, such a loser!’) while being both recent enough and well-known enough (can’t get much more well-known sci-fi than SW or Trek) to be recognised by general audiences.

    I always got mildly irritated by the ‘look how geeky the Trio/Andrew are’ scenes in S6/7. Whedon professes to be a total geek himself yet sterotypes abound. The Trio of course love Star Wars, reference it constantly and even slip it into casual conversation with ‘normals’. One exception was Spike’s threatening of the vintage Boba Fett figure – that’s definitely going to get the owner distressed!

    Sci-fi fans, even uber-geeks, don’t talk like the Trio or Andrew do. Unfortunately that’s the least of their annoyances. They are completely ineffectual villains for the show. They do little until near the end of the season. I get Warren’s creepy misogyny and actual willingness to do violence, but they were out of place in a season that needed strong villains in the plot as a counterbalance to the horrendously depressing storylines the main characters were getting.


  41. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 14, 2015.]

    Yah it’s a real bitch to write geek talk/references into a show since you don’t want to alleniate the uniformed but ay the same time nerds tend to a lot more specific and more clever with their references. Even Spaced which someone praised as being a lot better at nerd references than The Big Bang Theory still resorted to some obvious reference like The X-Files and The Phantom Menace. Sometimes you’ll get something good like in Big Bang when they referring to a more obscure Ghostbusters line and then showed the clip, an amusing allusion to “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for” in an episode of Fringe, or even The Trio’s mentioning of those time-loop episodes in Life Serial but a lot of the times it doesn’t work.

    I don’t mind the Trio that much since they kind of needed someone less heavy so that the world wasn’t being destroyed while Buffy was in her funk. And some of the darker subject matter with them is interesting. Plus Warren’s misogyny is at least a little more deep than Caleb’s who seemed to hate women just because it was the final season and they had to lay on the man-hate.


  42. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 18, 2015.]

    I did love some of their references, like comparing the time-loop they put Buffy into to the TNG episode ‘Cause and Effect’. That’s one of the ones that work nicely. Sometimes I think Whedon and the other writers should’ve just put the references in and left them, rather than trying to make the Trio more geeky than most geeks ever will be. Let the ones that don’t get it run to the Internet to find out what reference they just made!

    I like the Big Bang Theory and what it tries to do, though I haven’t met many people like them (I’m both a sci-fi geek and a scientist). I guess they are caricatures though.

    My main wish for S6 was that it had a villain. I think the complete opposite in that it needed something heavy to counterbalance all of Buffy’s ‘woe is me’ storylines. You don’t need to want to destroy the world to be evil, or a villain. I think that’s what Buffy often failed at after S2 – genuine goals for the villains. Glory at least had an objective, a goal, and it was very simple. It happened to threaten the deaths of billions across all dimensions as a side-effect, but to her that was meh! Angelus, up until his final two episodes as a villain, didn’t have much of an objective, but that didn’t reduce his threat (it actually increased it, as his focus was far more personal). Only at the end of the season do they kop out and decide he wants to end the world just because he found a demon that could do it. It’s possible that it was the influence of the ghost from IOHEFY that made him disgusted with his own existence and the world.

    An ideal villain for Season Six would’ve been perhaps a demon summoned by the Trio that they expected to obey them but decided it would much rather rule Sunnydale instead. Or perhaps a robot that Warren made…maybe just a powerful vampire or group of them…something to shake things up, an additional issue to throw into the mix when Willow was on Drugs (sorry, Magic) and Buffy was being depressed some more. They did a similar thing in S5 when vampires attack Buffy right when she’s trying to deal with Riley’s situation. That’s what I wanted all season six. We know Buffy’s going through hell, but throw something at her while she does, not just a bunch of geeks who take an age to do anything sinister. Whedon claimed that they didn’t need a ‘larger than life’ villain because the season was about real life. Buffy’s metaphors survive just fine in other seasons with big villains.

    They really did just go too far in S6, ambitious but it largely fell flat on its face. I guess there will always be holdouts that don’t understand why people took against S6 in general. After season five it was a kick in the teeth for them to turn around and say ‘you see her, her and him? We’re going to kick them repeatedly this season while you watch. Cool with that?’ and wonder why most of us weren’t. Even Whedon himself won’t admit that what he tried in the season largely didn’t impress the fanbase. He doesn’t agree, but at least understands why we largely didn’t like this season.

    [I do really hate most of Season Six, I realise that o.O thankfully, the next time I see it will be as part of my start-finish Buffy/Angel rewatch with every episode in the correct order as the seasons unfold. I hope that the depressing Buffy eps are balanced with good Angel ones.]


  43. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 18, 2015.]

    Forgot to mention Andrew’s hilarious spray-painting of the Death Star onto the Trio’s van. ‘We’re supposed to be incognito!’


  44. [Note: Peter Luke posted this comment on December 17, 2015.]

    I really think the magic she sucked in really got the best of her. I think even if they reunited at the end of ‘Entropy’ with Tara. The relationship couldn’t have work. She was still too much in love with magic. It seems she learned her lesson only she she killed people and nearly destroyed the world.Even if I loved Tara, Willow’s magic has always been more important than her relationships, in terms of the story.


  45. Two to go = two more of the Trio to kill. Also, two more episodes this season.

    Apparently, I have a thing for attractive, dark, powerful women. Because I LOVE Badass Willow. I liked her as Badass Vampire Willow too.

    GILES!!! So great to see him and a great line. I didn’t realize how much I missed him until I saw him there. ASH/Giles really add a lot to this show, and it suffered for his absence. Giles is like the glue keeping everyone together, and they all fell apart without him. So happy he’s back.


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