Buffy 6×22: Grave

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Fury | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 05/21/2002]

Well folks, we’ve made it! It’s the end of S6 and “Grave” does a very good job of wrapping up the season’s threads, while setting up several new ones for the upcoming final season. But is this a quintessential mind-blowing Buffy finale, the likes of “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] , “Restless” [4×22] , and [“5x22″] ? Nope. Right from the start of the episode you can feel the lack of Joss Whedon’s polish, humor, and complexity. Not to say there isn’t any, but not nearly as much and not done nearly as well as Mr. Whedon himself has accomplished in previous season finales. One can look at “Grave” and feel understandably disappointed, but we have to remember that even though this isn’t an awesome Whedon finale, it’s still a very good episode! So let’s talk specifics.

We pick up right from where we left off in “Two to Go” [6×21] . Giles is back! Yay!! This is a wonderful treat. Having him gone for so long makes seeing him here all the more special. Giles tells Willow, “stay on this path and you’ll end up dead.” Boy is he right, but I don’t think Willow really cares at this point. I love the use of continuity when Willow brings up their “spat” back in “Flooded” [6×04] , with Willow saying “well buckle up, Rupert, because I’ve gone pro.” This is nice precisely because it plays off of Giles’ earlier comment, calling her a “rank, arrogant amateur.” This is just solid writing here. Willow then becomes downright scary when her eyes darken, voice deepens, and the room begins to light up; the combination of effects here really won me over.

That brings me to the post-credits follow-up to this moment, when Giles all-too quickly locks her up. This definitely surprised me at first, but at the sake of losing the excitement that was built up from the previous scene. Let’s just say it’s not the decision I would have made, but the scene still works as played. I do like the scene between Buffy and Giles in the training room though — and what a perfect place for them to reconnect (it’s the same place where Giles told Buffy he was going back to England).

Buffy gets Giles caught up with the rundown on what’s happened this season. Immediately following the list of disasters, Buffy (and kudos to Sarah Michelle Gellar for this) has this utterly child-like look on her face as she looks to Giles for judgement of her actions — it, for this one moment, brings me right back to the high-school days, which is a nice little throwback. Buffy expects Giles to berate her for all she’s done, but instead gets something entirely unexpected: pure, undiluted laughter. I know this reaction from Giles has caused mixed feelings from fans, but I personally think it works.

Did we really need Giles telling her how bad she’d let things get — something she (and we) already know? Does Buffy really need to feel any worse about all of this than Giles already knows she feels? No and no. Giles knows Buffy really well, and he can tell by her current attitude that she’s worked through her issues and can see the same strength inside her eyes that we can all now see again. So if he’s not going to talk down to her, what’s there left to do after hearing a list like that completely out of context? Laugh! Plus, it’s just a joy seeing Buffy laughing her heart out for the first time, well, probably since before her mom died. I think this moment was extremely well-earned, and I really enjoyed it.

Buffy’s honesty with herself when talking to Giles is really refreshing as well, telling him, “It took a long time for that feeling to go away… the feeling that I wasn’t really here. It was like… when I clawed my way out of that grave, I left something behind. Part of me. I just… I don’t understand. Why I’m back.” Buffy still doesn’t understand why she’s back, and Giles doesn’t really have an answer to it. I can appreciate the writers leaving this question unanswered for the time being, because it reconnects us with the aimlessness of young adulthood for many people. We ask questions like what is my purpose? Why am I here? What should I do and where am I headed? These are all still very real questions that don’t have any simple answers. Fortunately, S7 will help answer them for Buffy — although the end of “Grave” starts this with Buffy realizing one immediate reason why she’s back is to be there for Dawn.

When Willow unlocks herself from the binding spell, she tells Giles, “Willow doesn’t live here anymore.” We all know that’s not true though. It’s like I said in my “Two to Go” [6×21] review: “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.” The problem lies with the fact that the dark magic is supressing her human emotion so far down that all that’s left is a hollow shell of anger and rage. This new dark creature is still Willow — an admittedly distorted part of her, but Willow chose to become this in her anger and rage, so the consequences of her actions here are entirely her fault.

The action aspect of seeing Willow and Giles duke it out is extremely satisfying, I must say, and a wonderful payoff to the tension between them earlier in the season — let alone the constant hinting of this going back to S2 and S3. The raw effects and mechanics of the fight are overall a lot better than we what saw between Buffy and Willow in “Two to Go” [6×21] . I think the lack of hokey one-liners here is what ultimately makes the difference.

On the other thread of the episode, we see Xander still wallowing in how useless he is. I like how Dawn tells him that his self pity isn’t helping and uses Spike as an example of someone who is proactive. Even better is how Xander throws that example back in her face and reveals Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy. Dawn is exasperated and barely believes him. This moment is to Dawn what hearing about Buffy sleeping with Spike was to Xander. This season seems to also be about peoples’ perceptions of other people being crushed and more humanized or, in Spike’s case, demonized. Anya took Xander off her pedastal, Xander took Buffy off of his, and Dawn took Spike off of hers.

When Willow sucks Giles dry (nice twist of him wanting her to do that), we can immediately see a change in her. The way in which she talks to Giles is more friendly and Willow-like, even as she’s processesing the overwhelming amount of power and emotion. In sucking Giles’ natural magic she’s become connected to the world in way she never knew before. Because she’s got the black magic running wild inside of her right now, this connectedness is twisted into feeling all the suffering in the world. Being overwhelmed by the feeling, she decides she must end the pain in order to end her new pain. Giles’ plan here is risky and could backfire, but even though Willow’s more powerful this way, she’s at least now able to be touched by emotion again, which gives Xander his shot.

I must say I really like the writers’ solution to Willow’s power here. Although I’m not wild about it strictly devolving into an “end the world” plot, being as tired as that is, I do like the idea surrounding it. I think this might have been able to play out just the same if instead of wanting to wipe out everything, Willow just wanted to kill herself. Xander’s intervention could have played out in exactly the same way, and I feel it might have come across as less run-of-the-mill and would have had some intriguing parallels to Buffy’s journey throughout the season. But, even as played, I still enjoyed where they took the plot.

My one big disappointment of this, and the previous, episode is the almost complete unwillingness to delve deeper into the psychological reasons of why Willow got here, which mostly stemmed from a desire for power and control. Although these finale episodes occasionally touch on the idea, they don’t fully explore it as much as I’d have liked. I think that missing piece would have really elevated these episodes into being among the best of the entire series, but instead they fall short. I’ll explore this problem more in the Season 6 Review, as I feel this is largely a missed opportunity throughout the season.

Anyway, at this point of the episode, we have Buffy and Dawn trapped in a fake-looking hole in the ground while Willow’s trying to incinerate the planet. Although I applaud the writers for keeping Buffy completely out of the final showdown, leaving Xander to save the day, I just wish they had picked a more interesting fight for her than corny-looking earth creatures, which just aren’t very interesting to watch. I do appreciate the bonding taking place when Buffy hands Dawn a sword and asks her for help. I found Buffy’s big speech to Dawn a little overraught and over-acted, but I can appreciate the content of it. Buffy tells Dawn, “I don’t want to protect you from the world, I want to show it to you!” This sets up Dawn’s S7 arc perfectly, as we’ll see in “Lessons” [7×01] . Buffy’s hand grasping for the light out of the grave of the crater is an obvious symbolic statement for the return of Buffy to the light and the dawn (wink, wink) of a new day for her. This is a beautiful counter-point to the opening episode of the season.

Far more interesting than what’s going on with Buffy and Dawn, though, is what’s happening with Xander and Willow. What Xander accomplishes here is not only totally awesome, but extremely beautiful. After an entire season’s worth of heartache, pain, rage, and anger, Xander’s love for his best friend of years past is what saves the world. The moment Willow shoots Xander with lightning you can see her twitch with pain — it physically hurt her to do that to her best friend — at a time when nothing else can hurt her. Xander knows this, and keeps coming closer, bearing all the pain and anger Willow throws at him.

There is no doubt in my mind that Xander is willing to die right here to help Willow, and I take his statement as such at face value. Xander tells her, “Where else am I gonna go? You’ve been my best friend my entire life. World going to end, where else would I want to be?” Xander’s entire speech is just beautiful (check it out in the quotes section). Thematically, emotionally, and entertainment-wise this conclusion just works. This scene between them always brings a tear to my eye and is one of my favorites in my years of television consumption. I think that this moment between Willow and Xander represents the perfect end to this particular season. You heard it. Tell your friends.

David Fury’s put together a solid script in “Grave,” but it undeniably lacks that special Whedon feel. But with that out of the way, we have an episode that has a whole lot to like, including one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Willow’s rise and fall was a long-time coming and, although I didn’t get everything I wanted out of it, I found myself occasionally riveted and always entertained by this climax. Sure I’d have liked — and feel Willow deserved — even more, but I like what we got nonetheless.

Well, that’s a wrap for the episodes of S6! Check out my comprehensive Season 6 Review for organized thoughts on the season as a whole, and then join me for my analyses of the final episodes on this brilliant journey!

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ The way Giles calmy enters the chaos… and controls it. At least for a while. I also like Giles’ genuine concern for Willow, which isn’t a surprise, but is still welcoming to see.
+ Anya’s complete adorableness when she feels left out of the love between Buffy and Giles. She says, “I’m blond!”
+ Xander’s fight-dummy he made for Buffy got a cameo and saved Giles! Yay!
+ When Giles laughs with Buffy over hearing about the past year, the first specific thing they’re laughing about is the notion that Sunnydale isn’t real in “Normal Again” [6×17] , which I think is meant to be a bone thrown to the fans who took the ending of that episode personally. Sunnydale is real people! It’s real I say! Wait a minute… πŸ˜‰
+ Giles apologizing for leaving, even though Buffy doesn’t want the apology — she wants to accept the responsibility of what happened and not blame it on Giles leaving. Good for her.
+ The poor Magic Box set! I’ll miss you!
+ Jonathan and Andrew fleeing to Mexico. Did you really think it would end any other way?
+ Willow’s black hair slowly turning back to that beaufitul red.
+ Jonathan and Andrew being creeped out by the funny truck driver.
+ Spike gets his soul back! I’ll talk about this a whole lot more throughout my S7 reviews. All I’ll say now is: great move, writers!
+ Kudos to Alyson Hannigan for her exemplary acting during these demanding final episodes — she really pulled it off, and even elevated the occasionally sub-par piece of dialogue.

–Β Why oh why didn’t anyone try to get out of the way of the flying ball of flame, even after Buffy yelled at them to run. Why!?
–Β Giles telling Anya he’s dying serves what purpose? A cheesy attempt at audience sympathy? If Willow succeeds, everyone’s dead. If she doesn’t succeed, Giles lives. So… huh?
–Β It takes Buffy until the next morning to start yelling up for Xander and stop trying to climb out of the mini crater?


[Score]

90/100

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74 thoughts on “Buffy 6×22: Grave”

  1. [Note: PHS posted this comment on December 6, 2008.]

    Great review. I pretty much agree on everything, especially in being bothered by the missed opportunity with Willow’s development. I also really loved Xander at the end.

    By the way, I like the timing of the reviews =P I’m watching the show for the first time, and just finished s6 today.

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

    Gotta say, I loved the final three episodes of the season, even though it hurt me just as much as the characters themselves to see Willow like that. Wonderful acting and brilliant setup. However, there were a few things that I would have loved to see, in addition to discussing the fact that Willow’s a control freak:

    1. When Willow was attempting to get Anya to set her free, Willow could have simply wished for it. Of course, it’s possible she doesn’t know Anya’s a demon again, but poetic justice could have certainly been had.

    2. When Giles brought up Tara, I would have changed some of the lines to:

    GILES: I see. If you lose someone you love … the other people in your life who care about you……become meaningless. I wonder what Tara would say about that.

    Willow: Oh Rupert, you’re just jealous that I’m doing for my girlfriend what you could never do for yours.

    Giles: I doubt either Jenny or Tara would have approved of vengeance.

    A bone of continuity would have been nice.

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

    Lovely review, Mike, I agree with most things.

    Have to say I’m one of the haters of the Buffy and Giles laughing scene, though. In many ways I can see it was *needed*. It was great for Buffy to laugh at what a mess she’d made of her life and stop taking herself so seriously. It was important for us, the fans, to see this. But ultimately, the big problem I have is with how out of character it is for Giles. How he can be so cavalier about this when his departure likely had a great effect on Buffy’s downward spiral is beyond me. I don’t buy it at all. I wasn’t expecting Giles to scold her, I was expecting sympathy and guilt. If Buffy had started laughing first, I think I’d have believed it.

    Regarding what you say about the “Willow doesn’t live here anymore line” and your confusion over it, I think that pretty much shows that the writers didn’t know what they were doing. The lack of exploration into Willow’s thirst for power that had been brewing over the years further shows that this episode (and season) really could have done a lot better had Joss been showrunner and frequent writer. It’s blindingly obvious that he wrote the yellow crayon scene, because that scene was emotionally driven and relied on continuity and the thing that viewers really love, the characters’ friendships. This scene saves the whole episode for me, but still it registers as the worst finale for me.

    I’m just throwing this out there, but I suspect Xander saving the world was the writers’ attempt to redeem him for leaving Anya? I’m not sure what to think of that. Thankfully, he continues to suffer for his actions in s7, so bully for Joss.

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

    Great parallel between Giles/Jenny and Willow/Tara here, Darth Bunny. Indeed it would have been nice to mention it, but maybe it would have been too confusing for those who hadn’t followed the series from its beginning, especially since there had been absolutely no mention of Jenny since Amends. And Giles reaction to Jenny’s murder was… hmm, let’s see, fly into a murderous rage and recklessly try to reap vengeance? Hmmm. Maybe his point wouldn’t have been too clear.

    As for the laughing scene, I have to say I enjoy it to the core and feel the need to laugh along every time I watch it. In a way, Giles laughing at the sheer enormity of the Scoobies’ recent mistakes puts everything back into perspective and shows that in the end, it isn’t that big a deal. More importantly, that he is able to take Buffy’s failures in stride just shows that he will love her no matter what, and that those awful mistakes don’t define her in his eyes. More, he refuses to scold her as an adult would scold a child, and instead laughs WITH her as an equal. I don’t see it as cavalier, more as a breath of fresh air that completely deflates the tragic mood of season 6 and shows it for what it is: a hard time in life, not the end of the world (not yet at least).

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

    These three final episodes are amazing and for me, wipe out any lagging moments in the season, like Willow´s characterization in “Wrecked”. My only problem with this episode is when Willow is sucking Giles and says: “I feel so juiced, who´s your supplier”. That line just feels bad.
    But the end of the episode is just beautiful, with the yellow crayon speech and Buffy rising from the grave, this time to live.
    Mike, as I said before, your reviews are constantly making me understand Buffy better. When you say that this season is all about wrong perceptions, about how one person thought highly of the other and got let down. You´ve shed another light on how I see the season and that is just awesome, Mike.

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

    This ending, with Xander and Willow… man. Redeems the season. I’m far from being a S6 basher, in fact I think that it was quite good, but part of what made it good was the ending. It had so many mediocre episodes, that if it had a crappy ending, it would’ve been a rather poor season in my book. The grand sweep of the season works so well, though, especially if you realize that Buffy is actually a secondary character (which I’ll defend at a later point.)

    Thanks mikejer for the new reviews!

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

    buffyholic: If you want to add one more to the list of ‘people being let down’ I think it would be Willow. Before this season, or I might even go back farther in ‘Tough Love’ nobody thought Willow would hurt a fly:

    Giles: “Of everyone here … you were the one I trusted most to respect the forces of nature.”

    JONATHAN:
    “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 she was always… just Willow.”

    So yeah, her reputation for being the sweet, gentle and responsible one is kinda out the door now.

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

    The “best friend” love between Xander and Willow is one of my favorite themes throughout the series. Sure, there have been snappy moments, but this best friend love stands the test of time. This love, I believe,is what makes it work so well that no one else could have gotten through to Willow except for Xander. Xander of the no powers, no superstrength, no magical ability – only Xander to get through to Willow with love that only best friends can have for one another.

    I can think of no more sweet and wonderful exchange in “Hells Bells”:

    Willow: Do you know how much I love you?
    Xander: Not half as much as I love you.

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  9. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on December 11, 2008.]

    Hmm, I don’t have much to say about this episode right now. The fundamental fact that it’s the only non-Joss finale makes it stick out like a sore thumb. Aside from Sarah’s cringing melodramatic acting (I don’t want to protect you from the world I want to show it to you), it was a strong script, so my main complains come from budgetary issues. The biggest offender is that plastic piece of crap that’s supposed to be an “ancient satanic temple”? Did they steal this prop from a KISS concert? I mean, the serpent tongue? It takes away much tension from the emotional Willow scenes with that thing in the background cause I’m too busy laughing. For the record though, the last scene is beautiful with Buffy finally coming out of the grave (for real) with the Sarah McLaughlin (I think) song in the background.

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  10. [Note: Val posted this comment on December 13, 2008.]

    This is great, mille grazie Michelangelo! I really like your reviews and was afraid you gave up on them. I searched for other reviews on the web and was stunned to see how many people fail to appreciate the 6th and the 7th seasons… I saw the Angel series mentioned here too, I’ve never seen it but I’ll be getting it to see if Angel actually develops into a real character – I always found he lacked substance and maybe that’s why there’s such a big difference between the human Angel and the demon Angelus, as a human he was so weak that the demon completely takes over, unlike Spike who retains his main human characteristics and finally gets unpossessed because he’s still able to love. One thing I don’t like is this idea that people can lose their souls and get them back by trials or curses. Oh and the stuff about a human becoming a demon. OK, I suppose there are plot devices here and I know many people are theologically illiterate, but still, some of the concepts at work are absurd. Even if the people concerned are mostly undead (nice workaround the fact that no one can actually live without a soul), it would have been more appropriate to speak of possession, particularly in Anya’s case, since she can swich to and back from being a vengeance demon as if angels and demons on one side and humans on the other side weren’t completely different classes of creatures. And yet the story and the characters are so interesting I cannot but enjoy the entire series (well, most of it anyway).
    Looking forward for the “Beneath You” review!

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  11. [Note: Sam posted this comment on December 14, 2008.]

    Well, I took everyone’s advice and finally watched Season 6 through to the end. I still hate “Normal Again”… but I’m really glad I followed through this time. The final three episodes of this season were incredibly shocking, but still managed to ended on a note of guarded optimism. I really enjoyed how the core characters melded together to become a team again (and three cheers for Xander, who was threatening to become completely useless, for stopping the world for ending). That final scene was one hell of a twist, too. I’m looking forward to Season 7, and to Mike’s review of it. I don’t know where it’s going to take us, but I’m excited to find out how the journey ends, and whether or not it has a satisfying conclusion.

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  12. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on December 16, 2008.]

    I have absolutely nothing to add… Or say, really. Except I always love these reviews. They make my day. Thank you, Mike, for bringing these into the world! They make my whole Buffy world a little tastier.

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  13. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on December 17, 2008.]

    HarFang: “Indeed it would have been nice to mention it, but maybe it would have been too confusing for those who hadn’t followed the series from its beginning, especially since there had been absolutely no mention of Jenny since Amends. And Giles reaction to Jenny’s murder was… hmm, let’s see, fly into a murderous rage and recklessly try to reap vengeance? Hmmm. Maybe his point wouldn’t have been too clear.”

    Well, they could have just included Jenny in the ‘previously on Buffy’ flashbacks. And Giles also made a mistake in trying for revenge, seeing as how it nearly got him killed. Dark Willow could have pointed that out, to undermine his argument, just as she previously mentioned all of Buffy’s mistakes this season to undermine her.

    Willow’s done that before, taking an argument and twisting it around. We can see that in ‘The Yoko Factor’, ‘Tough Love’ and ‘Two to Go’. Of course, with Giles, we could have also gotten to the root of the problem since Giles would be more experienced and better prepared for Willow’s verbal attacks than Buffy, Xander or Tara:

    GILES: I see. If you lose someone you love … the other people in your life who care about you……become meaningless. I wonder what Tara would say about that.

    Willow: Oh Rupert, you’re just jealous that I’m doing for my girlfriend what you could never do for yours.

    Giles: I doubt either Jenny or Tara would have approved of vengeance.

    Willow: Oh please! If I remember correctly, you chased after Angel and Buffy had to pull your sleeping ass out.

    Giles: It was wrong of me than, just as its wrong of you now. Fact is, when Jenny died, I tried to punish Angel, I tried to make a world which made me happier rather than dealing with the one I lived in. You’ve been trying to do that lately as well Willow, but isn’t that the reason Tara left in the first place? Because you tried to control her?

    Willow: You can ask her yourself. (Continue episode as usual)

    A little characterization and improved writing isn’t too hard if we actually try.

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  14. [Note: MissKittyFantastico posted this comment on December 19, 2008.]

    “Giles telling Anya he’s dying serves what purpose? A cheesy attempt at audience sympathy? If Willow succeeds, everyone’s dead. If she doesn’t succeed, Giles lives. So… huh?”

    I agree it was clear Giles wouldn’t be killed off here (and consequently his “dying” doesn’t do much for the episode) but I would have to disagree with the statement “If she doesn’t succeed, Giles lives”. What about the rules of magic or Willow’s behavior specifically shows that this would be the case?

    @ Marshal: The Satanic temple is INCREDIBLY fake, yeah. Did you notice that when Xander finds Willow there and she knocks him against the orange plastic witch thing, it actually wobbles? My boyfriend pointed it out to me tonight – I’d never noticed this before. =)

    Whedon did write the “yellow crayon” speech, which is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series. Part of the reason the episode works so well is also because I think the last few episodes are great as a whole (the first time I watched the end of Season 6 I think I stayed up until 5 am finishing the last two disks) and redeem the more mediocre middle of the season. However, I’m actually a huge fan of “Grave” overall, although Joss Whedon didn’t write it. I thought the episode was extremely powerful and thought-provoking. But on a side note, does anyone know why Whedon didn’t write this one finale?

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  15. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 23, 2008.]

    If you’re referring to the comment in my review, Tash, what I was trying to say was there there were initial *hints* of this tension in S2 and S3. For example, Giles in Becoming Pt. 1 says, “Willow… channeling… such potent magics through yourself, it could open a door that you may not be able to close.”

    If that’s not a cautionary warning from Giles, I don’t know what is. πŸ™‚

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  16. [Note: Val posted this comment on December 25, 2008.]

    Why should Giles saying that he is dying serve a specific purpose? He is a man who feels he’s dying, perhaps he’s just becoming aware of it and says it because he’s somewhat surprised that he is actually going to die. Because there’s a difference between knowing rationally that you will die and feeling, in your body, that you’re dying right now. And he’s obviously afraid, like any man would be. I don’t think it’s cheesy and I don’t see any melodrama, it’s simply a normal reaction when facing death.

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  17. [Note: Sanjuro posted this comment on December 30, 2008.]

    I like this episode a great deal, but I think it’s a bit too mawkish to deserve an A-. It’s by FAR the weakest of the Buffy season finales, but then I love the fact that Xander saves the day and I will defend that against the haters any day of the week.

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

    Willow’s line to Giles: Remember that little spat we had before you left? When you were under the delusion that you were still relevant here?

    I think this is my favorite line in the whole arc (although Willow’s telling Dawn we’re all sick of the whining comes close). There’s just something really personal about it and the way she says it, looking to cut Giles down (I’d say for not being there when she and Tara needed him most… she’s still looking to blame everyone else for her pain since Warren is now dead and that didn’t relieve her suffering).

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  19. [Note: skylark posted this comment on January 15, 2009.]

    I hope this is as appropriate a place as any to make a general comment about your site, which I have only just discovered. I wanted to applaud you for the simply outstanding reviews, which spark a very high level of debate and analysis in the associated comments. I greatly look forward to the season 6 review and to your tackling season 7 soon, too.

    The thought, effort, and insight is really appreciated, thank you.

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  20. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on February 8, 2009.]

    I must admit that I was a little ticked off by Xander’s revelation to Dawn about what happened between Buffy and Spike.

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  21. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Just a general thought I just had: Grave is not only similar to Bargaining because of Buffy crawling out of her grave a second time, but also because Spike is Bargaining in his own way to get back a lost soul. And obviously, season 7 is partly about HIS coming to terms with the consequences of that bargain and with the need to take responsibility for his own actions.
    Now this is sheer extrapolation, but here’s a thought: Buffy had to deal with a supernatural “hitch-hiker” right after coming back to life; couldn’t the First be Spike’s own hitch-hiker? It certainly haunts him and everybody in much the same way that demon in Afterlife did. (Again, I realise that nothing really supports my theory, but I still think it works rather well, so do whatever you want with it).

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  22. [Note: Paula posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    HarFang, wasn’t it pretty much revealed in S7 that the First was another “hitchhiker” of Buffy’s? I don’t remember which S7 episode it was in, now, but I think it was Giles and Anya who went to contact an oracle sort of thing which said that bringing Buffy back had weakened something or other about the world and made it possible for the First to start acting like it does in S7.

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  23. [Note: Nix posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    It is my unsupported speculation that the weakening mentioned in s7 is simple: before Buffy was brought back to life, there was a mask of some kind around the Potentials, making it terribly hard to figure out who they were before they were Called. (The Watchers managed it some of the time, but there is the strong implication that they both missed a lot of them pre-Calling, e.g. Buffy herself, and had to spend a lot of time with people who weren’t actually Potentials at all.)

    If the spell that brought Buffy back weakened that mask, the First might think, hey! now I can see who the Potentials are, I can end them all and wipe out that pesky Slayer with a thousand lives. In fact this was always hopeless: we learn in s8 that a couple of *thousand* survived, so there must have been some masking left, and it’s obvious from the montage in _Chosen_ that some survived away from the Hellmouth.

    But nobody at the time knew this. From their perspective, the masking might be entirely gone. Willow and Buffy’s actions in _Chosen_ are thus completely rational: because the First is eternal and unkillable, merely stopping one army won’t stop it from attacking over and over again indefinitely (if nothing else they haven’t quenched the supply of Bringers, whatever that might be). So they *had* to change the rules of the game by making every Potential capable of defending herself as well as the Slayer herself is.

    I don’t think any of this has any real textual (visual?) support. It just seems plausible and doesn’t seem to contradict anything.

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  24. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Paula: you’re right, I had completely forgotten about that brief explanation of the First’s appearance in Show Time.

    Beljoxa’s Eye: The mystical forces surrounding the chosen line have become irrevocably altered, become unstable, vulnerable… The First Evil did not cause the disruption… The Slayer did.

    Which probably refers to Buffy’s first “death” and the activation of the second line of Slayers (Kendra and Faith), rather than to her resurrection and/or Spike’s soul deal. And there goes my theory… pity. Still, the First really took its own sweet time, didn’t it?

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  25. [Note: Paula posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    HarFang: ah yes, thanks, the episode I recalled was indeed “Showtime”. Now that I’ve checked the relevant bits of the script though, while we don’t directly hear the whole explanation the Beljoxa’s Eye gives Giles and Anya, from their conversation afterwards it sounds like it made it pretty clear that it’s Buffy’s second death and particularly the resurrection which matter:

    ANYA
    I don’t understand how Buffy’s death mucked up the whole slayer mojo. You know, it’s not like she hasn’t died before.

    GILES
    It’s not because she died. The Beljoxa’s Eye was quite clear about that in its enigmatic way. It’s because she lives. Again. Buffy’s not responsible for that.

    ANYA
    Oh. Oh. Willow and me and Xander and Tara. We’re the ones who brought Buffy back. We’re—we’re the reason The First is here, the reason those girls were murdered. No, it’s our fault. The would would’ve been better off if Buffy had just stayed dead. (walks off)

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  26. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on June 1, 2009.]

    When Willow tells Giles that he was and still is jealous, I thought immediately of “Touched”, of what Spike tells him and I just can´t help to think of it as true. Buffy in S7 outranks him, she doesn´t need him anymore and he feels resentful for it, imo.
    Also, this time around, I looked at Willow´s plan for destroying the world differently. In ending the world, she is feeling superior to Buffy in a way. She says to Buffy that she is always fighting to save people but in the end it will be her (Willow) to end the suffering. That goes along the lines of Willow being tired of being the sidekick, of wanting to be the Slayer.

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  27. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 16, 2009.]

    All I have to say is that I could tell it wasn’t Joss who wrote this even before I knew that it was Fury. Joss just has a magic that other writers don’t.

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

    It only makes sense that Xander is the to ‘save us all’ in this episode. He is the only person left in her life who does and always has truly loved Willow, and that includes her parents, Buffy, Oz and herself. And Xander is the only person that Willow would not be able to hurt while able to see him. I know she had the 18 wheeler bash the car he was driving, but she couldn’t physically see Xander then. I can’t help but believe that if she had been able to, she wouldn’t have been able to do it.

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  29. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on October 19, 2009.]

    Oh no! Sorry to disagree, everyone, but I HATE this episode, and the 2 before it. The main thing that bugs me about this one is Buffy’s “you’re so beautiful, I’m gonna show you the world” speech to Dawn, and then Xander’s “I love you”s The crayon speech was great, but the “I love you”s were too cheesy for my liking.

    Season 6 was just an epic fail for me. It just couldn’t make up for the weak magic=drugs storyline, which was the core of the whole season finale. Roll on season 7!

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  30. [Note: Ilan posted this comment on October 20, 2009.]

    Just a point about Giles’ claim that he’s dying: I think he actually was. If you notice, he gets better suddenly at the same time that Willow’s hair returns to normal. I took this to mean that she syphoned off the last bit of magic into Giles to save his life. After coming to the realization of all that she’d done, it would make sense that she would use the last bit of energy to save someone she loves.

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  31. [Note: Max posted this comment on April 17, 2010.]

    Having rewatched the series this quote from Willow always stands out for me:

    “you’re always saving everyone. Kinda pesky”.

    I’ve always thought that this was an homage to Scooby-doo (which obviously SMG stars in) and the “meedling kids…”

    Even if it’s not, in my head it is!

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  32. [Note: Tony posted this comment on May 1, 2010.]

    I saw this site recently and have been enjoying your reviews as one following all of Buffy for the first time. I really love season six and just about every episode – it seems the most heartfelt and real to me of all the seasons so far. I watched the 3 part ending last night and was disappointed, because so much had been built up and things seemed to resolve too quickly. I wish Dark Willow had seemed scarier and it would have been cool to see her continue as a villain into the next season. Still, good ending with Xander. And I’ll watch a second time – usually get a better impression on second viewing. The non-Josh writers did a fine job throughout the season, but it would have been cool to have Josh wrap up this great season.

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  33. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on June 16, 2010.]

    Nice work. I’ve really enjoyed your S6 reviews and can’t wait to see the polished-up versions of the earlier ones. Very insightful, and your “Sunnydale is real! …” gave me a laugh-out-loud moment. πŸ™‚

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  34. [Note: DFAS Giles posted this comment on July 6, 2010.]

    I haven’t watched this episode in a while, but I seem to remember Giles’ laughter as having a bit of hysteria to it. You know, when everything is really sad and horrible, and your emotional wires get all crossed, and you do something totally inappropriate for the context like laugh during a funeral? That’s what Giles’ laughter reminded me of when it began. Buffy has this shocked look on her face at first in reaction to Giles, but it crumbles pretty quickly as she too lets loose and releases a whole lot of sadness and tension, maybe coupled with relief that Giles is back. I don’t think it’s out-and-out funny laughter, but rather a mix of a lot of intense emotions finding an outlet. And then, you know what it’s like, you can’t stop!

    So in the end, I am a fan of the laughing scene, though I can see why others would feel differently.

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  35. [Note: Tony posted this comment on October 7, 2010.]

    Just an addendum to my earlier (May!) comment. I did see the season 6 3-part finale soon after and did find it very satisfying after all. Dark Willow was plenty dark enough and there were satisfying emotional arcs. Hats off to an excellent and daring season, definately my favorite.

    Now I’ll have to watch the season 7 finale again. Now that one felt a bit rushed or pigeon-holed to fit the themes – but I’m always happy to be surprised again.

    Like

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

    I disagree about this not being a mind-blowing finale. This is one of my favorite finales, after Becoming, Part 2. The first time around, Spike getting his soul back was a stunning and excellent ending. Very emotional finale for me in many ways.

    Side note: Boy that Magic Box was left in complete ruin!

    I loved how Willow references back to when Giles called her a “rank, arrogant amateur” in the opening. You could tell that really hurt her at the time and the fact that she brings it up here speaks to that.

    Giles bursting into laughter after Buffy tells him all the horrible things that have been going on in Sunnydale is priceless.

    Out of necessity, Buffy allows Dawn to help her fight. The look on Buffy’s face is great when Dawn kills one of the monsters. You can see the pride and the realization that Dawn is not just a little girl who needs protecting anymore. Great scene. Although it is followed by that annoying speech about showing Dawn the world. Could have done without all that.

    Giles does such a great job of manipulating Willow into taking his power even as he is getting the crap knocked out of him by her. I thought this was a brilliant way to start to bring an end to Evil Willow. It would have been unrealistic to just have Xander be able to talk Willow down given her actions over the last two episodes but the detail where she takes in magic that makes her connected to humanity is a great bit of writing.

    Finally the end, I love Xander’s speech. The whole scene makes me cry every damn time I see it. I sometimes forget how much history Xander and Willow have. This scene makes me forgive Xander for all of his mistakes this season. Great ending IMO. My heart totally breaks for Willow, even after all she has done.

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

    I’d have to agree that this is one of my favorite finales; while nearly every Buffy one is awesome, this is definitely top three. To be fair, I kinda lump the previous episode in as well while considering it. Dark Willow fighting Buffy is just badass, Giles’ moment where he feels Willow’s suffering is touching, and Xander and Willow at the end was incredibly moving. In terms of emotional impact, this ranks just under the S5 finale for me.

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  38. [Note: Different Chris posted this comment on January 15, 2011.]

    A fantastic episode and review as usual.

    I do have to I don’t think Giles realised what could have gone wrong with his plan, indeed what very nearly did. We obviously don’t see how long it would have been till the world’s end, but I got the impression it would have been much longer, what would have happened if Xander was a few minutes further away? Not to blame Giles of course, the whole Willow feeling all the world’s pain thing as a consequence of taking the power her held of connection, is quite likely only obvious in retrospect. It creates an interesting idea as well, what would she have done if she hadn’t taken his power? Would we have a new villain, barely even conscious of what she’s doing, growing in power and killing those increasingly only tangentially related to Tara’s death? Interesting to think about at any rate.

    I also like how the portrayal of power changes as she gains more of it. Going back a few seasons we have her performing rituals, and invoking old powers, words in ancient languages acting as catalysts and keys. In After Life we see her abandoning this with the spell to make the created demon solid, finding the ritual long-winded or slow she simply forces her will on reality. At the beginning of her quest for revenge up until shortly after the death of Warren she’s stronger still. Her very presence distorts the world around her, and the spells and traps Warren uses are burnt away just by being near her. Anya also makes the comment that a witch of her level cannot simply teleport, not due to a lack of it, but sue to an excess. When she drains Rack she moves up a level again, the world is more a part of her if you know what I mean, being able to hear Dawn’s thoughts, or the downright creepy bit where she just appears in front of her. To me it didn’t seem like she teleported, more like it’s the room that is confronting Dawn, I don’t know, you may disagree. When she takes the power Giles was holding she really reaches the pinnacle of her ability, the only one who can stop her is herself. She can feel everyone’s pain, and the earth moves to attack Buffy as she wills it apparently without effort. I’ll admit it doesn’t really have a great bearing on character development, but I found it a nice touch.

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  39. [Note: Teem posted this comment on March 20, 2011.]

    I just loved the imagery from the first part of this episode to the last, when buffy says “When I clawed myself out of my grave, I feel like I left something there” then at the end of the episode, she is climbing out of the hole, she pulls Dawn up with her. Beautiful…

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  40. [Note: Seth posted this comment on March 21, 2011.]

    Great episode, the only things I didn’t like are xander (his speech to Dawn and Willow)and Making Spike look like he was trying to remove the chip.

    Here are some reasons (taken from different forum) on why I don’t like xander.

    Here is the link to the thread: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=131296

    1.12 “Prophecy Girl” – Xander asks Buffy to the school dance, and when she very gently rejects him he starts spitting venom at her about her choice to date Angel. “I guess a guy’s gotta be undead to make time with you.” Gross. And then he asks Willow — who he knows has a crush on him (he admits this while under hyena influence), and who he’s already been torturing by having her roleplay him asking out Buffy — to be his back-up date, and is all offended when she finally shows some backbone and turns his ass down. It’s all so ~tragic~ that he has to go off and mope and listen to country music and make himself unavailable; meanwhile, Buffy and Willow and Cordelia come face-to-face with death and grow as human beings. Whatever, Xander.

    Possessed Xander also cruelly played with Willow’s feelings, pretending to be about to tell her he has feelings for her, just so he could mock her “pasty face”. Of course, he was possessed, so we can’t hold it against him, but it shows that he knew about Willow’s crush on him, which is interesting in the light of his later behavior.

    1.06 “The Pack” – Xander tries to rape Buffy under the influence of a hyena spirit. I’m not trying to suggest that Xander ought to be held responsible for his actions here, but when the possession has ended, instead of apologizing or even asking if she’s okay or anything, he just pretends to have no memory of the events. Way cool, Xander.

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  41. [Note: Captain Haddock posted this comment on September 13, 2011.]

    One thing that often goes unmentioned and what really helped make this episode work for me was Anya’s concern about Giles when she teleports into the cave “I should get back to him…he’s alone”. It was a really sweet moment and I think worked really well considering the two have a history running the Magic Box together, as well as their ‘marriage’ in “Tabula Rasa”. Plus he was the grown up and the way she hugged him was also just adorable. It also fits with Anya’s character, who is a lot more emotional than the other characters, or alot more blunt about her emotions.

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  42. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 14, 2011.]

    I agree with Captain Haddock. Anya and Giles moments are so tender. But I just don’t understand why he would accept that Anya had turned evil again without saying anything to her about that. It’s obvious she respects him and would listen to him. I know that at that point there were other threats to deal with, but Dark Willow is precisely the best exemple of how power can transform someone. I don’t remember earing anything about that at the begining of season 7. Isn’t it odd that he would just leave again to England with Willow and not forsee what would happen in “Selfless”?

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  43. [Note: Xavier posted this comment on April 30, 2012.]

    I feel as if the action was put on pause when Giles arrived. I agree with the reviewer that “Giles all-too quickly locks her up.” I mean, it’s expected of him, but WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE AN ANGRY, MURDEROUS WITCH WITHOUT SUPERVISION?! Seriously though. Giles had the advantage here, but it seemed like he told Willow to stay put, grabbed Buffy and took her to the back a mini-chat. The Giles/Buffy catching up scene is nice.. but not for this episode. When they started cracking up, I was just like “Okaaaaaay?” It completely felt out of place.

    Also, Buffy and Dawn getting “trapped” down there was totally not cool. C’mon it’s Buffy, the girl has mad- ninja jumping skills! And Dawn also suggested to find a way out, since it was Spike’s lair, but she refused to? I don’t buy that. Plus, Buffy waits until its morning to do something about it? Again, another error. To make it more believable, maybe Willow should have teleported them to some dangerous place of some sort. I don’t know, but I didn’t like that part a lot. And Dawn was simply annoying in this scene, demanding to know why Buffy didn’t tell her about the Spike rape. UHHH hello? Not the time for that.

    And, Oh Anya! She was so amazing in this episode, especially when comforting Giles and trying to get his attention (“I’m Blonde!”). I agree with the reviewer as well when Giles says he is dying. Like what was the point of that?

    All in all, I expected more from this episode, as it was the season finale. The action was paused continuously all throughout the episode. “Villains” was MUCH better.

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  44. [Note: Xavier posted this comment on April 30, 2012.]

    Another thing: I’m not a big fan of the ending. The season should not have ended with Spike screaming as he regained his soul. It would have been much better to end it with Xander holding Willow or Dawn and Buffy looking at the sky. It needed a sense of… love. (Granted, Spike’s scene was a cliffhanger for the next season, but still.)

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  45. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 24, 2012.]

    Mike, I enjoyed your insights about the Buffy-Giles conversation in the training room, but there was one part of that conversation that confused me, and I wonder if you might be able to help clear it up for me: after Buffy said she didn’t understand why she was back, she said “someone would have taken my place,” which led me to believe her understanding was that her death would have triggered the calling of another slayer. From other discussions on your site (and elsewhere), my understanding is that Faith was the only “official” active slayer at this point in time, such that only Faith’s death would have triggered the calling of a new slayer. The fact that Buffy was dead for nearly five months without a new slayer turning up in Sunnydale provides some support for that interpretation. Do you have any thoughts about why Giles didn’t clear up that misunderstanding on Buffy’s part, if indeed it was a misunderstanding?

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  46. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 24, 2012.]

    Either they aren’t 100% certain that another slayer wasn’t called (because what we as viewers know can be different than what the characters know), or (more likely) Buffy was just referring to another hero in general. I think Buffy was just assuming that another hero (of some variety, not necessarily a slayer) would take over that role — that she did her job and her time had passed.Remember, there are other supernatural good guys in the world out there, like Angel and the occasional good demon. There are also human demon fighters, like Robin Wood, that might be able to hold the torch long enough for another slayer to get going again, whether that be Faith or the next slayer in line.

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  47. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 24, 2012.]

    Thanks, Mike. The way this exchange was written, I suppose we have to assume Buffy and Giles thought “someone” would come along to take her place eventually, even though no one did while she was in heaven for nearly five months.

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  48. [Note: JohnChop posted this comment on December 9, 2012.]

    Mike, I have to thank you for making my first watch of Buffy seasons 5-7 and my rewatch of the earlier seasons greatly enjoyable. Your insights are making this so much fun for me. I have to say that I’m a little against the grain here in that I have found season 6 to be one of my favorites. The themes that they have attacked here are so complex and thought-provoking. I’m probably older than most here (53) and have seen more friends drift away, in some cases pass on, and I was very touched and moved by all of the character work. I’m not trying to minimize anyone else’s experiences but so much of what went on this season really resonated with me emotionally and you made it so much more effective with your great insights.Incidentally, when Buffy was aired, I greatly enjoyed the first 3 seasons but completely lost interest at the early part of season 4 and never got back into it. A friend of mine recently told me that if I could get through season 4 the rest of the series was worth the pain and he was so right.Thank you for being a brilliant guide.

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  49. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 10, 2012.]

    Hey Johnchop, Just wanted to say that i too enjoy season 6 immensely and consider it a favourite, i’m a big fan of Buffy’s inaugural season followed closely by season three and six. So don’t feel too alone πŸ™‚ I understand the feeling of being against the grain, i think i’m amongst the minority in loving season one!

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  50. [Note: JohnChop posted this comment on December 10, 2012.]

    You’re not alone in loving season 1. If you want to laugh, season 6 made me long for the way things were so I went back and watched Welcome to the Hellmouth parts 1 and 2. I think if you look at season 1 as one long set-up for everything wonderful that followed then you can’t help but love it.@mikejer — I read your season 6 review after I posted my earlier comment. I guess there are more season six fans than I thought. I’ll hold off on starting that support group I thought I needed.After each season I finish I watch Restless to see how much foreshadowing there was. I can’t wait to read your review of it. I know there must be season 7 spoilers in the review so I’m managing to hold off.

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

    Interesting that Willow reminds Giles of their previous piss off contest: the way Giles threw his concern to Willow, in rage and insults, which made her snap. Had he come with questions, tried to understand how it happened (like he always did with Buffy), maybe they could have talked of the issue before it became unmanageable. However, it shows that Willow is still there: she chose the ultimate mean to power to seek vengeance and, like in the speeches she made to Buffy and Dawn, even if there’s truth in them, she twists the reality to show that she is in power now.

    Notice the way Anya seeks attention from Giles while he gives it all to Buffy ? Willow did exactly the same in Hush (frantically writing Hi, Giles just to get hugged too). The paralell really outlines where Giles’ love go: always to Buffy.

    I really liked Giles and Buffy scene, although I couldn’t believe they went in the back while Willow was suspended in the air ! The hysterical laughter works, because everything Buffy describes – and the way she describes it – is so much to take that it truly becomes a comical tragedy. However, SMG is as bad at laughing as E. Caulfield is bad at crying: not their forte ! Talking about Anya, again, this is the first time she realizes how much she cares for the group and not only Xander. Her actions here are her first steps towards who she will become.

    The ending of Dark Willow is perfect. It reminds us why Xander was considered the heart of the group (and not the one who sees :P). Xander may be obnoxious and utterly undiplomatic, he’s been the judge, the devil’s advocate or the self-righteous ass but at his core, he’s got a big big heart. And no one could have touched Willow like he did. Also, it was even more touching because Xander’s actions weren’t meant to save the world, he did it to save Willow: an act of pure love. I also really really like the fact that it’s about a friend’s love and not a romantic love.

    Thanks again for a really good season reviews !

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  52. [Note: Niko posted this comment on April 17, 2013.]

    I totally saw Giles’ laughing as him assuming Buffy had concocted a false answer so outrageous he couldn’t help but laugh. And that she then laughs along while realizing how absurd it all sounds when listed like that.

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  53. [Note: Henrik posted this comment on July 11, 2013.]

    About Giles dying or not:

    The way I see it, Willow continue to siphon power from Giles. He narrates what happens to Anya, and that can only come as feedback from a ongoing connection he and Willow have. That’s why he’s dying, and that is very real.

    He gets better when Willow break off Dark Willow and I don’t think it’s because Willow has any thought to heal him with the last of her power; it is because she stops draining him.

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  54. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on October 21, 2013.]

    Season five used to be my favorite- it’s now number two. But after having watched season six several times, I’ve realized just how incredibly complex and powerful it is. The best episodes of the season are so much better than the best episodes of other seasons (especially 4, 3, 7, and 1), that it’s shocking to think that it is disliked or at least garners mixed reviews by a majority of fans. The series takes its previous virtues of continuity, visual storytelling and poetry, symbolism, metaphor, and philosophical content to a whole new level. The opening trilogy is a masterpiece in the true sense of the word, and the episodes Dead Things, Normal Again, and Grave that follow up on the themes set out in the beginning are just brilliant, especially Dead Things. That episode may just be the most psychologically complex episode of any television show. It’s a mini Russian novel (which I know is an oxymoron ;)). And I should also mention Sarah Michelle Gellar, who was unsure about the darkness of the season: her performances are understated yet emotionally explosive all season long.

    About this episode in particular, it is a slight disappointment in that it doesn’t live up to The Gift (what could?). But as the end of the 22 episode long psychological epic that is season six, it delivers. Buffy climbing out of the earth again, but this time into the light with Dawn is just so powerful. Of course, Dawn is the part of Buffy that wasn’t besieged by the pain of life, the part that Buffy spent so much time trying to save. Buffy realizing that she can’t hide from the world any more, and that in order to feel life again she needs to open herself up to it (iow, show it to Dawn) is a wonderful moment. The showrunners this year, Marti Noxon and Joss Whedon, desrved a Nobel for Literature. That sounds extreme, but I can’t think of any recent novel that compares to the genius on display this season. This season is truly a transcendental work of art.

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  55. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on April 18, 2014.]

    “The first day of kindergarten you cried ’cause you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone.”

    This might be a stretch, but I’m pretty sure this refers to Buffy’s resurrection– Willow snapped Buffy back from her state of childlike bliss and refused to acknowledge this because she can’t stand the implications of what she’s done; when it finally comes to light that she “broke” Buffy in OMWF she starts crying.

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  56. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on May 28, 2014.]

    Giles’s laughter is a nice way to remember the absurdity of everything… until I remember that Tara was just killed. Could he have laughed like that just after Joyce died?

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  57. [Note: Night4345 posted this comment on August 16, 2014.]

    Surprised no one is disgusted by Xander revealing Buffy’s near rape just so he can have a comeback at Dawn. Then Dawn making Buffy’s horrible experience all about herself and Buffy being too over protective about her.

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  58. [Note: MustardOfDoom posted this comment on November 7, 2014.]

    I like season 6 a good deal more than most – if Willow’s arc had been better handled it would probably rival season 5 as my favourite – but i can’t stand the song at the end of this episode. Just… a world of no. it seems many times when Buffy wants me to feel emotion but doesn’t have enough confidence that it’s writing will get it done we get a song like that. It bothers me to no end because this is a strong, if flawed, episode.

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  59. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 18, 2014.]

    The Giles dying scare is stupid. They tried it last season for no reason and it was a lie and then they do it again as a lie. Really bad writing.

    Willow is scary. Not caring who else dies, including Xander or Giles just so that Jonathon and the other one die.

    It reminds me of the quote Giles said in ‘Doppelgangland’ about Willow being “much, much better” than Xander. How times change.

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  60. [Note: benny posted this comment on June 3, 2015.]

    “but Willow chose to become this in her anger and rage, so the consequences of her actions here are entirely her fault.”

    can anybody explain, please ?

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  61. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on November 28, 2015.]

    So I was rewatching some Faith scenes in This Year’s Girl and I wonder if there is any connection made between Faith climbing out of her grave pit and Buffy doing the same in the premiere and finale of this season. Man they really were taking a lot of stuff from her for this season weren’t they.

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  62. [Note: Nathan posted this comment on January 1, 2016.]

    The climbing out of the grave was just about the growth of Buffy. In 6.02 she is crawling out depressed. In this one she is crawling out with hope.

    Such darkness and despair and depression throughout the season and it is all forgotten with the superb 30 straight seconds of Giles and Buffy laughing their arses off. One of the best moments in series history.

    And of course, goodbye Magic Box.

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  63. [Note: Other Scott posted this comment on January 1, 2016.]

    I’ll throw this in the comment section because it took me too much work to be lost in the forums forever:

    First off, I don’t require things to be flawless for them to be great. And considering how much all of you like Buffy, I’m thinking surface cracks don’t bother you guys so much either. And this episode has its surface cracks. Specifically:
    1. Willow’s reaction after absorbing the coven’s power is groanworthy (“Who’s your supplier?” Really? We’re going back to that again?)
    2. Spike has no business being in this episode. The way they try to hide the truth of what he’s doing is pretty lame just adds salt to the issue.

    The Gift is a great episode. It all leads up to the sacrifice of Buffy, a decision that it is more important for her for her sister to live than it is for her. This is despite the fact that she knew her sister was never really hers to begin and was artificially placed in her life. This is despite the fact that she was the only slayer that was currently fighting the forces of evil, and when she died, there would be no new one created. Buffy had every reason to let her sister die to save the world instead of herself, but she decided to die anyways. It’s an absolute pinnacle and triumphant moment for Buffy, and earns every bit of sentimentality it creates. Except for possibly the hand wavy explanation for why Buffy’s blood is equivalent to Dawn’s, it’s basically a flawless episode. It’s tense, it’s emotional, and it’s exciting.

    But where The Gift represents a pinnacle for Buffy, Grave represents a pinnacle for at least five of the characters. Plus, it beautifully ties up the themes of the most thematically strong season of the show, and has perhaps my favourite scene of the entire show. It’s not flashy in the same way that The Gift is, a lot of its points are somewhat subtle, but I believe it has a greater overall effect that is in tune with all the characters, and not just Buffy.

    The fact that Xander got to save the day in this episode just makes me so happy and is so satisfying. Xander has struggled for a long time with being more of accessory to the group than an actual part, the person who does the stuff normal people can do so the powerful people can worry about the important stuff. To take advantage of his relationship with Willow, the most important relationship in the show, is just such a victory for his character.

    And the scene itself is so great. The things Xander says just feel inconsequential. It’s the amount of emotion that’s clearly there. He’s so sympathetic to Willow here, someone who had killed someone in cold blood, and was about to destroy the world. Yet he cared. And everything he said, about how he felt he needed to be with her while the world ended just felt so sincere. The crayon speech doesn’t even really seem relevant to the situation, except to show how well Xander knows Willow, and how much he has invested in her feelings. The relationship between Willow and Xander is the type that is so rare on television, a non-romantic relationship between a male and female that is in some ways stronger than any romantic relationship can be. To play off it here, at Willow’s lowest moment is exactly fitting.

    For Willow herself, she’s always had trouble dealing with pain. It was clear when Oz left, when it took her 4 episodes to recover. When Tara broke up with her, she quickly turned to the magic equivalent of hard drugs. When Tara died, she completely lost it. So it makes sense that when she becomes in touch with every living thing, all she can feel is the pain. But there’s more than just pain there, there’s joy and there’s love. And she needed Xander to make her see that, to feel the love that was there, to dwell on the things that are good and causes for happiness that exist in every living thing, and not just the things that hurt. It’s never made clear from the show whether being in touch with everything means she could pinpoint the source of where all the emotions are coming from, but I like to think that she can feel Xander’s love for her at that moment, and realize that it is something she ca’t bring herself to destroy just to stop the pain. And it’s important that Willow learns to focus on those things and ignore or put the pain aside, because she’s going to be in pain for a good portion of the rest of her life. She killed someone, and she is going to have to deal with that forever.

    Buffy really was the centre of the season, so it seems a little odd she’s not the centre of this episode. However, it relates to Buffy’s problem this entire season. Being pulled out of the grave, and out of the happiness she was experiencing in death combined with all the difficulties that life had been bringing her put her in a state of depression. And in that depression she couldn’t see the things that were sort of falling apart around her. She couldn’t see that Willow was losing control, and that the cold turkey solution was a bad idea. She couldn’t see that Dawn’s frustration with not having her around when she needed her, and not getting the chance to be her sister when Buffy clearly needed someone to talk to was what was causing Dawn to be bitter and annoying. And I think that moment in the grave, the same place Buffy had been brought up out of caused Buffy to see what she had failed to until that point. Her friends brought her back because they needed her; because there was so much that she could do for them. Including showing Dawn the reigns of how to be a helpful part of the group. That’s why you needed the zombies in the graveyard. Buffy needed to see Dawn as someone who could help in times where she needed a sister, that she wasn’t in it alone. That she had help, and that she could still be a help.

    And Giles knew what Buffy needed in that moment when he came back. He needed Buffy to lighten up about the situation. I believe his laughter at Buffy’s situation was someone calculated, to give her permission to laugh at things that were in the past. Giles came back exactly when he needed to, and his plan was not crazy. He knew enough about Xander and Willow to know that the combination of the two of them would have to save the day. To save Willow he had to give her the opportunity to feel again, and he knew someone would be there to help her with that.

    Buffy at its best is an ensemble piece, centred around Buffy but giving all the characters a chance to shine. I’m not sure there’s an episode of the show that is more in touch with all its characters as Grave, and gives all of them such satisfying conclusions to the things they had each been dealing with in the season. And it does that without any major deaths, or playing with the format. Grave feels like every other episode of Buffy, the Scoobies against the apocalypse, but this time there’s so much depth and resolution.

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  64. [Note: Doyden posted this comment on May 4, 2016.]

    Anybody have any ideas why a book written by William shatter was amongst those on the floor or the wrecked magic box?

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