Buffy 7×01: Lessons

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: David Solomon | Aired: 09/24/2002]

“It’s about power. Who’s got it. Who knows how to use it.” -Buffy

It’s with this quote — a theme setter — that I dive into reviewing the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In “Checkpoint” [5×12], both the Watcher’s Council and Glory were exerting their respective powers on Buffy. Instead of being controlled by that power, Buffy looked at the other side of the coin. These people needed to threaten Buffy because of the power she possessed. Power is an intruiging concept in that it can be used for great good or great evil. It all boils down to who has it, and what they do with it.

Although “Lessons” reintroduces us to the power theme, it doesn’t dwell on it much. It’s instead more concerned with having a relatively light-weight romp for a change. This turns out to be the episode’s biggest weakness and strength. In sticking to a standard-fare Buffy plot, it sadly lacks the inventiveness or punch to really accomplish much. The entire episode would have been a lot funnier, for example, had there been nothing wrong at the new high school (and the writers continued to play up the suspense like there was). The end of the episode could have still played out the same, too. In the end, though, we just have a standard mediocre Buffy plot about some random annoying dead people. Even so, I still enjoyed the more inconsequential tone of the episode, just due to the striking difference from last season.

This episode had somewhat of a detox effect on me, dispelling all the doom and gloom of last season in one episode. What allows this to happen is seeing most of the characters in a much more mature, settled place. Buffy, in particular, is looking strong and kicking ### again. Thanks to S6’s arc, I actually buy where she’s at in her life right now. It’s incredibly refreshing to see Buffy back to herself, and stronger than ever. The evidence for this, besides simply being written all over her face, is a combination of things. For one, Buffy’s senses appear to be working really well again. She can sense something wrong in the hallways of the new school well before anything happens. I also loved the inventiveness and fun of Buffy’s fight with the dead guys, swinging that handbag around like a pro. The most important factor in guaging Buffy’s happiness, though, is her quip-o-meter which, in “Lessons” is on ‘high.’

It’s interesting to see Buffy still has concern for a clearly messed up Spike, despite their history. When Buffy initially sees him in the basement, Spike tells her “no one comes down her. It’s just the three of us.” I love how much this one little comment could mean. Does he mean “the three of us” are Buffy, the demon inside him, and his new soul? Or does he mean Buffy, himself, and the First? Oh, how delicious Spike’s arc is this season. I’m already salivating at the thought of writing about the final scene of “Beneath You” [7×02].

Principal Wood is a new character that I’m very fond of, mostly due to how D.B. Woodside plays the role. Buffy’s hallway chat with him excellently sets his aura of mystery. Even knowing his story, I still find these early scenes very effective. I think it’s due to a combination of things: how the initial hallway scene was shot (i.e. the swirling camera), Wood’s mysterious dialog, and the natural chemistry SMG has with D.B. Woodside.

Although “Lessons” doesn’t really focus on any one particular character, it does do a decent job at getting us re-acquainted with everyone, which I genuinely appreciate. Xander shows up to Buffy’s place with a new-looking car, all dressed up for a “client meeting.” Boy, Xander’s grown up quite a lot too, hasn’t he? The interaction between him and Buffy is so warm and comfortable it makes me want to wrap it up in a box and keep it in a safe place to pull out whenever I need it. These two, dare I say, feel like a very happy married couple in not only the scene in Buffy’s house, but most of the episode in general. It makes me think that, some day, a relationship between these two might actually really work.

I love seeing Willow with Giles in England, trying to find herself again. What makes me even happier, though, is Whedon’s dialog here about magic having more to do with the connectivity and lifeforce of the earth around us than any kind of addiction. Giles tells her, “This isn’t a hobby or an addiction. It’s inside you now. This magic. You’re responsible for it.” Thank you, Mr. Whedon, for clarifying and admitting the mistake of Willow’s mid-season arc last season that began in “Wrecked” [6×10]. Giles asks her an excellent question: “do you want to be punished?” Willow simply replies, “I want to be Willow.” Aww… Alyson Hannigan is always able to turn me into mush.

On the Dawn front, it’s really nice to see her now going to high school and that she’s been training with Buffy. It’s cool to see the continuity of Buffy beginning to live up to that promise she gave Dawn in “Grave” [6×22]. Dawn is becoming more capable and, with what’s she’s had to witness around her, is wise beyond her age (although still a teenager, of course). Although we get a glimpse of that here (“I know! You never know what’s coming. The stake is not the power. To Serve Man is a cookbook. I love you! Go away!”), we definitely are going to see more of it later in the season. It’s great to simply see Dawn taking control of her surroundings, and taking charge of the unexpected situation she had to face in this episode.

Moving onto Anya, apparently she’s been having trouble being an effective vengeance demon over the summer. This doesn’t come as a surprise to me at all, considering what happened in “Entropy” [6×18]. We, the viewers, know that Anya can’t ever return to being a hardcore vengeance demon again. Thankfully, though, this character thread won’t linger on much longer — the topic is touched on in “Beneath You” [7×02] and then expanded on in the potent and revealing “Selfless” [7×05].

The final scene of the episode is just spectacular. This is the First launching an all-out assault on Spike while he’s in no state to fight back. The First knows he’s a very dangerous force, whether for or against evil. This is why it says that Spike is right where it wants him — useless and hiding in the basement. Having all the villains from the previous seasons morph into each other with the tone-setting music, ending with Buffy herself, was chilling and yet also very much a treat.

It’s really fitting that in a season where we’re going back to, as the First says, “the true beginning,” that we’d see not only all the previous villains make an appearance, but also Sunnydale High School itself, rebuilt on the very grounds it once stood. “Lessons” does a respectable job at rebuilding the foundation of the series by getting us up-to-speed on these lovely characters, while also setting up the initial theme and story threads of the season. It’s a very comfortable and fun episode that only really suffers from having a somewhat unexciting plot. If the characters can have some fun with it, though, I will too. πŸ™‚

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Starting the season in Istanbul!? This epitomizes how Buffy has a vastly different tone every season.
+ New season, which means new music! I really loved the music used for the graveyard scene with Buffy and Dawn, along with the fight scene later in the episode and, of course, the final moments of the episode.
+ Buffy saying, “vampires, demons… they’re nothing compared to what’s coming,” then the camera immediately cuts to the re-opening ceremony of the new Sunnydale High School.
+ Giles, on a horse, in England! Huzzah!
+ Awesome introduction, with Buffy teaching Dawn how to protect herself against vampires. Dawn misses the heart, and Buffy admits she did too her first time out (ah, continuity).
+ Principal Wood thinking Dawn was Buffy’s daughter. This causes Buffy to compulsively touch her hair all episode long.
+ I really like Principal Wood. To say he oozes charm is an understatement. It’s good that Buffy’s suspicious of him.
+ Buffy bursting into Dawn’s classroom telling her “it’s not safe!” Wow, Buffy, you’re sure not doing anything to help people think you’re not her mom.
+ Anya and Halfrek making fun of the two lovebird singers at the coffee shop.
+ Ok, the dead guy trying to stab Dawn in the eye was pretty creepy. I’ll give him that.
+ Willow’s portent of doom. She can hear the earth rumbling; she can feel the First making its move.
+ Buffy’s back to school gift to Dawn: a cellphone. πŸ™‚
+ I love the way Buffy sees the hole in the bathroom and then, without giving it a second thought, immediately jumps down into it. That never gets old.
+ Buffy fights her way to the door she thinks Dawn’s in only to find a frazzled Spike. The look on Buffy’s face is perfect: “huh!?”
+ The student telling Buffy, “You… are the coolest mom ever.”

–Β The dead guy telling Buffy to “get out” in the bathroom was way too cheesy. I think the writers should have banned the words “get out” on this show by now.
–Β Not really a negative of this episode, but I was sad we didn’t get to see Carlos and Kit again.


Foreshadowing

* The First says we’re going back to “not the Bang… not the Word… the true beginning.” This very much hints at the nature of the First’s army and its intentions.


[Score]

82/100

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88 thoughts on “Buffy 7×01: Lessons”

  1. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Great review, mike. The review is very insightful and also very full of love. While I was reading it, all the memories of the episode just came pouring out at me and I totally agree with all of your pro comments. I also love Principal Wood. In fact, I love the beginning of this season. I have to say we have somewhat similar tastes on some episodes.
    Really can´t wait for the next one!

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

    Glad to see you’ve gotten started on S7! πŸ™‚

    Regarding the Buffy/Spike scene in the basement, in view of what went on when these two met last, it was a very interesting choice from Whedon to have Buffy behave the way she does here. Instead of, say, frightened and resentful, she appears more like, firstly, surprised (well, let’s go with flabbergasted while we’re at it) and, secondly, concerned – for him.

    The way I think this should be read at this stage is that since Buffy is back to her strong, confident and decisive self, she’s just plain above being afraid of Spike now – she knows she can handle him both mentally and physically, if need be. And obviously there is something very strange and pathetic about Spike the way she has suddenly found him. He has been a part of her inner circle for quite a while, and his presence in Sunnydale and his mental state can’t really be matters of indifference to her any more. Not to mention that her obviously complicated feelings about him probably haven’t completely gone away.

    I’m looking forward to your next review at least as much you’re looking forward to writing it, Mike. πŸ™‚

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  3. [Note: WolrdWithoutShrimp posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Hey mike, great review! I’m gonna have to rewatch S7 now…

    I love “Lessons” for many of the same reasons you mentioned. However, sometime during that or one of the other early S7 episodes, I remember that the Potentials show up later, and my day is ruined.

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  4. [Note: Doppel posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Great review, mike! It reminds me how much I like Season 7, despite of all its faults. I love those quotes – if it weren’t so late at night (or early in the morning technically) I would have laughed to heart’s content! Bring on the review for Beneath You!!

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  5. [Note: Sam posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    What a pleasant surprise to wake up to. Good morning, Mike! Great review. I loved the lightness of this episode–a “detox effect” is the perfect description of what it had on me, without question. (I’m so glad you convinced me to go past Normal Again) Still, what I especially love is the series going right back to the beginning… which it DOES, in the best way possible. I have the feeling this is just a sweet, warm setup for a rich, dark and intimate season, and I can’t wait to see what happens.

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

    A great review, it made me want to re-watch it (again!) The change of mood was such a relief, it almost made up for the silliness of the plot. And the return to the roots of the series was such a great and nostalgic idea. Even though Sunnydale High is slightly different, it still has a way of making life interesting for the Summers girls. I really don’t understand what Spike is doing down there in the basement though (there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of empty crypts in Sunnydale), but it is also a nice reminder that Sunnydale High was where they first met. And Buffy’s expression when he says “Buffy, duck…” is priceless. I think that her patience with him is just due to the fact that she cannot reconcile this pathetic wreck of a vampire with the Spike who tried to rape her a few months ago.

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

    Harfang, re: what Spike is doing in the basement, I think the First dragged him there very much on purpose. Close to the Hellmouth seems to be where its hold of him is the strongest – elsewhere it generally has to resort to the trigger thing.

    Also I can imagine Spike not really wanting to go to a crypt. Not only does he now have a soul (which no doubt makes him pretty damn ashamed of the sort of unlife he’s been leading), it also seems to me as though even when he’s capable of some sensible thought, he doesn’t think himself ready to face Buffy. And living in a crypt he would be sure to run into her pretty quick, what with those nocturnal activities of hers. So the school basement makes about as much sense as any other underground place outside graveyards.

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  8. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    Quick correction HarFang, Spike and Buffy didn’t meet in Sunnydale High. They actually met outside the Bronze after Buffy killed Spike’s rival/test subject. Spike’s first words to Buffy: “Nice work, love.”

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  9. [Note: AaronJer- posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    HarFang/Paula, it wouldn’t really have to be the first causing Spike to gravitate to the Hellmouth. All evil thing already gravitate toward it. Since Spike isn’t in a state where he can make rational decisions, it only makes sense for him to go close to a place he’s being subconsciously pulled towards. It would have been interesting if he was IN the room where the Hellmouth was buried, standing right on top of it.

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  10. [Note: AaronJer posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    It occurs to me that I directly referred to Spike as evil.

    I didn’t want to say demons, because bad people with magical power like Ethan Rayne automatically go there too. And saying ‘magical things’ doesn’t sound right either, because nobody thinks of Spike as specifically magical. I just don’t know what word to use for that.

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

    Principal Wood’s mistake is, of course, in hindsight a clue: he already knows she’s the Slayer, and in his mind is the deep assumption Slayer = mother, even if someone else’s mother…

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

    A particularly nice stylistic point that jumped at me is that the episode is bookended with power comments from enemies sharing the same appearance (and more: the First’s copied minds seem to be perfect copies of the original persona bar motivations, access to the First’s memories as well as its own, and presumably soul, bloody scary if you ask me, in that universe I’d try to avoid dying really *hard*). At the start, Buffy says, as you say,

    “It’s about power. Who’s got it. Who knows how to use it.”

    And at the end, the First says:

    “It’s not about right. It’s not about wrong.” — as the Master
    “It’s about power.” — as Buffy

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  13. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    I’d never made that “get out get out get out” connection between Dawn and Janitor Zombie before. That’s pretty funny actually! I really like the episode Lessons. It has a good vibe to it, and I agree that it feels completely different from last season. It also looks different in subtle ways. The colour’s sharper, and the lighting is brighter, much like the scene in Grave where Buffy climbs out into the graveyard. I also love how well-rounded the characters seem after the summer break. Dawn’s “to serve men is a cook book” sassy bit makes you completely fall in love with her (likely for the first time ever), and Buffy has so many cute moments. This is a great episode, I’d give it a B+

    *** “The way I think this should be read at this stage is that since Buffy is back to her strong, confident and decisive self, she’s just plain above being afraid of Spike now – she knows she can handle him both mentally and physically, if need be.” ***

    Paula, originally I had always been sceptical about Buffy’s reaction to Spike in this episode, but this actually makes perfect sense. Kudos!

    Another great review, Mike, your best in a while! And you finally learnt to spell ‘definitely’ with two ‘i’s! ;P

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  14. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on February 16, 2009.]

    @Nix:

    Actually, Wood doesn’t know she’s the Slayer. He thought she might be some sort of demon, which is why he offered her a job, etc…to keep a close eye on her.

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  15. [Note: Paula posted this comment on February 17, 2009.]

    Paula, originally I had always been sceptical about Buffy’s reaction to Spike in this episode, but this actually makes perfect sense. Kudos!

    I’m positively blushing at this, Wilpy. πŸ™‚

    I want to add though that even I would have trouble buying this scene if Whedon hadn’t made this encounter such a total surprise and such a weird experience for Buffy. And elaborating: not only does she find Spike while she’s in the middle of a hectic supernatural rescue operation, he also looks and acts so odd from the first second that nothing she may have thought she would do or say if and when Spike made another appearance in her life, well, applies. As she tells him in the next episode, she wasn’t even really sure he was real.

    And adding my open question about this specific episode: doesn’t anybody else wonder who it was who put the talisman in the school bathroom? Or whether it may have been Spike (in which case I guess the First would have put him up to it)?

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  16. [Note: Alejandro posted this comment on February 17, 2009.]

    Leelu

    Actually, Wood knew she was the slayer from the begining, he tells her that in “First Date”. He tells her that he hired her because he knew that the school was on the hellmouth and that Buffy could be needed there, also because he wanted to help on the fight against evil.

    Mike, great review. Even with all the flaws this is my favorite season. After 6 years the series feels fresh and on top form. Looking foward to the rest of the riviews, really looking foward to someome treating the season with a little more fairness because is not the horrible mess some made it out to be.

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  17. [Note: AaronJer posted this comment on February 17, 2009.]

    Well, Paula, about the whodunit surrounding the talisman that nobody ever even considers… since they never brought it up again and no other obvious culprits are around it had to either be Wood or Spike. Why Wood would do it, I have no idea, but he’s the only character other than Spike in the school that would even know it’s possible. That pretty much leaves it having to be Spike. Since he specifically knew exactly what it was it kind of gives it away. It isn’t normal for Spike to have that kind of knowledge of random magical lore. (Especially given that we already know there’s more than one way to summon zombies/ghosts/zombie-ghosts in this universe)

    The strange thing is that Buffy doesn’t just assume it’s Spike’s fault OR look for who did it. She just sort of pretends it won’t happen again and it doesn’t become a problem. That, my friends, is poor writing and very nearly an ‘idiot plot’.

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  18. [Note: Paula posted this comment on February 17, 2009.]

    AaronJer, well, I think there’s a third possibility: those boys from the school who were trying to raise demon in “Help”. Judging by their activities then, I wouldn’t put some random talisman-dropping (for fun or whatever) past them. They are going to school on top of a Hellmouth, after all.

    Also, Spike does actually demonstrate knowledge of fairly random supernatural, magical etc. stuff from time to time (it’s, e.g., him who picks up a book and starts looking for some specific spell to cure Giles’s blindness in “Something Blue”.) It’s not surprising, either, since he’s been a demon and living adventurously in that world for rather a long time already.

    That said, I still think it pretty probable that it was Spike who did it. Why Buffy never looks into it is admittedly a bit of a question. She may simply have a lot on her mind right now, what with trying to protect Dawn and the shock of Spike suddenly being back and all weird in a basement, so after managing to rescue Dawn and her schoolmates and get the talisman destroyed, the next big problem in her mind may easily be “what’s up with Spike?” rather than “who put the talisman there?”. She’ll soon find out about his soul, and I guess that (together with the Hellmouth) satisfies her as to why he’s effectively insane, so the more sinister possibilities won’t really hit her before CWDP/”Sleeper”. And at that point the trouble Spike is in is already rather worse than just leaving nasty talismans around.

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  19. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on February 17, 2009.]

    So glad you started reviewing S7 finally, it happens to be my personal favorite season. Your thoughts on this episode pretty much mirror mine to a T.

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  20. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on February 18, 2009.]

    @Alejandro:

    From what I can remember, when Wood takes her out on that “date,” he told her he wasn’t sure if she was a demon or a Slayer or what. That’s what the “date” was supposed to find out. But I suppose I could be remembering things incorrectly. But I swear he said something along those lines. I’ll just have to re-watch that episode so I can know for sure, now. 8P

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  21. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on February 18, 2009.]

    Oh, and in regards to no follow-up on the talisman thingie, just because there wasn’t an investigation on-screen, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one at all. Really, it wasn’t THAT important who used it, anyway, so the writer’s didn’t really cover it. Although, I agree that it was most likely Spike, via The First.

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  22. [Note: AaronJer posted this comment on February 18, 2009.]

    It really would have only taken one or two lines to remove the problems surrounding the talisman. I fully realize it isn’t that big of a deal since it was just a MOTW type problem… but… it’s always better to disguise MOTW as not MOTW when possible, and they had a perfect opportunity to do so by either having Spike say he did it later, or even just having Buffy WONDER for two seconds about who might have made the damn thing afterwards.

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  23. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on February 18, 2009.]

    So good to see another review!

    One thing I wanted to point out, that I think I would have put in the “pros” section: When the First is talking to Spike and morphing into every one of the past seasons villians, it actually IS each of those people. Not literally, I suppose, but the mannerisms, the way the talked, what they talked about… Warren was a misogynistic ass with his “everything useless unless you’re baking” line (which was actually funny). Glory talks about how wonderful she is. Adam talks about everything being in place, and even calls Spike “hosile 17”. The Mayor (awesome, as always!) talked about selling his soul. Drusilla talking about singing in the dark. And the Master talking about Buffy. Good stuff.

    I just always loved that part.

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  24. [Note: MBenzN posted this comment on February 21, 2009.]

    I always thought the Talisman was Amy’s. Amy’s responsible for Willow’s upcoming situtation too, after all. Who’s to say she didn’t get to work a little sooner?

    Also, we do see Carlos again. He’s oe of the kids Buffy interviews in Help.

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  25. [Note: Tom L posted this comment on February 21, 2009.]

    “Oh, how delicious Spike’s arc is this season.”

    Really? I hate most of it. It began well, but it became ridiculous. Oh, well, this is something that can be said about season 7 as a whole.

    However, the score is great, indeed. And the fights are cooler too.

    I like Lessons. Actually, I like the first seven episodes of season 7. From Sleeper on, things just go completely off the rails.

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  26. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 21, 2009.]

    Tom, I think you’re going to find I disagree with that assessment. But, I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves. πŸ™‚

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  27. [Note: Adam posted this comment on February 21, 2009.]

    I agree with you Tom L about season 7 starting off good– I think some of the episodes are amazing like Conversations with Dead People and Selfless for example. Sleeper, in my opinion, is great also; I actually think it’s an underrated episode. However, starting with post-Showtime the show almost becomes too bad to watch (the superfluous potentials don’t make it any better either).

    Anyways, Lessons was an average episode in my opinion. I don’t consider it a bad episode but it certainly isn’t a very memorable season-opener. It could’ve been better.

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  28. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on February 22, 2009.]

    I think the Potentials bring the season down for me. They just annoy me. I have never just absolutley HATED a character in BtVS, until they came on. I never hated Dawn, like alot of fans. But the Potentials make me cringe. And a couple of them had terrible British accents. Makes me shudder.

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  29. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 22, 2009.]

    Season 7 definitely has its flaws, and the Potentials certainly contribute to those flaws. But, I feel a lot of fans let their hatred blind them to all the awesome stuff that’s going on too.

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  30. [Note: Sarah posted this comment on February 22, 2009.]

    Great review. Although it wasn’t the attention getter of an opening episode along the lines of Bargining, it was, in my opinion typical season opener. Looking back at your reviews even most first episodes got “B” grades. What I’ve liked about Buffy is how the tention builds over the season and a fun, fluffy first episode is how they get that done. The tailmen thing was a bad loose thread, can’t really forgive that. But like you said this episdoe has a detox effect; the color is bright, the action fun, the characters are in a good place. A good way to begin…

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  31. [Note: Sam posted this comment on February 22, 2009.]

    I agree that the potentials were somewhat whiny/annoying, but it makes sense. If you were in their shoes, how take charge would you be? In addition, since there were a lot of them, there wasn’t enough time to close the series and flesh out all of them while still tying up the character arcs for the principals. Needless to say, I don’t think they detracted from the season all that much. I should also say that I’m amazed by S7; I think it ties with S2 for the series’ best.

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  32. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on February 22, 2009.]

    I completly agree with what was said above. I shouldn’t have ranted like that. The Potentials didn’t really take away from season 7; in the way that I liked the idea of the story. And I did feel bad for them. Just sitting around, waiting to get picked off has got to a tense situation. My comment above was just a little bit of a bitchy-rant thing.

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  33. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on February 23, 2009.]

    Sorry to side with the majority here, but the Potentials also annoy me no end. Now I do like season 7, and how it bravely chooses to open up to new horizons and possibilities instead of seeking closure. And intellectually, I find the “every girl a Slayer” conclusion very meaningful; it’s just that I really hate the way it is handled. Too many characters, not enough characterization –sometimes it’s like the scriptwriters took Dawn at her worst and made twenty of her. Even so, I guess fans would resent the Potentials less if this wasn’t our last chance to spend time with OUR heroes.

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  34. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on February 24, 2009.]

    I agree with you, HarFang. I would just like to add that I like Dawn. While she could be irritating, we grew to love her. She had one of my favorite lines in the series, and it was her second episode. When she says,” Oooh, vampires, scary. They die from splinters.” Love it.
    But the point that the potentials drew away from the main cast is very true. And a very good point.

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  35. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on February 25, 2009.]

    This review is pretty much on spot, though I think the main plot detracts from it more than you admitted, and thus I would have given it a B- or even C .

    The scenes where Buffy interacts with Dawn, Xander, Principal Wood and Spike are excellent, as are the scenes between Giles and Willow. The entry of The First has to be one of the best scenes in the series, and the musical score is half of it.

    But the “Zombies appear for no reason and get nasty” plot is a lost cause. The writers could have found something more exciting that was more directly tied to the season arc.

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  36. [Note: Lighs posted this comment on February 25, 2009.]

    The biggest problem that I had with the Potentials was not that they directly took time away from the main characters, per se (in retrospect, I cannot remember that many Potential-only scenes), but that their presence prevented the main cast from interacting in the way that they normally would. They disrupted the group dynamic that we’d gotten used to over six seasons. And as HarFang pointed out, this was the last chance for us to see the characters whom we’d gotten so attached to, so we’d naturally resent anything that detracted from that experience.

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  37. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on February 25, 2009.]

    “Season 7 definitely has its flaws, and the Potentials certainly contribute to those flaws. But, I feel a lot of fans let their hatred blind them to all the awesome stuff that’s going on too.” – mikejer

    Speaking for myself, I don’t _hate_ the Potentials, but I do think they hurt the season. It’s not because I dislike them, but rather because every minute of screen time the Potentials got was screen time that another, more interesting character was NOT getting. S7 ignored too many main characters for my liking. The Potentials didn’t help with that problem.

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  38. [Note: Tom L posted this comment on February 26, 2009.]

    Adam, I don’t dislike Sleeper, it’s just when you look in retrospective, this is the point where the show starts to miss its spark. When Mikejer posts his reviews, I’ll be more specific.

    About the potentials, I totally agree with Lighs and WorldWithoutShrimp. And I don’t think my hatred for them (although I like Amanda and Vi) blinded me. The potentials usually piss me off, but many other things piss me off too.

    Xander gets NO character development this season. Oh, ok, there is some Anya-related stuff, then he is the eye (which must be a development, since he used to be the heart), then he loses his own eye. Pardon my sarcasm, but Andrew, ANDREW, FRAKING ANDREW gets more development than Xander.

    Also, the writers dealt with the fact that Andrew killed Jonathan (bastard!), but never really addressed how Willow felt about killing Warren (The Killer in Me was much more about Willow “killing” Tara).

    Anya remained selfless until her death. Dawn was ignored by her sister and by the writes. Giles became unbearable. Buffy became not only over the top bitchy, but a very stupid “general”. And Spike, oh dear, sucked the life out of the show. Just to be clear, I loved Spike until the very last moment of season 6. I liked he got a soul, but the way it was handled at S7 ruined it for me.

    What was best on BTVS was the Scooby Gang interaction. S7 had very little of that.

    I’m glad Faith survived this season bad characterization, thought.

    And I do like the last couple of episodes…

    As I said, I’ll be more specific as the reviews get posted.

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  39. [Note: Paula posted this comment on February 26, 2009.]

    It’s clear from these comments that I have a lot of work to do this season.

    I for one am looking forward to reading you doing it, Mike!

    Speaking of which…? πŸ™‚

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  40. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on February 26, 2009.]

    Hey, Lighs, somehow I missed that you posted basically the same comment as I did right before… didn’t mean to repeat you!

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  41. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on February 26, 2009.]

    And, btw, I wouldn’t mind the loss of the old group dynamic if I thought the new group dynamic was better. But for me, Buffy Spike Potentials is simply not nearly as interesting to watch as the Core Four of the earlier seasons. And I’m saying this as someone who likes the characters of Buffy and Spike quite a bit.

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  42. [Note: aaronjer posted this comment on February 28, 2009.]

    Tom, I have to agree wholeheartedly about Buffy becoming a very stupid general, but then it’s confusing that you like the last couple episodes specifically. Buffy’s inhuman level of stupidity comes to it’s apex in the last couple episodes, where her strategy for fighting the evil horde in the Hellmouth becomes apparent. That is to say, she doesn’t have one.

    When everyone went down into the Hellmouth to go get surrounded and picked off instead of just standing at the top of a VERY tight staircase that had to be the most effective bottleneck ever left unused in all history or myth… I was just pounding my head on the wall and crying.

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  43. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on March 1, 2009.]

    Plan? When did Buffy EVER have a plan? Usually, she just barges in, wreaks havoc and kicks the villain’s ass. (Which Xander once points out, albeit more tactfully).
    Season 3 is probably the only exception to that, which is partly why I really like that finale. G-day must be the best battle plan Buffy ever came up with, especially considering it involves people who don’t have the benefit of a Slayer’s potential OR any kind of training.
    Apart from that, in every other season’s finale (I’m not even counting “regular” episodes), she 1) barged into the Master’s lair and got killed 2) had to rely on SPIKE of all people, and only managed to beat Angelus because of a sudden burst of self-confidence 4 and 5) the only planning involved in defeating Adam and Glory consisted in finding more powerful weapons 6) just got kicked around.

    So OF COURSE she was going to start the fight BEFORE making sure that Willow’s spell worked. OF COURSE she was going to pair up the most unlikely warriors against incredible odds (I mean, Andrew and Anya? Did she want them both dead?), and OF COURSE she was going to choose the most open space available to fight while outnumbered. I guess she wouldn’t be a hero otherwise.

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  44. [Note: Tom L posted this comment on March 1, 2009.]

    aaronjer, I was talking about Buffy as a character. She becomes more like her old self in the two final episodes. Bonding with Xander. The cookie dough speech. Accepting opinions instead of “do what I say” attitude. Plus, I really like how she is finally “free” in the end.

    Yes, her idea was stupid, but as a person she wasn’t the stupid general we had to endure most of the season.

    HarFang, I have to disagree with you. In seasons 2 and 5 Buffy was caught up in the middle of very difficult situations. She didn’t have time to make a perfect plan. She had to get into action. Season 6, there was no big bad to defeat, really. She just wanted to stop Willow and prevent her from killing more people. Season 1, she was going with her heart, so, yeah, no good plan there. Season 4 is the only time I think they had a bad plan when they actually had time to make a good one. And season 7, of course.

    The whole concept of Buffy thinking the turok-hans would head upstairs is flawed. Wouldn’t they kill all slayers first? Also, not even Giles and Wood would’ve stand a chance against them. But let’s save this discussion for Chosen…

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  45. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on March 17, 2009.]

    Tom, I realise that my post was very sarcastic [sorry, but I’m just wired that way]. I was not saying that Buffy’s decisions were wrong, or that I didn’t appreciate them. I was merely pointing out that, whatever the reasons, Buffy’s way of doing things seldom includes complex strategies. I think that was part of the debate with Kendra in season 2, and again wih the Council in season 5: Buffy would rather rely on her instincts than on any pre-established set of rules, because reactivity is her strong suit. (Besides, from a scriptwriter’s point of view, it is what makes for a good show. Strategies are boring.)

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

    Giles says to Willow, “This isn’t a hobby or an addiction. It’s inside you now.”

    Could it be that Joss never meant to say that Willow’s magic problems were an addiction, but rather that this is what everyone thought it was? Tara, as well as Giles here, both seem to understand that it’s not about addiction, but about using magic in the right way. Everyone else, including Willow herself, misunderstood and thought that she had to go cold turkey in order to fix the problem. But that, along with the catalyst of Tara’s death, caused her to go all out as Dark Willow. Maybe if they’d understood that it wasn’t an addiction, they would’ve been able to solve her magic issues like the coven did. But without this confusion, we wouldn’t have gotten the development of Willow the way we did. That’s why Joss did it this way.

    I miss Tara:(

    And Mike, you have reformed me. I have decided to give Dawn (the character and the writers who write her) and MT a second chance. I don’t think I’ll ever get past MT’s bad acting (IMO, she’s a horrible actress), but I will try to look past that and try not to hate Dawn. Step #1 to solving my problem. Lol.

    Keep up the wonderful work you’re doing! Love the reviews!

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  47. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 17, 2009.]

    “The true beginning”- I wanted to point out that this season goes back to the true beginning not only in terms of “The First” but in terms of who the fight-able bad guys are- VAMPIRES. Since S3, we’ve had a mayor/demon snake, a demon-y, machine-y, human-y soldier type monster, a god, and real life as the Big Bad. It’s the first time since Angelus that a vampire is the Big Bad. Even if they are uber-vamps- it’s still back to the true beginning. Buffy the *Vampire* Slayer.

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

    I enjoyed this episode, but was a little disappointed by the ‘Willow and Giles in England’ part. I mean what they showed was great (loved the “synchronized swimming” line and my heart just broke when she said “I want to be Willow”) but it would have been a lot better if they’d shown Willow meeting with the coven and some of what she was going through to recover from what she’d done and what she’d been through.

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  49. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on July 20, 2009.]

    I agree with you, Selene! I was always courious about the coven, here they missed an opportunity to show us more about it. But well, one cannot get everything…

    Very good season opener, the most impressive scene being at the end when the villains “return”. I was especially impressed by the Master… I always liked him (I think he is really charismatic) as a villain, though the opportunities of his caracter were not fully developed in S1. Good to see him again, though! The whole scene is great!

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  50. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 1, 2010.]

    Firstly to Blue Fan: That is something I also thought of and there was no payback for it. Okay, good season premiere with great new Principal. Buffy teaching Dawn in the graveyard. Dawn having a dig at the show by saying that the vampire might not know the martial arts skills yet. A mobile phone finally (cell phone over there). Buffy’s response to Wood over him telling her she belongs at the school.

    The ending was fantastic with the seasons ‘Big Bads’ returning for a cameo. Imagine Adam getting all that time consuming prosthetics for just a handful of seconds on screen. Too bad this was one of the only big moments that the First actually had.

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  51. [Note: Zaphe posted this comment on January 3, 2010.]

    Some early posts mentioned about Buffy’s reaction when she first saw Spike and that she was not afraid because of her new found confidence, etc. I disagree with it because I think Buffy was NEVER afraid of Spike. She is always physically stronger even when she was hurt in ‘Seeing Red’ she could still fight him off.

    I think the reason why she acted that way with Spike is that she was just caught off-guard. She even let him touched her face when Spike told her to duck. The other thing is I think she immediately sensed the difference in Spike at first glance. When you associate with someone for 3 years and part of it at an intimate level, you really can feel and sense the difference in that person just by looking at him/her. At the very least, she sensed no threat and she would be an expert in sensing danger.

    I always have the feeling that Buffy somehow deep down thinks that she might have played a part in the attempted rape (please see Mike’s review in Seeing Red), therefore she is not particularly resentful towards Spike.

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  52. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on January 13, 2010.]

    Nathan.Taurus: thanks a lot for your answer.

    I think, with all my respect, that this is something that should be in the cons of the episode. It doesn’t hurt it very much, but I just can’t ignore it.

    If the First can’t touch anything, hoy did that magical thing got into the bathroom and started summoning the zombies? And Buffy doesn’t seem to care about this. Why?

    This is a problem that I tend to see more in S7 than in any other season: there many plot holes that never have a payback.

    Nevertheless, I express again my love for this season and the series.

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  53. [Note: Susan posted this comment on February 2, 2010.]

    Did anyone else wonder about the First as Drusilla touching Spike when she was talking to him? I thought it was established that the First is unable to touch anything.

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  54. [Note: SeΓ‘n posted this comment on December 19, 2010.]

    @ Susan,

    This is obviously a continuity error but one can fanwank and say that Spike in his insane condition may have only believed in his fragile mind that Drusilla touched him.

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  55. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 1, 2011.]

    I love that on the very first day of the new Sunnydale High that there is all kinds of supernatural stuff going on. No need to wait and see, lol. And poor Dawn getting freak status right off the bat. On the other hand, it is great to see her in sort of a leader role. She has the upper hand on pretty much the whole school in terms of knowledge about things that go bump in the night (or day if you are in Sunnydale). And I love how she imparts her lessons to her new friends.

    I think that Buffy’s reaction to Spike was tempered because she was hypnotized by his hair. πŸ˜›

    Two silly notes from me: I loved Buffy’s outfit in this episode. I also love Robin Wood. He is very charismatic and sexy as hell.

    While I agree that the plot was very weak, I think of this as just an introductory episode for the season. It sets us up for what we need to know: Something really big and bad is coming (we learn this from Halfrek and Willow, Spike is back with his soul and seems to be tortured by it (tried to rip it out), Sunnydale High is back and as cursed as ever with a mysterious new principal and Buffy will work there, Xander will work there also as a contractor, and Willow is getting control of her magic. That’s a lot of stuff to cram into an episode…who has time to work on plot? LOL

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

    “This isn’t a hobby or an addiction. It’s inside you now. This magic. You’re responsible for it.”

    -I REALLY appreciated this line, as I couldn’t stand the addiction themes last year. It was nice to see them renege on that and return to seven seasons of character development.

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  57. [Note: odigity posted this comment on January 23, 2011.]

    “Cons:

    – The dead guy telling Buffy to “get out” in the bathroom was way too cheesy. I think the writers should have banned the words “get out” on this show by now.

    – Not really a negative of this episode, but I was sad we didn’t get to see Carlos and Kit again.”

    Wow. You’re usually spot on in the pros/cons section, but this time I completely disagree with both your cons.

    1) The janitor’s “get out!” bit always stood out to me as a particularly impressive example of what can be accomplished with very little budget. It’s just a guy in makeup jumping in from the side of the frame saying “get out get out get out”, but it totally creeped me out because of the timing of this sudden entrance from the left, the complete lack of SMG telegraphing the actor’s presence there before his entrance, and the immediate moving of the camera to put him right back out of frame afterwards. Combined with the stark lighting and the silence before and after due to lack of music, it’s an unusally raw scene. He’s far more lame in the basement.

    2) The only part of this episode I *don’t* like is the bit at the end where Buffy suggest Carlos, Kit, and Dawn should hang out. The way it’s acted, directed, and composed is so cheesy/after-school-ish that it makes me cringe. I was extremely happy to not see them again.

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  58. [Note: debisib posted this comment on May 27, 2011.]

    WHERE DID DAWN GO TO SCHOOL IN SEASON 6!? its killin me. She was a freshman in high school, but there was no high school til this episode….

    anyone got the answer?

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  59. [Note: Mash posted this comment on July 24, 2011.]

    Im going to assume that Dawn just went to the next zone school over as that is what we do in the real world – but then this is Cali so I dont know if they do zone schools…?

    Perhaps a temporary school in another building while this one was being built or the junior high could have taken on another grade to make up for the high school.

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  60. [Note: Anonymous posted this comment on November 21, 2011.]

    @Emily (regarding Post 50)

    I consider The First Evil to be the Big Bad for Season 7. The Turok-Han vampires were merely their assistants, like Darla was to the Master, like Jinx & Merk & others were to Glory, and like Faith was to the Mayor. Also, like Faith, the Turok-Hans seemed to do more work than the Big Bad.

    Maybe that’s just me though.

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  61. [Note: Brad posted this comment on January 12, 2012.]

    As always, great review for a great show. However, am I the only one surprised the most awesome dialog in television history was not in the Quotes section above? Of course I am referring to the First’s soliloquy at the end that sends chills down my spine.

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  62. [Note: Just some guy posted this comment on March 23, 2012.]

    I am posting this here, but this also applies to “amends”. I’m probably not the first one to put this together, but what the hey, I’ll share it anyway πŸ™‚

    I realize the whole issue about The First touching things is most likely a plot hole, but I like to think of it like this: Angel and Spike are evil, primarily (vampires!). The first is the essence of all evil, which means, at least for the vampiric part, the first is a PART of Angel & Spike. Perhaps this is why it can “touch” them, or at least appear to be touching them, where it cannot interact physically with “good” beings.

    Anyhow, there is my theory.

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  63. [Note: Minou posted this comment on March 31, 2012.]

    I am new to Buffy only discovering the series this year ,I will say when Spike turned up the series really started to interest me especially as I thought he was a British actor and being a Brit. myself wondered why I hadn’t seen him before .Anyway my post here is to ask why oh why was Willow allowed to get off so easily with what she had done ? Sent off to a ‘retreat’ in UK was just too ridiculous . As this post is for the first episode of season 7 I will not go into the rest of the series just say this site is amazing , I watch the episode then read the reviews and quietly agree or disagree , mostly agree .

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  64. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 31, 2012.]

    Hi Minou; thanks for the comment!

    My impression of Willow’s position at the start of Season 7 was not that of a ‘retreat.’ What Giles gave her was a second chance. He knows how much good she’s done over the years, and he felt she deserved one last opportunity to turn her life around and begin to address her personal problems. I get the feeling that the Coven did their best to give Willow the tools to properly use magic.

    As Giles says in, if not here, the next couple episodes, they will not take her back again if she goes off the deep end again. So, it works for me.

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  65. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on April 19, 2012.]

    While the concept of “going back to the beginning” sounded nice it just didn’t feel right. Everything felt slightly off and seeing Buffy in an administrative position seemed wrong as well.

    I guess the thing I disliked most about this episode is something my 12-year-old summed up in a few short words – it felt like a spin off of the original and not a very good one. Dawn seemed like the main character, with Buffy as the an anchor character to help the new show find it’s footing. By episode end, she’d even found Dawn two of her own “sidekicks” (Kit and whatever that guys’ name was). It was like they had decided to send the show in one direction and then later on, suddenly changed their minds.

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  66. [Note: Xavier posted this comment on May 2, 2012.]

    The tone has definitely changed from last season, and the dark darkness of S6 is gone [something I’m so going to miss 😦 ]. LOL @ Spike’s bad perm! Anyway, the only thing that left me puzzled was who exactly summoned the spirits, or whatever. But overall, it was an okay episode! Also, is Dawn a freshman again? I can almost remember Dawn telling her vampire crush back in early S6 that she was a freshman. Maybe the writers messed up.. or maybe I’m wrong.

    I loved the whole Big Bad scene. Super awesome! Except, instead of Drusilla, Angel should have been there. Afterall, he is the big bad of S2! I missed Glory, so it was FABULOUS to see her again. The Giles/Willow scenes were so visually appealing. Especially with the flower blooming and the endless, luscious green landscape. That was a different setting for BtVS that I enjoyed. [Aly looked pretty as well!]

    Oh, and the whole Carlos/Kit/Dawn scene at the end felt like Dawn was getting her own Scooby gang! [You know, Carlos is Xander, Kit is Willow..] Did anyone else think that?

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  67. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 19, 2012.]

    Paula, love your theory about the cultists, thank you that had been bothering me!

    Tom L, I think Same Place secretly addressed how Willow felt about torturing Warren to death.

    HarFang, I’m noticing your sarcastic voice sounds a lot like your regular voice.

    Debisib, I don’t see why Sunnydale High couldn’t be destroyed as regularly as the Magic Box: after Buffy’s school was destroyed in S 3, they rebuilt for Dawn to go in S 5-6, then that one was destroyed again offscreen (and maybe a third principal was also eaten)

    If the “addiction” discussion has not been done to death: I agree that Willow’s use of magic was addicting, but not fundamentally an addiction (more like sex or gambling than alcohol or tobacco), and the problem in S 6 was treating it as a straight-up addiction instead of the power/responsibility vs low self-esteem, and Giles/ the Coven are trying to teach Willow to use natural magic the way Tara did, as a thing in of itself, rather than the dark combat magic she had learned as a means to an end.

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  68. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 19, 2012.]

    Is anybody interested in an analogy I can draw from the Dresden Files, or should I take that somewhere else?

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  69. [Note: Alex posted this comment on May 22, 2012.]

    Ryan, I don’t think Dawn went to Sunnydale High before Season 7. I think she went to a different school, maybe further out of town. They make a big deal about Buffy going back to Sunnydale High in this episode, which wouldn’t make sense if she’d been taking Dawn there for the past two Seasons.

    Plus I’m pretty sure it would take more than a year to build a school that size!

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  70. [Note: Shask. posted this comment on October 13, 2012.]

    Did Spike asked for his soul or did the demon gave it to him because he didnt clarify what “before” meant. I mean, maybe he wanted his chip removed to be “as he was” and the demon, as demons are, just gave him his sould.

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  71. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on October 14, 2012.]

    Spike wanted his soul back, but the writers wanted it to be unclear so as to make those sequences more exiting and so they wrote everything in very ambiguous language.But it’s clear from Spike’s various statements in season 7 and season 5 on Angel that he always wanted his soul back. Plus his character-arc doesn’t make sense if he wanted the chip removed. Plus the whole trials nonsense wouldn’t make sense. He’d have gone for a brain-surgeon. Plus the writers said this is what they were doing. I really hate how unclear and confusing they made those scenes, though. Half the audience believed their “clever misdirection.” A cheap and sloppy attempt at creating drama.

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  72. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on October 16, 2012.]

    I can see where you’re coming from and I, too, share your frustration with how confused much of the audience is about this. But, the ambiguity worked for me the first time I was watching the show. I remember thinking that he was trying to have the chip removed, but then realizing that doesn’t make much sense (as he can already hurt Buffy, and it wouldn’t make sense to go to a demon mystic for chip removal). By “Grave” the soul thought finally entered my head, even if I wasn’t sure that’s what was going to happen. When it did, I was still pretty surprised and extremely excited for Season 7. I did have a concern that Spike with a soul would be a retread of Angel with a soul, but thankfully Season 7 quickly establishes that these are still two very different vampires — with or without souls.The misdirection worked for me, but I can appreciate that it might not for others.

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  73. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 26, 2012.]

    Having discovered this site only recently, I have some much-belated thoughts on Minou’s question of why Willow “was allowed to get off so easily” after what she had done. I think it’s very important to remember that Giles had his own history of misusing dark magic. In 2×08, we learned that he and Ethan Rayne used dark magic to conjure the demon Eyghon, who killed several humans that we know about (and possibly many more we don’t know about in the twenty years Giles believed himself free of the demon). Ironically, it was Willow herself who came up with a way to defeat the murderous demon conjured by Giles’ dark magic — by having Eyghon attempt to use Angel as a host, only to be killed once and for all by the demon inside Angel. So, Rupert’s dark magic body count was already higher than Willow’s, and would have been even higher but for the efforts of Willow and Angel. In addition to the foregoing, remember that Giles himself murdered Ben in “The Gift.” Giles had good reason to do so, to prevent a reappearance by Glory, but Ben still had a stronger claim to being “an innocent” than did Warren the murderer or Rack the pusher. So if you really want to enforce a “no killing humans” rule and put Willow in prison for killing Warren and Rack, you also have to put Giles in prison for murdering Ben, and Buffy in prison for her attempted murder of Faith in 3×21. Oh, you can also add a few years to Giles’ prison sentence for drugging Buffy without her knowledge and against her will in 3×12, which in the real world counts as felony assault.

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  74. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 14, 2012.]

    I still love the ending. One of the best for the series no doubt.

    As a con I have to add Buffy’s response to the dead boy. After telling him she likes the hot dead guys she adds bitchingly “I mean, I’m sure you had a great personality” with an eye roll. She really didn’t need to add that part as she came off so mean.

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  75. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 15, 2013.]

    Giles is great here with Willow (finally). It’s a shame it took him so long and a nearly end of the world to respect Willow’s powers and take action. What I mean is, if Willow’s magic and Willow had been really respected, she would have been sent to a magic school/coven or given a tutor/watcher.

    Giles of all people, knew how powerful magic is and what effects it can have on teenagers when not taught properly. Willow isn’t innocent, but I have to put some of the blame on Giles. Also, about the addiction that was very well portrayed (until the horrible “Wrecked” that turned the whole problem into addiction=drugs – withdrawal – drug-scene – no control; just to give Willow a “free pass”), I believe what Giles says is very important. It’s not about the product: magic in itself is not an addiction – alcohol in itself is not an addiction, nor is chocolate or the use of internet – the problem is the abuse/misuse of the product. In the case of Willow, the abuse could have been prevented(and she would have dealt with her issues via less dangerous means), thus the importance of an educating prevention (vs a repressive prevention).

    Also, Giles and the coven seem to focus on the magic and not the roots of the real problem [what lead Willow to misuse magic] which is not magic, but her insecurities and her need for power. I’m sorry, I’m a bit “preachy” on some subjects, because I used the show to open debates with my kids when they were teens, so maybe that’s why I insist on some particular topics that are botched, plus… I’m professionally specialized in this particular field, so I run a bit higher on emotions.

    But I agree that Willow got off easy, however, I thought her actions towards Tara were more despicable than her “vengeance spree”: Dark Willow lost the basic emotions and control that made her human. When she erased her lover’s memories, she was capable of discernment, thus fully aware of what she was doing.

    Wow, Buffy saying to the Principal: “My sister is worse than me, what about an expulsion” is made for laugh but is so so wrong. And then, Buffy of all people, being offered a job as a counselor ! It made me laugh so hard the first time I watched the show: she has a lot of good qualities, but insight into other people problems isn’t one of them.

    But then, her storming into Dawn’s class shouting was priceless and made Dawn the new high-school freak. I also loved the touch of a new trio of outcasts; Buffy, Xander and Willow replaced by Dawn, a boy and a girl: back to the beginning indeed !

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  76. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on March 15, 2013.]

    Good comments, Arachnea. I recall debating the Willow issue at length with Mike in the season 7 review.

    You’re right about Giles: he did fail her. I forget that sometimes. And Buffy as guidance-councillor? Yeah, right. Of course we know Wood had ulterior motives, but it’s a bit questionable professionally.

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  77. [Note: Monica posted this comment on August 20, 2013.]

    I’ve read through all of these in order over the past few weeks, and I was actually not looking forward to reading through all of season seven, since I’m not entirely fond of many of the storylines and developments.

    But I will admit this review definitely has me excited to read your opinion on the following episodes. In this short review I discovered two huge differences in our perceptions on this season: You like Spike’s soul arc, and you like Principal Wood. I definitely can’t wait to read about your thoughts and why!

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  78. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on April 20, 2014.]

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned the link between Willow’s comments in this episode about wanting to be herself and her thoughts last season about how she would rather be Super Willow than Mousy Willow. This makes it clear that she has in fact learned from her mistakes last season – not just her misuse of magic but also the root problem which caused it.

    The rest of the episode, barring the exceptional final scene, was solid but forgettable. 75 from me.

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

    Just a cool full circle fun fact: Dawn is the same grade in this season, as Buffy was when the show started. Cause she was in ninth last year, so this would be grade 10/sophomore year.

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  80. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 26, 2015.]

    I’d really like to see a Supernatural “Road So Far” style recap for this season (including the events of Season 6) particularly if they used the song they used for Season 9 Pat Benatar’s Heartbreaker. It would be glorious especially with all the Spike and Willow stuff. In fact any Road So Far-esque mash-up for Buffy would be something I’d really like to see and I can’t believe no one has done one yet.

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  81. [Note: Connor posted this comment on October 12, 2015.]

    I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but when Willow is having her “feel the Earth open up” panic attack, I’m almost positive that the last word out of her mouth before she regains her cool is “goddess”! It’s almost a whisper, but I really think that she says it. Easter egg style. And if so, what an incredibly awesome way to drop that hint of what she’s to become in there. She says it with bated breath. So easily passed over that if I wasn’t paying crazy attention to everything the characters were saying or doing because I’ve been so enamored in these reviews each episode, I wouldn’t have noticed (as I didn’t in all the years I’ve watched this show). Man, I love this series.

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  82. The way Spike’s hair is, is that how he wore it as William? Is he back to that now that he has a soul again?

    What a fun treat to see all the seasons’ big bads at the end. It’s interesting to me that Drucilla was one of them. Angel and Buffy were on different networks at that point, and Drucilla had been on Angel. I guess it was okay for some characters to appear on either show despite the different networks?

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