Buffy 7×22: Chosen

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 05/20/2003]

Well, folks. This is it! The final episode of the uniquely brilliant Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I feel a bit overwhelmed at not only finally making it to this review, but also at the task of analyzing what sums up seven seasons of pure emotion, thought, and excitement. My goal here is to stick to “Chosen,” so don’t mistake this for a comprehensive series review — look to the Season 7 Review for both a thorough look at the entire seventh season and the series as a whole.

When thinking about this episode I, instinctively, feel the need to ask hundreds of questions. Is this a fitting finale to the season? Is it a fitting finale to the entire show? Do all the major characters get satisfying endings? Did it work thematically? Plot-wise? Is it even fun to watch? The questions are endless. Instead of going through a long list of bullet points that need addressing, I’m simply going to let my thoughts flow and see what happens.

With that said, I will say that I feel “Chosen” fails on a plot level but wildly succeeds on a thematic and overall enjoyment level. If the plot had been sanity checked for more than a few seconds and the episode been given more room to breathe (i.e. been made a two-parter), I think we might have been looking at a perfect score. But, alas, it was not to be. What we have instead is the epitome of a great episode that’s rough around the edges. But in the end, I feel it gets the most important pieces right. So, without any more dulcet prose on my part, let’s talk “Chosen.”

You know, Caleb not actually being dead in the beginning of the episode would really annoy me in just about any other show. But Buffy has done so many unexpected things throughout its run, that even a moment like this is still able to get a little bit of fear out of me. It was always hard to tell what was around the next corner on Buffy, and all those years of throwing me off makes even the expected moments a little scary. Now with that said, why did Caleb have to get back up?

The ensuing conversation between Buffy and Angel is interesting. First of all, while I do appreciate that Angel showed up and that he brought some useful information, his attitude doesn’t really jibe with the events of S4 of Angel. Also, Buffy tells Angel that she needs him to run a second front in case she fails. Why didn’t she, you know, tell him about what’s been going on a little earlier? I know the town is shut down, but she could have told him before that. While Angel’s appearance felt very natural in “Forever” [5×17], here it feels extremely forced.

Now that my situational complaints involving Angel are over with I can get to the meat of their conversation. Well, first of all, much of it is the expected Whedon brand of funny. But beyond that, it hits on some big topics. For one, Angel pries into Buffy’s business with Spike. When Buffy says that she doesn’t “see fat grandchildren in the offing with Spike,” I feel she’s saying that she doesn’t plan to settle into a permanent romantic relationship with him at this time. The power of the relationship they share right now isn’t romantic love anyway, it’s the kind of pure love that we saw in “Touched” [7×20].

Buffy goes on to explain with the “guy thing” that “I always feared there was something wrong with me. You know, because I couldn’t make it work. But maybe I’m not supposed to. … Because… okay. I’m cookie dough. I’m not done baking. I’m not finished becoming whoever the hell it is I’m going to turn out to be. I make it through this and the next thing and the next thing and maybe one day I turn around and realize I’m ready. I’m cookies. And then, you know, if I want someone to eat m- or enjoy warm, delicious cookie-me, then that’s fine. That’ll be then. When I’m done.” For some reason beyond my comprehension, there’s a lot of people out there who absolutely hate this “cookie dough” speech.

So let me address this speech. Number one, cookie dough is delicious and no one can argue otherwise. Don’t dare speak badly of any cookie dough references! Number two, I think this little speech of hers succinctly and humorously sums her up on this topic. I think the start of this realization arrived during “I Was Made to Love You” [5×15] — that she needed to get comfortable with herself before she had any hope of really making a romantic relationship work with someone else. This was not only a beautiful insight, but it was also a brilliant one. I wish more people would take the time to get to know themselves before entering serious relationships in the hope that the other person will somehow solve all their issues and complete them.

In spending that time since “I Was Made to Love You” [5×15] to figure herself out, Buffy’s learned a whole lot along the way; what a lot of her weaknesses, problems, and even strengths and virtues are. But the truth of the matter is that she’s still young. She’s still figuring herself out. She’s not ready to settle down and start a family or even be in a romantic relationship at the moment. Not only does she not need it right now, she doesn’t even want it! Some day, when she is whole and ready, she will likely want these things. But for now, she’s content with continuing to figure out who Buffy Summers is. And so am I.

In Buffy and Spike’s follow-up conversation, she hands Spike the amulet thereby signifying she thinks of him as a champion. What an amazing evolution of their relationship. It’s really quite touching and well deserved. Also nice is that Buffy formalizes her battle strategy by something the First tells her. This revelation leads to the first part of the scene where she shares her plan with the entire group, a plan we’re not fully let in on until later. Although I’m still not too happy about how quickly tensions were resolved between the big players, I won’t lie that it is nice to see them all on the same page for the last episode. It doesn’t excuse the lack of build-up, but it’s nice to see nonetheless.

Buffy’s final speech is pretty awesome, I must say. She says to the entire group, “I hate this. I hate being here. I hate that you have to be here. I hate that there’s evil and that I was chosen to fight it. I wish a whole lot of the time that I hadn’t been. I know a lot of you wish I hadn’t been either. But this isn’t about wishes. This is about choices. I believe we can beat this evil. Not when it comes. Not when its army is ready. Now. Tomorrow morning I’m opening the Seal. I’m going down into the hellmouth and I’m finishing this once and for all. Right now you’re asking yourselves what makes this different. What makes us anything more than a bunch of girls being picked off one by one? It’s true, none of you have the power that Faith and I do. So here’s the part where you make a choice.”

Besides wrapping up Buffy’s character arc very well, another thing “Chosen” does quite well is spread around the love to a lot of the other major players. There’s sadly just not enough time to give everyone the closure they really deserve, hence why I think it was a grave mistake not to make this is two-part episode, but with that said there’s still a lot of nice bits and pieces. One of these is the interaction between Faith and Wood, who finally make a real connection with each other. Clearly the sex-fest in “Touched” [7×20] didn’t mean anything, at least to Faith. But it’s in their scene here and a moment at the end of the episode that they strike a real connection that goes beyond the physical. Not that their night together isn’t addressed though.

Faith says to Wood, “It’s nothing personal. It’s just, after I get bouncy with a guy, there’s not that much more I need to know about him.” Wood then challenges her and counters with, “That’s bleak. … That’s good to know, ’cause for a second there, I thought it was more defensive, isolationist slayer crap.” This dialogue exchange is not only hilarious, but it’s also very revealing and evolving. It’s so wonderful to see Faith growing as a person in the final episode. Willow also gets a moment of self reflection when her and Kennedy are discussing Willow’s fear of what she may do when required to perform this insane spell. Although I’ll never feel that Kennedy is the right person for Willow, I appreciated their scene together here.

I know there’s a lot of people out there who feel the Buffy and Spike fade-out scene was a cop-out, but I personally love it. The truth is that you can’t make everyone happy, ever. I personally don’t care what, if anything, happened down in the basement, because the foundation of real love between the two of them at this point is all that really matters — that’s where the transformative power, confidence, and strength in each other comes from. Based on what Buffy told Angel earlier in the episode, I doubt Buffy and Spike did anything physical, but even if they did it would only reaffirm the connection they already shared rather than say anything new.

While the first half of “Chosen” is very character focused, the second half is very action-focused. Buffy’s entire plan is fun to watch, but not very well thought out. This is another instance of where the details of the plot get lost. Although plot mishaps aren’t high on my list of priorities, when there’s enough of them it starts to chip away at an episode’s integrity. The real problem here is that Buffy’s entire plan makes absolutely no sense. Metaphorically speaking, which I’ll get to in a minute, it’s brilliant. But plot-wise, it’s brain-dead. Let’s think about this…

So the plan is to open the seal, have the big guns (except Willow) and all the potentials jump into it, use Willow to make all the potentials into slayers, and then have ~30 or so slayers fight thousands of ubervamps? Not a very bright plan to start with, but even this plan could have been a whole lot better. For one, why not wait until Willow works her mojo before jumping into the Seal? Even better, why not open the Seal and use it as a chokepoint to slaughter the ubervamps that try to cram through it? And didn’t the Seal always close itself up before? Why does it stay open this time to allow them to escape? On top of all this, there’s Spike and that amulet. Just how much do they know about it that we’re not told on screen? There’s a little bit of evidence to suggest those documents Angel gave Buffy had more information than we’re given, but it’s confusing to say the least. It’s a pretty safe bet that without that amulet going all holy fire and brimstone that the entire group would have been slaughtered and brought about an early apocalypse.

Also, why are the ubervamps so suddenly not uber? Was the one in “Showtime” [7×11] a special one? If so, why do all the others look so similar? And how does a human Anya kill one let alone kill another by slicing it in half? These are vampires, right? So, it’s safe to say that the details of this entire plot not only don’t add up, but are a complete mess. This is sloppy plotting Joss, I’m sorry to say. This should have been air-tight for the series finale.

Okay, so from a plot perspective Buffy’s plan is pretty stupid. So let’s now talk about it from a thematic perspective. From this vantage point, it looks a lot more successful. We can tell something special is happening when there’s this beautiful parting shot of the core four having a throwback conversation to the early parts of the series (I loved Giles’ “the earth is most definitely doomed”) which transitions to Buffy walking down a hallway with Xander and Willow, leaving Giles behind. Then Willow pulls off on her own leaving only Xander and Buffy. Then Xander pulls off on his own leaving Buffy to herself — all alone. Isn’t this familiar? But wait! The camera pulls back to show Buffy walking into a new family: a whole slew of soon-to-be slayers with Spike also at her side. This is of great thematic significance, since it represents the concept that Buffy’s burden of being alone can now be shared — she’s not the chosen one anymore. Fantastic directing here.

When the battle inside the Seal begins, we get a great flashback that finishes Buffy speech from earlier. This speech sums up the entire theme of the episode, the season, and a long-running theme throughout the series. That’s the theme of female empowerment and the use of power in general. Buffy sums up what this means when she says, “So here’s the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power? Now? In every generation one slayer is born because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman [Willow] is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers. Every one of us. Make your choice.” After seeing the shot of the girl stepping up to bat with a confident smile on her face to Buffy’s concluding “Are you ready to be strong?,” how can you not get a little emotional and smile? Just a beautiful speech and a beautiful moment. This entire plan is a wonderful resolution to Buffy’s series-long burden of loneliness and lack-of-connection.

Although this is a really positive and inspiring moment, I can’t ignore the brand new can of worms it opens either. By having Willow use the power of the scythe (and tapping into the hellmouth) — Buffy’s power — to give all the potentials the Slayer’s power, one could very easily argue that although it’s being used for good in this fight against the First, isn’t Buffy really just throwing her burden onto a bunch of unsuspecting girls?

I suppose a counter-argument can be made to say that by sharing the power between all of them, that burden is manageable, but that really boils down to how precisely this power was shared. If all the potentials have the same strength and slayer heritage as Buffy, they’ll certainly have each other for moral support in handling the new burden, but they’ll all still have to deal with many of the drawbacks of being a slayer, albeit not the Slayer. Even if all the potentials with Buffy agreed to this infusion of power, isn’t Buffy relieving a bit of her burden at the expense of all these other girls? And what about the big elephant in the corner of the room: the potentials that weren’t part of Buffy’s group — the ones that never got asked if they wanted this burden and implied responsibility? Faith is a perfect example of the Slayer’s power gone wrong. Buffy’s move is gutsy and fascinating, but not without its own moral grayness. By doing this, is Buffy really all that much better than the Shadow Men (see “Get it Done” [7×15])? Whether completely thought-through by Whedon or not, it’s a satisfying yet gutsy way to end the series thematically. I think I’m a fan.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten most of the theme and plot talk out of my system, I can spend a little time just admiring the action. Just how awesome does this episode look? Like, wow. They really outdid themselves here. Most of this CGI and choreography looks movie-quality. After 144 reviews, I hope you’ll indulge me while I let my stream of conciousness flow out while watching all of this…

“Ahhh, Willow’s all cute and totally awesome. Ooo, scythe toss to Buffy! Felicia Day (Vi) looking badass! Slow-mo vampire decapitation with the scythe!! AWESOME! OMG, Andrew and Anya are hilarious together and… bunnies! Go Giles and Wood, you are both way outnumbered! Grin to Xander and Dawn’s ‘greenhouse effect.’ Anya got sliced in half! Woah! No! Wood got hit! And poor Amanda! Sadface! I’m glad the fight’s not all moonbeams and pennywhistles though. Buffy getting back up from her stab-i-tude, putting the First in its place, and then kicking all kinds of ### is giving me goosebumps! Love the ‘determination face’ slow-mo shot. Epic. Also epic? The music. Robert Duncan, you rock! ‘Oh bollocks’ and how ’bout Spike’s beautiful holy laser of justice? Xander looking for Anya is a big sadface! Buffy and Spike’s final farewell is perfect! I love the flaming hands. And woah to Spike completely incinerating! What a fitting way for him to go! Awww, Dawn looks heart-broken from the back of a departing school bus thinking Buffy isn’t going to make it. Buffy’s building jumping looks great! A little excessive? Sure, but why not! And how about all of Sunnydale and the hellmouth getting sucked into a giant crater!? Now that’s a way to end the series with a shock and a bang! And then they follow that up with a reference to Spike always crashing over the Welcome to Sunnydale sign. Ahhh, such a sublime ending.”

Okay, thanks for indulging me in that slobbering geekfest. The parting scene of the series warrants a bit of discussion. First of all, the moment when Buffy jumps off the bus and looks back at the open road is very meaningful and exhilarating. In that moment, we feel what Buffy’s feeling: freedom. My only complaint here is that it’s too short. I would have appreciated that shot to have been held for several seconds to let us soak it in, and for the ‘what do we do now’ discussion to have been extended. With that said, I still liked what we got. I enjoyed Xander hearing how Anya died, Wood faking-out Faith to prove that she actually cares for him, Giles’ mention of there being another hellmouth in Cleveland (in what I believe is a reference to “The Wish” [3×09]), Willow correctly pointing out that they did something far more important than saving the world, they changed the world, and the final moment of the series being on Buffy’s smile for the unknown future that awaits her.

“Chosen” is a tough one to score. A part of me desperately wants to give it huge accolades and a fitting score for the finale. But the fact of the matter is that this is not the perfect finale. In many ways it is but as a whole it’s not, and to ignore that ‘just because’ would be cheating all of you out of a completely honest analysis. I actually think I might still be being a bit overly generous, but it’s something I’m content with. At the end of the day this is still one of the best series finales I’ve ever seen.

So that’s it! I’m sure I probably missed a few things, but that’s what you faithful commenters are here for. I hope all of you had fun over the four years I spent writing these reviews, sharing my thoughts and opinions of the best television show… that I know of. Although exhausting, I’m very happy I accomplished this childhood desire (reviewing a television series) with one of the few shows that really warrants this kind of attention. But before I ride off into the sunset, don’t forgot to check out my upcoming comprehensive Season 7 Review! It’s shaping up to be quite the parting gift. 🙂

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Angel walking away like he did in “Graduation Day Pt. 2” [3×22]. Nice little throwback there.
+ Dawn kicking Buffy. Simple and effective.
+ Spike’s drawing of Angel on a punching bag. Priceless.
+ Buffy calling the First “The Taunter.” Nice.
+ Giles, Xander, Andrew, Amanda, and a sleeping Anya playing a game on the night before the big battle. Funny, and totally fitting.
+ Nice to get one last parting shot of the Summers’ home.
+ Xander telling everyone to go to the bathroom now, so there’s no problems during the fight. There’s a little plot detail that always gets ignored by other shows and movies. Very fun to see it addressed.
+ Andrew’s pre-battle shout-out to his brother Tucker (see “The Prom” [3×20]).
+ Hurray for White Willow! Although I think this end could have been led-up to slightly better, it’s still a satisfying end to her journey.
+ “That was nifty!” Classic Willow. 🙂

– How does everyone know where this Pagan Temple is!? I suppose the vampires could track Buffy’s scent, but it still doesn’t explain Caleb.
– Angel gets whacked by Caleb and isn’t even able to move until right after Buffy slices him? Did Whedon think we wouldn’t notice that?
– The quick remainder to Buffy’s fight with Caleb. Liked the moves and the slicing, wasn’t quite as wild about Caleb just letting it happen.
– How does that scythe always stay so shiny? Is it mystically imbued to look like it just came off the manufacturing line?
– Why the crappy CGI shot on the Seal? Seems unnecessary considering all the quality CGI in the episode.


Foreshadowing

* (WARNING!!! ANGEL SEASON 5 SPOILER AHEAD!!!) Buffy’s comment involving putting Angel and Spike in a room together to duke it out. Well, to all our enjoyment this actually happens in the Angel episode “Destiny” .
* (WARNING!!! ANGEL SEASON 5 SPOILER AHEAD!!!) Spike yells out from a dream “I’m drowning in footwear!” This is likely a humorous reference to the fact that Spike will end up in L.A. next. Cordelia pointed out in “Welcome to the Hellmouth” [1×01] that she’d “kill to live in L.A. That close to that many shoes?”


[Score]

91/100

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251 thoughts on “Buffy 7×22: Chosen”

  1. [Note: AnonDK posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Great review, Mike 🙂 Congrats on completing your Buffy journey!

    I do agree that the plot elements are a little weak, but I can gladly ignore them-I never watched Buffy for it’s plot coherence, rather it’s character relevence and powerful thematic structure *denial, denial*.

    This is one of my favourite episodes, and a pitch PERFECT way to end the series. It’s bold, it’s daring, it’s funny, it’s wholly satisfying, it’s poignant, it’s all those pretty words I can’t be arsed thinking about at the moment (ask me again when I haven’t just woken up!).

    Anyway, thanks for reviewing this show, Mike-it’s been incredibly enjoyable, and you have a great gift of combining analytical prowess with just total fanboy geekiness! Kudos to you 🙂

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  2. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Congratulations on completing your reviews. Firstly I really enjoyed this episode and felt it closed the series well. Watching it I have a strange feeling knowing this is the final episode of my favourite television series ever. I believe it would of been better had it finished with a two parter and given more time to the core four characters who started the show. Also I feel the part where Buffy is on the ground after being stabbed a little milked. But overall this is an episode with some flaws but because it is the finale I can forget some of them, perhaps not the overhead shot of Sunnydale being surrounded by sand which is different from what we have seen before. Long live Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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  3. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Thanks, Mike for one hell of a review. Although I would love to see you give this a perfect score, I agree with you on the plot holes. But, see this is why I would never be able to review a show with this much analysis because I am bias. Yes, I agree with that there are plot holes, but I have so much love for this finale, and yes I cry a lot. I can´t find enough words to describe how wonderful this is and how I love it to death! I am bias with Buffy, so analysing it with so much detail like you do is impossible for me!

    On the foreshadowing section, this may be stretching a bit but Spike´s dream may signify what will happen to him. Footwear is what we use for protect the feet or better the sole. And when we say sole, it looks like we´re saying “soul”, so that dream may imply he´s drowning in his soul, that he will know to do with his “soul”.

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  4. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    It was an entertaining episode with great action and dialogue, but honestly I just can’t forgive it for the massive plot holes. The supposed magic powers of the scythe, the supposed magic powers of Spike’s amulet, the fact that the uber vamps are now so weak that a few humans can hold them off …. it was just a terrible mess that seemed like it was rushed for a conclusion because the writers had no other ideas how to end the final battle.

    The episode left me entertained but far from happy.

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  5. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Thanks Mike for this amazing review and the site in general. I wish I’d been here from the beginning,but glad to be here for the end! (oh it’s like my experience with the show in fact ^^)! And you made me smile so much during my reading of this review thank you! It’s very rare to find readings which combine so well insightful analysis, geekiness and love of the show!

    About the ep, I can just form two words: Too. Short.

    It’s a perfect score for me, like you Buffyholic. Not really objective but Chosen just…makes me high! ^^ Or to be true to my own french words “me dépose sur un nuage”…I have like this huge bubble of love for the show in my chest from the firts second to the end credits. And that’s a very unique feeling. No other show, no other episode gives me this feeling. Just Chosen. And every – damn – time.

    And what about that? I may be dumb for not seeing this end coming (did you see it?) because it’s so logical and it makes so much sense, but I was stunned, like, really stunned. 144 episodes and this show still surprised me…

    What was also wonderful in this finale to me is the message. When I saw it the first time, I was still a teenager, I was 15, I wasn’t confident at all… So the way Joss made the scene of the empowerment touched me so much…I was thinking “hey I can be one of those girls!” and I was having the feeling that Joss was talking directly to me…

    So, I have a wonderfull experience of this episode, and the feeling is still very strong 5 years ago…

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  6. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    About the “drowning in footwear”…if I remember correctly, it was a pure bit of ad lib on Marsters’ part. So really, it has no meaning whatsoever. haha But I still liked your interpretation of it in the foreshadowing section. 8)

    Also, Whedon is aware that he made the ubervamps much easier to fight in the finale. He did it purposefully to make the scenes more cinematic or whatever. He mentions it in the commentary for that episode. He also mentions that Gellar and Marsters played that scene with the handholding and fire, etc., all wrong. haha He couldn’t get them to do what he wanted, so he eventually just said fuck it and keep whatever he could get.

    I agree with you that this episode is far from perfect. But the end result is still fairly satisfying. And you are right about the piece “Chosen” that plays during the battle finale. That is a wonderful piece. Have you ever noticed they use it in commercials? haha I had a cow the first time I heard it in one.

    As good as this episode ended up being (despite its flaws), I still consider “The Body” to be the best episode out of the whole series. Really, I consider “The Body” to be the best hour of television I’ve ever seen. haha Seriously…it’s freaking awesome.

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  7. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    I don’t care much for the female empowerment theme (cuz I’m not female), looking back, the power theme started in Lessons was nicely done. The season opens with the First Evil declaring a Nietzsche like philosophy: the will to power with the powerful rising over the sheep (Note I think Nietzsche’s writing is actually quite moral when used correctly, although its missed used so often to justify evil that I don’t have a problem with this).

    In the middle of the season however we’re shown the complete opposite. What was there in front of us all the time: Xander’s power. Not a physical asset but a spiritual one. The goal was not to seize power and face the unknown alone, because that way has problems, as shown in season 5 and 6, but to watch, wait and see as Xander does. Xander knows what is going on, unlike Joyce is seasons 1 and 2, he fights to change things, but he does it not for power or respect, but simply because of what he sees.

    Chosen solves the problems posed by taking the two philosophies and fusing them together. Buffy takes the Nietzsche like power of the First and the Slayer line and she shares it with those who don’t have the power, but want to change the world. The theme ties in strongly with female empowerment, but it is self-contained in its own right. 🙂

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  8. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Brilliant review. I think you nailed everything that needed to be said, although I might’ve liked some more discussion of Spike and Anya’s deaths.

    I still remember when this episode first aired. It was such a blast to watch. I kept glancing at the clock – I was both eager to see how the episode would end, and desperate for it to go on forever. The final scene certainly satisfied me beyond the telling of it. The way Buffy smiles, and the music rises, then dips as it cuts to black… perfection. And unlike most others, I’m not left wanting more. ‘Chosen’ was all I needed and then some.

    One thing that personally shocks me is what Joss said on the commentary about continuity and plot being expendable in the face of theme and emotional meaning. The thing is I don’t think he even believes this at all, because any fool can see that translates as very bad and very lazy writing. To be frank, I think this is one of the many examples of Whedon making up excuses because he can never be wrong in his eyes. He’s a good writer most of the time, but boy, is he a huge narcissist.

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  9. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Thanks for the comments and kind words all!

    @wilpy: Expect more discussion on the deaths in the comprehensive Season 7 Review.

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  10. [Note: Tara posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Excellent review Mike, as ever, but I agree that Chosen does not warrant a Perfect score. Like many others here, I feel this episode needed to be a two-parter, as the character arcs and the whole scythe plot felt very rushed, as though the writers realised they were running out of time and had to hurry to wrap things up.

    Unlike Angel’s Not Fade Away (words cannot describe my love for that episode), where despite its brevity, all the characters had been written as though their respective arcs were drawing to a close, Chosen culminates the development of Buffy and Spike wonderfully, but seems to leave some of the other characters by the wayside. Xander was shamefully underused this Season, and although Anya was never a favourite character of mine (I admit I’m rather bemused at your Anya-love, Mike), I was annoyed at how quickly her death was glossed over in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. This could have been an effective means to show the brutality of war, but personally, it felt more like the writers just didn’t care about her character any more by this point. *Spoiler* In Not Fade Away, Wesley’s death was one of the most poignant moments in Angel’s entire run, something both awful and heartbreaking, a haunting and evocative close to one of Mutant Enemy’s most complex and developed characters *End Spoiler*. I know Whedon wanted to end the show on an upbeat note, but Xander’s lack of reaction just didn’t ring true for me. I also still have the bitter taste of Empty Places in my mouth which tarnishes the episode for me.

    In addition to my qualms about character, you rightly pointed out many of the plot-holes. However, as Angel deals with the fallout of Willow’s spell, I’m happy enough to overlook this to a degree, but the whole Scythe arc felt far too rushed. In your review of The Gift, you rightly pointed out how effective the episode was in drawing upon elements used throughout the Season (the Dagon Sphere, Olaf’s hammer). The Scythe, however, feels more like something tacked on to the end of the Season rather than an integral part of it.

    The plot-heavy nature of Chosen has another issue – it lacks the emotional heights of Becoming and The Gift. Even a finale heavy on spectacle, such as Graduation Day, managed to be chock-full of emotion, thanks to its two-part structure. Although I don’t think the pay-off in Part 2 was quite as effective as it could have been, Graduation Day Part 1 was astonishing: a character-focused episode of slow and painful build-up that racheted up the tension to almost unbearable levels before exploding into Part 2. I was expecting something of this sort in Chosen, but it never came.

    I do like this episode a lot (I defy anyone not to cheer when Buffy tells the First: “I want you… to get out of my face!”) and Rob Duncan’s score… exquisite. Although the montage of newly awakened Slayers was a bit over-the-top for my tastes, the episode totally had its heart in the right place. Buffy and Spike’s interactions were wonderful, as ever (although Joss’s rather transparent attempt to please all the fanbases was irritating – Buffy was always a show that did its own thing and never pandered to the masses). The Hellmouth in Cleveland shows how this show can STILL get a chuckle out of me after seven years. I think the atmosphere was right too, just as Angel’s sombre and subdued finale fit that particular show – Chosen hit all the right thematic notes. The image of Buffy standing on a sunny desert highway, no longer alone as she was in Restless, was really rather beautiful (and a retrospective emotional gutpunch when you remember Not Fade Away closes in a dark, rain-soaked alley).

    So, all in all, Chosen is a rather mixed bag for me. Not perfect, as Not Fade Away was, some of the edges definitely needed ironing out. But a decent send-off for Buffy nevertheless.

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  11. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Thank you so much for all these reviews Mike! As usual this one doesn’t disappoint!I have to say I would have marked lower than you, but maybe my expectations when watching Chosen for the first time were too high. The big underground fight really didn’t do much for me, as it was all brute strength and little strategy besides the Willow gamble –and Spike’s last-minute surprise.

    One thing though, I am a bit surprised that nobody mentioned Buffy and Spike’s cryptic last exchange. I mean, WHY? We’ve been waiting for that declaration for years, we’ve even been promised that it would come… and then Spike just casually brushes it off? It was his reward, the reason why he had changed so much, even gotten his soul back! Just so she would be able to love him. Granted, his denial is only words and we know better, but it’s a cruel way to part with him. After much thought, I can see why Spike would say that (to lessen her grief / because he still cannot believe in her faith / because he won’t ever be Angel), but I still cannot accept that Buffy simply walks away.

    Anyway, I agree with Tara on the fact that as finales go, this one is acceptable but not fantastic, despite the wonderful score and beautiful symbolism. I think Buffy deserved a longer ending, maybe not even a 2-parter but just a full hour-long episode.

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  12. [Note: Rick posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    @Darth Marion

    I would not consider the First’s philosophy Nietzschean in any way. Politley, I think you yourself have misunderstood Nietzsche’s work in the same way as most 20th century commentators have. Nietzsche does not advocate a master morality over a slave morality. Yes, each has good and bad elements, but at its foundation each is a degenerate way of thinking about ourselves. Master, or “noble,” morality is brutish and unsophisticated, while “slave” morality is petty and resentful. More importantly, each posits values as “right” or “wrong” as if these concepts told us something objective about the world. Nietzsche’s fundamental teaching was that the “overman” – i.e., the best form of human – is life-affirming in that she does not constrain the possibilities of mortal and moral life by submitting to preconceived notions of right and wrong.

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  13. [Note: Darth Bunny posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Rick, first, I’m Darth BUNNY not Marion. I’m named after Anya’s worst nightmare 😉

    It has been awhile since I’ve read Nietzsche, but I do believe he put master over slave because the masters were capable of thinking on their own. They were not immoral (like the First) but amoral. Nietzsche is however very easy to twist into something it is not; I remember reading that Nietzsche despied the Nazism even though Hitler considered Nietzsche a hero of the Nazi Party.

    The First Evil itself is a complex entity, which is something the season didn’t explore very well. As an individual conscience, I think the First does believe in a warped concept of Nietzsche. The First itself does reject notions of right and wrong, something Nietzsche was well known for endorsing. Of course the First seeks power, not an overarching goal of Nietzsche.

    I find it interesting that each of Buffy’s villians was a foil to the scoobies themselves. Season 6 – The Trio were all about shortcuts to life. Season 5- Glory was a selfish character in contrast to Buffy’s sacrifice. Season 4 – Adam needs no one else to support him. Season 3 – The Mayor represents the biggest authority figure in the city. In season 7, a season where power and connection are the central themes, the First is an entity which connects all the evil in the world yet also self-sufficent.

    The part about Nietzsche that I wanted to empashize is the fact that indidivudal beings are empowered, but often at the cost of their ability to sympathize. Nietzsche doesn’t say this of course, but if your the one with the power to determine morality, even your own path, than your alone. A problem which constantly confronts Buffy and a sense of despair which the First feeds on and uses.

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  14. [Note: Rick posted this comment on October 15, 2009.]

    Noted.

    P.S. I realized I had addressed you by the wrong name…I went to edit it then got distracted by another typo! I am a very flawed person you see. When I’m not forgetting things, I’m making typos. Thank god my hair is perfect.

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

    Another ‘thank you’ from me, Mike! I got so into BtVS when I first watched it (on DVD this year!) that I didn’t know what to do with myself when it finished, and reading your wonderful, comprehensive, insightful reviews in a matter of weeks really helped bring me down gently.

    This episode: I agree with most of the criticisms and I think it didn’t really do justice to the series at its best, but at least it was fun and spectacular and touching to watch. As much as I love Spike as a character, I didn’t mind that they didn’t have a happy ever after, but I thought the Angel stuff was a bit contrived and made a mockery of the emotional highs and lows that Buffy and Spike weathered together.

    OTOH, the potential slayers montage is beautiful to watch; you’d have to be an emotional toddler not to appreciate the changes in those girls and women. Kudos to the writers there for conveying so much in such short scenes.

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

    Wow it’s really over =(

    Buffy is my all time favorite series and I guess since I love it so much I had extremely high expectations for the ending. It’s true, there were tons of plot holes that have left me wondering since 2003, but honestly, I’m over them. This show has given me so much and I think the intention of the ending was a good one.

    The most shocking and strong scene for me in the episode was Anya’s death, so brutal and so graphic. I may be stupid but I didn’t see it coming, and I loved Anya! I was crying already by that point but after the killing I was just floored. I never really liked Xander that much and his final scene with the stupid mall jokes just made me dislike him more… I mean hello…

    On a positive note, Willow as always amazing and Sarah Michelle’s performance was just incredible. The whole Scooby Gang worked well together and I still miss them.

    On a side note, I wish that while they were changing the world they could have made boys Slayers too… that way I could secretly have my powers and move on with my life lol 😉

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer will always be part of the fan’s lives, it marked t.v. history and really did change the world. Hope a movie comes soon!

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

    Wow, all the mixed emotions i feel at a season close i feel here and now reading this last review… congratulations on such an awesome achievement Mike and the patience you’ve shown to all us comment scoobies.

    I agree with you that Chosen is ragged but wonderful – there are a gzillion plot-holes and questions but somehow i just don’t seem to care. Angel and Buffy’s scenes are great but one sided – i wish Xander had been there instead since Boreanaz is so off his game here (he got his mojo back for Angel Five thank God IMO). You’re right about the play fair between Bangel and Spuffy – in retrospect the dream sequence in Season 8 seems obvious. Season 8 has also addressed the downside to Buff’s empowerment policy. Talking of which, to the poster above, I’m not female but i care for the empowerment theme a heck of a whole lot. In fact it’s the DNA of the show.

    Mike you nail all the best pros, Willow’s ‘Nifty’ is not only her best line this season but the most in character moment too. All to brief but it’s good to have her back. Giles too. All the scoobs’ interactions are justly remembered from this episode.

    I too love the Vi moment – but i do think some of the deaths flash past too fast for a proper emotional impact.

    But then there’s Spike. What a send off!

    Overall it’s a quality episode shining in an uneven season seven and it does have all the themes and qualities that sum up the show as a whole. What it lacks somehow is genuine threat and power and a certain X-Factor – which is one of the reasons why i prefer the Angel finale.

    Oh and Robin and Faith? That’s pretty Rockin’.

    Well Sir, i look forward to your season review – but from the conclusion here i can only repeat: Well Done, Kudos, Huzzahs – and possibly cake.

    ‘best,

    wytch

    (apologies in advance for any dyslexic typo frakk ups)

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  18. [Note: Nix posted this comment on October 17, 2009.]

    How does everyone know where this Pagan Temple is? There’s a bigger question: how did Buffy, she-who-hangs-out-a-lot-in-graveyards and by this point knows every graveyard in Sunnydale like the back of her hands, possibly not know about this Pagan Temple by 7×21? Did it suddenly materialize?

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  19. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    Nix, I always assumed it materialised out of nowhere, but hey, let’s face it, it was a dumb plot contrivance.

    It’s a real damn shame that season seven is plagued with so many plot errors and overly convenient macguffins. Plots were never the focal point of this show, but when they’re glaringly contrived and full of holes, it’s too much to ignore. The sad thing is a lot of these could’ve been EASILY avoided. What if the scythe had been foreshadowed in dreams or from messengers throughout the season, with hints to the power it contains? What if Joss had explained in a throwaway line that the ubervampires were less powerful than the first ubervampire because of mass production? What if he’d explained in a throwaway line that the ‘sharing power’ spell could only be performed under a Hellmouth for X reason…? There is so much and yet so little the writers could’ve done to fill in these gaps, but it all boils down to sheer laziness. 😦

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  20. [Note: Jim posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    I find this episode to be really rushed and disappointing, I can scarcely believe Joss wrote it. Spike’s exit is so rubbishly handled with the nice Magical Amulet of Death killing him with no explanation or buildup whatsoever. Anya’s exit is blink and you’ll miss, I didn’t even notice she’d died on first viewing.

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  21. [Note: Susan posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    Glad to see your review of this last episode and I’m looking forward to your Season 7 wrap-up. I’ve waited a few days to respond as I tried to figure out how to say what I wanted to say about this episode. Unlike most of you, I guess that I was pretty disappointed in it. Plot-holes abound as has been mentioned by many, but I think that what really bothered me was the very ending. The final comments that were made by the group really bothered me; mainly I guess Xander’s response to Andrew when he found out that Anya had died. And the lack of acknowledging the deaths of the ones who didn’t make it and the lack of recognition of whatever it was that Spike had done. And I really thought that the smile on Buffy’s face was pretty weird. I was sad to see the series end this way. I don’t know what I expected, but I was quite disappointed.

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  22. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    I’ve never understood the widespread hate for Xander’s response to Anya dying. Was he supposed to weep and break down in Andrew’s arms? That’s not very Xander…. And given that they were all fully prepared for people to die in the battle, it’s not like it was a huge shock for him.

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  23. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    yeah, that did’nt bother me so much… We can lay that on the aftershock of the big battle can’t we? When people win a battle they jump in joy, even if their friends lay in the battlefield (even right in front of them). The grieving comes after…

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  24. [Note: Tash posted this comment on October 20, 2009.]

    Oh man, after your wonderful insights into the Buffy/Spike relationship of Season 7, you don’t even give a by your leave to their final moments together. Oh well it’s not as if Buffy said to Spike that which was predicted in ‘Help’…… (You kinda foreshadowed it)

    Wait, She did. And there was music swelling, and they were doing the ‘staring into each other’s eyes thing’ that could’ve been so corny, but was so sad, and then Spike, who once didn’t want the world to end because of Manchester United, sacrificed himself.

    The character of Spike and James Marsters great acting were the only reason I bought the Angel series on DVD. I had never really been interested in the Angel spin-off, until I found out that Spike joined the show in Season 5. I’m compulsive when it comes to owning DVD’s of TV series – I have to own all of the series no matter how awful and cringe-worthy the show may get. (I’m looking at you, ‘Las Vegas’ and ‘Prison Break’)

    And AtS is an awesome show – made more awesome with it’s relationship with Buffy and the characters that crossed over. Made even more awesome with the Spike and Angel relationship – two ensouled good-looking vampires, who have a long history together….and according to Spike had ‘Never been together, well except for that one time’, and both in love with the same woman.

    And while I rate BtVS as the better series, ‘Not Fade Away’ was the better conclusion. And while Spike’s sacrifice and the goosebump inducing moments of seeing each potential slayer around the world stepping up (the girl standing up and grabbing the fist of her abuser just gets me every time) With the blink and you’ll miss it death of Anya and the scoobies standing on the edge of a crater ending, while sorta great, is nothing compared to the heart-wrenching death of Wesley ‘Do you want the fantasy now?’. ‘Yes’ and the battered Angel crew standing in drenching rain, facing overwhelming odds and quipping;

    [A horde of demons and monsters is bearing down on the surviving members of Angel’s team.]

    Gunn: Okay, you take the thirty thousand on the left…

    Illyria: You’re fading. You’ll last ten minutes at best.

    Gunn: Then let’s make it memorable.

    Spike: And in terms of a plan?

    Angel: We fight.

    Spike: Bit more specific?

    Angel: Well, personally, I kinda want to slay the dragon.

    Angel: (series’s final words) Let’s go to work.

    Very rarely do Tv shows get better and better, while they may have a great first season, time and time again they degenerate in horrible premises that are marginally saved by the characters. (Yes, ‘Las Vegas’ and ‘Prison Break’ I’m still looking at you)

    Buffy The Vampire Slayer did not fall into this trap, And it was a great series, which has in turn spawned these great reviews that whenever I read them, I fall in love with show all over again.

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  25. [Note: Sam posted this comment on October 20, 2009.]

    POST #1 — Gratitude

    I’ve got a lot to say, so I’m dividing up my comments into three posts. First off, this post is to thank Mike for his four years of service to reviewing this brilliant television series, one of the great works of fiction, contemporary or otherwise. I was late to discovering this website, but I have spent a considerable amount of time over the last year engrossed in your reviews and in conversation with other Buffy fans; it has one of the most diverse group of people in the Buffy community I’ve ever seen. So thank you, Mike, for spending all this time. Anyone can write character fanfic or silly ‘ship stories, but you have contributed something genuinely valuable to the public discourse about this show. This remains Joss Whedon’s best effort, and I believe this is the best website out there devoted to the show.

    Three cheers for Mike!

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  26. [Note: Guido posted this comment on October 20, 2009.]

    I’ll just chime in as an appreciator, not only of your reviews, Mike, but of the many astonishingly insightful comments that follow them. I hate to see them come to an end, but look forward to what you and others have to contribute on your new website, including its forums. Thank you, and looking forward to your Season-7/series wrap-up.

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  27. [Note: Blue Light J posted this comment on October 21, 2009.]

    ***WARNING: ANGEL SEASON 4/5 SPOILERS AHEAD***

    I just want to chime in on Angel’s appearance: contrary to above opinions, I believe it’s ENTIRELY within character for him to show up and try to help Buffy.

    Angel at this point has just been through quite a lot: he’s ended world peace (sort of), lost his son (sort of), and sold his soul to the devil (sort of). After all this I find it completely plausible that he’s ready to give up on some level. His life is nothing like the way he wants it to be, and he has little left to look forward to in LA. Hence, he decides to head up and help Buffy in this battle. He still loves her in a he-always-will kind of way, and he figures, why not go fight in her apocalypse?

    Angel also knows the amulet is unstable, yet he’s willing to wear it. I’ve always figured he pretty much doesn’t care what happens; if they win, maybe he’s with Buffy again. If he dies, or burns up, or whatever that thing does, that’s ok too. I figure Angel’s just about to give up.

    The rest of the encounter I find to be completely in character, from the kiss hello to the jealousy, to Buffy ultimately sending him away. It all works for me.

    The only problem I have with the encounter is the lack of the Buffy/Angel theme…it would have been nice to hear a little of that for old time’s sake. Though I think the music they do play can be heard as almost a counterpoint, or even an echo, of that theme, reflecting that their relationship is not quite where it was years ago. Still…

    Anyway, thanks for giving me something to read every night after my nightly Buffy viewing. It’s nice to hear opinions other than the ones in my head.

    J

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  28. [Note: Sam posted this comment on October 26, 2009.]

    POST #2 — Sharing the Power

    There are many people in the Buffy community who feel that Buffy’s decision to activate every Potential all over the world is murky and morally questionable. I am not one of those people. I feel that what Buffy and Willow did in “Chosen” is a hard-won and impeccably morally right decision, for two reasons:

    1. The First was dispensing its minions all over the world throughout S7 to dispatch every single Potential, resulting in the murders of many helpless, defenseless young women. By using the Scythe to activate the Slayers everywhere, the surviving girls would no doubt feel disoriented at first by their new powers, but their chances of surviving the Bringers were exponentially increased once their newfound Slayer strength kicked in. They now had a chance of defending themselves. This brings me to my second point.

    2. When the Shadow men created the Slayer, they doomed one girl on the planet to a lonely life of solitude and premature death. The weight of the world rested on each girl’s shoulders, and when she died, another girl would experience the exact same tragedy. No one could help her. When Buffy had Willow activate every Potential, she REVERSED that tragedy. Buffy didn’t just save herself; she saved every single woman who might ever be called upon to be a Slayer. Now, no one girl would ever have to bear that burden alone–Buffy created a worldwide network of Slayers, and since Willow would soon be casting locator spells left & right, the Scoobies would find these girls and would enable them to become a community. In a sense, Buffy basically created a world where Slayers are the supernatural version of police & firefighters–people who potentially risk their lives every day in a potentially life-threatening situation, but the job itself is not a death sentence.

    In other words, every single girl who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer, and now they can all have normal lives, because no one woman alone bears that burden. I see no gray area in Buffy’s decision–only morality. It is good and right and positive and everything else glorious one can say. Buffy absolutely did the right thing. She didn’t just free herself–she freed everyone like her.

    We are ALL slayers now. 🙂

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  29. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 27, 2009.]

    Just come to notice, that this is the second worst ‘point scorer’ in the Top 25 yet it is in 15th place. I think your absolute stupidity in grading this episode is what caused it’s downfall to a miserable 92 points. you suck.

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  30. [Note: Sam posted this comment on October 28, 2009.]

    I agree, Shannon. It sounded totally OOC for Buffyholic, which is why I thought it was so funny. I didn’t clarify that in my last post, and I should have. I interpreted that post as a joke-post; if it was serious, then it was mean.

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  31. [Note: DarthMarion posted this comment on October 29, 2009.]

    I’d go definitely for the impostor theory, the same thing happened on Ryan’s review of Slouching towards Bethlehem

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  32. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 30, 2009.]

    I’m me. Sorry about the outburst, I just had a really bad day and I don’t mean anything personally. I apologize, and after re reading, I agree with your post. Sorry everyone 🙂

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  33. [Note: Miscellaneopolan posted this comment on November 2, 2009.]

    I’m a little surprised that no one has talked about the wonderful little scene where the gang is playing Dungeons and Dragons. What a great way to unwind before an apocalypse! In an episode so necessarily focused on plot, it was nice to see the characters just being themselves. Giles is bored and kind of embarrassed, Xander is being goofy, Anya is dead asleep and Andrew is doing what he does best, telling a story. People have mentioned that the episode needed to be longer in order to smooth out the wrinkles in the plot, but I think it also could have also used more quiet character moments like this one. Seeing the characters relaxed makes it all the more meaningful when we see them go into battle.

    Plus, I remember just about dying when I watched this episode for the first time and heard Trogdor the Burninator mentioned.

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  34. [Note: Kate posted this comment on November 4, 2009.]

    I liked the throwback to WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH (not graduation day, part 2, Joss Whedon said so on the commentary) and thought it was very fitting.

    Is there a hacker on here? Because respectable posters are doing weiiiiird stuff………….

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  35. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on November 4, 2009.]

    Yeah, still not convinced that was buffyholic originally.

    I gotta say, I wasn’t all that psyched with the montage of slayer activation – can just 3 girls even be called a “montage”? Like the Buffy/Spike two second basement flash, the montage was way too short, and it wasn’t at all clear to me what was actually going on – 3 quick glimpses of girls maybe gaining power, but not actually being shown doing anything obviously remarkable left me a bit dissatisfied. Thought that scene could have been much cooler, but maybe that was part of having only an hour for the finale.

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  36. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on November 5, 2009.]

    Does anyone else start flexing their muscles and saying “I can feeeeeeeeeel it” when the slayers get activated? Or is that just me being a loser?

    Great review, as always, Mike. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I did also hear that the Buffy/Angel scene was originally a lot longer. Angel explained that he’d had a son and fallen in love with Cordelia etc etc but it got cut because it was too long and didn’t fit in with the tone of the episode.

    Also, I love Vi, and Felicia Day, but her fight scenes were too fake-looking for me. It was too obvious that she was just flying around on a wire.

    Is it time for a dollhouse review website now, Mike?!!!!!!

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  37. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on November 7, 2009.]

    @Shannon, wasn’t it more like 5 girls being activated in the montage? The baseball girl, the Indian girl, the Chinese girl, the trailer park girl, the African girl… Although it ultimately doesn’t matter. But I don’t understand why you wanted more from it. We were being TOLD by Buffy that they were gaining power, so why would we have any reason to doubt?

    @Sam, I completely agree with you regarding the Slayer power sharing. What people don’t seem to understand is that even though the original power was demonic, it was made more demonic because of the context in which it was used: one girl in all the world being forced by a patriarchy to do their bidding. In Chosen, Buffy changed it so future generations could CHOOSE whether they wanted to use their power. It was a necessity for the world that far, FAR outweighed anomalies like the occasional slayer who would inevitably abuse her power, or a slayer like Dana in ATS s5.

    The thing is it is always about context. Fans who say Buffy ‘raped’ these girls like the Shadowmen did are treading water on the surface. The power was only ever a burden to Buffy because she was forced to use it, or felt an obligation to use it because she was the only one who had it. Not only do Buffy and Willow reject the Shadowmen’s ideology in Chosen, they reject this power being innately evil. It can be a blessing for these girls because they needn’t feel obliged to use their power. It can be seen like the right to vote. Some women vote, and some don’t, but at least they still have the right to it, and the power to use their voices.

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  38. [Note: Liz posted this comment on November 11, 2009.]

    LeeLu said:

    “He also mentions that Gellar and Marsters played that scene with the handholding and fire, etc., all wrong. haha He couldn’t get them to do what he wanted, so he eventually just said fuck it and keep whatever he could get.”

    Joss’ actual words (transcribed from the Chosen commentary):

    “This was an interesting scene because both James and Sarah came to it from the wrong place, really. They were playing things falling apart, and the terror of it, and I said that what I wanted was for them to completely distance themselves from it. I explained how all the sound was going to drift out.”

    “I thought that this was a sort of romantic image, the two of them. We actually did it with real fire but their hands were all gelled up and you could tell, so this was added CGI, and looks beautiful. I thought it was a nice comment on their relationship. But what I basically told them was “Play the romance. Be proud of him. Love him when you say you love him. Love her when you say she doesn’t love you. Forget about the crumbling world. For that period of time it doesn’t exist.”

    It’s a cinematic trick but it’s a necessary emotional one. I was surprised that they hadn’t come there because usually the three of us come to a scene in exactly the same place. And this time it really was sort of different. And eventually Sarah said “If you have what you think you need I think we should move on, because I’m not sure I understand how this works.” But I look at the two of them get together and their work is tremendous. But that is part of making TV and movies.

    “Sometimes you’ll get a take from an actor that blows you away and they’ll go “Oh, I wasn’t feeling a thing, I was thinking about something else, can we go again?” And you’re like, “You just gave me gold” and they’re like, “But I didn’t feel it.” I’m like, “The audience will.” Sometimes you can let them have another and sometimes you just say, “Trust me. The audience will be there, because I was.”

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  39. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 12, 2009.]

    Hey, this is the original buffyholic. Just to say that the last post by “buffyholic” have not been made by me and I appreciate the support given by Sam and Shannon. You guys already know me!

    Mike, about the S7 review, can I make a wild guess? I bet you´re gonna post your review on your birthday.

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  40. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on November 17, 2009.]

    The thing is it is always about context. Fans who say Buffy ‘raped’ these girls like the Shadowmen did are treading water on the surface. The power was only ever a burden to Buffy because she was forced to use it, or felt an obligation to use it because she was the only one who had it. Not only do Buffy and Willow reject the Shadowmen’s ideology in Chosen, they reject this power being innately evil. It can be a blessing for these girls because they needn’t feel obliged to use their power. It can be seen like the right to vote. Some women vote, and some don’t, but at least they still have the right to it, and the power to use their voices.

    Technically, I believe it was a rape . . . but on the part of the three shamans, not on Buffy’s part. It became a rape from the moment they were born as Potentials. This is my main problem with the Slayer line. This is not a power that any of the Slayers – past and present – and the Potentials were naturally born with or asked for. It was forced upon them by an act of magic by three men.

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  41. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on November 23, 2009.]

    @wilpy – I watched this episode again this weekend, and while you’re right, there are actually 5 girls shown in the montage, I still think it could have been done better. I love Buffy’s speech and I just don’t think these quick clips pack the same emotional punch as her words, with the exception of the trailer girl grabbing the hand of whoever is about to hit her. I guess the trailer girl is what I wanted for the whole montage – yeah I hear Buffy’s words, so I know what is happening, but I wanted to see this newfound power making a difference in these girl’s lives. I wanted a more visceral experience, as in the case of the trailer girl – it’s clear that she is standing up, that the slayer power has given her the strength to defend herself. A girl leaning against a locker or lying on the ground doesn’t really communicate the same thing to me as this girl grabbing the hand of her would-be abuser. I hope that makes sense. It’s really just a 5-second shot in an amazing episode though, so not a huge deal.

    So during the big battle, has anyone else noticed the Turok Han who gets thrown off the cliff by one of the Potentials and lets out an astonishingly human scream? Cracks me up.

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  42. [Note: AttackedWithHummus posted this comment on December 9, 2009.]

    I just wanted to give thanks to Mike for writing such comprehensive reviews and (albeit driving me insane with waiting times) well, I’m glad that you almost parallel my opinions on all things Buffy. I’ve only been reading since /07 and I’ve been working up the nerve to add my commentary, but you deserve all the shout outs you get since this website is a work of reviewing art.

    With regards to this review, I agree (painfully) that this episode did not merit a perfect score as I so wish it did, but it’s a good sign that you didn’t soften up on it and allow it the same ranking as some of the more brilliant, unmatched episodes of the series. I appreciate you still treating it like any other episode from an overall stand point. Kudos to you in general and I’m dying for a Season 7 review/series review (God knows how long that’ll take)!

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  43. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 8, 2010.]

    I don’t usually add another post, but I just watched the episode again and noticed that when Caleb hits Angel with the urn and then throws it off camera you can hear it bounce off the wall with a plastic sound, as it is plastic. Also when the scoobies are in the school hall, just behind Xander in the background a crew member is seen walking into shot. And Vi bouncing back with the kick…what?

    Also I commented on Buffy and her wound before, but come on! She is near death and then she can stand back up and fight just because she is being mocked. And don’t get me started with her running and jumping with such a wound.

    Love Anya killing a Turok-Han by cutting it in half…what the?

    And I just realised that the episode is a two parter as it picks off right where the last finished. Similar to last season.

    Could of done better but it is still bittersweet to know it is the final episode ever and the characters looking toward the future. And let’s forget about the royal screw up with ‘The Girl in Question’.

    Long live BtVS.

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  44. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on January 9, 2010.]

    Hey, Mike!

    Hope you’re well. And hoping to see the Season 7 review some day… I miss your excellent analysis!

    Sx

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  45. [Note: gus posted this comment on January 16, 2010.]

    thank you for all the reviews you wrote, it was a great guideline to get a deeper understanding of this very memorable series.

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  46. [Note: Blue Fan posted this comment on January 17, 2010.]

    Fantastic ending for a fantastic series.

    Altough I could agree that it could have been much better, it is a pretty decent send-off for the show.

    I’d like to add more about the continuity in the story. There is also a reference to Season 4. When the gang is playing Dungeons and Dragons, Andrew is wearing the same Red Riding Hood custome Buffy worn in “Fear, itself”. I think it was a really nice touch.

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  47. [Note: els posted this comment on March 4, 2010.]

    any one else see the fire, hand-holding scene as the true completion of buffy’s arc from season six?

    “i touch the fire and it freezes me”

    now it’s out of love

    brilliant reviews mike

    Like

  48. [Note: Shiny posted this comment on March 6, 2010.]

    Every time I re-watch the series, I come back to this site and read the reviews and the comments – I’ve never been into the online Buffy fandom (conventions are another thing entirely – yep, I’m THAT kinda geek) so it’s great to read what other people thought of it. So thank you, Mike 😀

    I’m actually in the middle of watching Season 6 right now, but I wanted to see everyone’s thoughts on Chosen. For me, the plot was fairly hokey. Angel being in the episode at all really bothered me; I do like the continuity and that B/A got a chance to be together in the finale, but his character felt as though it had been shoved in there like a jigsaw piece that didn’t fit. Sort of a “well it’s the last ep, we have to get Angel in there, it’s a pre-requisite for the fans”.

    One of the season’s major downfalls for me was Kennedy. I know some people like her, but she seriously grated on my SOUL. There’s a difference between feisty and obnoxious, and I didn’t warm to the actor’s attempt. I disliked her before she harangued Willow into starting a relationship, and my dislike built as she continually proved to be a total ass. She loved bossing people around, slagging off Buffy and getting her own way – I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I was kinda hoping *she’d* be one of the Potentials who didn’t survive.

    On a similar note, I agree that the turn-around from Empty Places was ridiculously abrupt. I bought it, don’t get me wrong, but it should have been done in its own episode, more to give the fans time to forgive the Scoobies for kicking Buffy out. It taints the first half of the episode for me; I’m sitting there thinking “dude, it was only yesterday you kicked her out of her own home!” and stuff. The emotional impact isn’t satisfactorily addressed, either, since then she’s back and it’s off to work again, no time to deal with the uncharacteristic behaviour from EP.

    All this said, Chosen is still a success in my book. I watched this episode at one of the mini-cons (held every month, wherein we’d see next month’s episodes – handy for a UK fan) and it simply took my breath away. The Slayer speech, overlaid with the shots of young girls and women becoming strong, gives me goosebumps every damn time. Just thinking about it right now gives me chills. That’s when I tear up (the only other episodes that make me cry are The Gift – and not so much anymore – and The Body) and I see the complete circle to the story of the Vampire Slayer. Being a Slayer doesn’t mean being alone or giving up your life. It means strength.

    Some people have commented negatively on Buffy rising up after her wound, but I think that (or something very like it) needed to happen. It ties in within the theme of being strong; overcoming your wounds, persisting in the fight, getting up when you’ve been knocked down, and letting nothing stop you. My reaction is so instinctual that I loved this before I could put those words to it. Having the strength to keep fighting, to not give up, is a powerful message.

    There wasn’t a dry eye in the hall when the series finally ended. As sad as we were about the losses of the episode, and the loss of the series itself, Buffy looking at the clear horizon – having finally defeated the Hellmouth – was one of the most beautiful moments in the series (geographically incorrect though it was!). It was something we’d never done before or since, but the fans burst out into applause despite most of us sniffling.

    I’ve rambled on FAR too long, but this was one of the most stirring pieces of television for me. The premise of a young girl in an alley suddenly beating up her attacker was wonderful, but moreso was the premise of that power being shared with other women. Quite feminist, yes, but so moving, so inspiring that it affects me on a visceral level. The flaws of the season, of the episode itself, simply pale into insignificance next to the beauty of the message. I actually try not to watch Chosen too much because of the emotional involvement with it. By the time Buffy gets to “Slayers. Every one of us.” I’m gibbering. And then there’s my favourite line in all the Buffyverse…

    “Are you ready to be strong?”

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  49. [Note: Person posted this comment on March 14, 2010.]

    Anya- one of the best characters ever! I teared up whe she died, AND when Xander was looking for her and she was laying RIGHT THERE. Atleast let them take the body with them, to give her a respectful burial! I guess she died saving a life, good for her. But I would have preferred Kennedy to be the one. She’s okay, but she’s just not right for our Willow, and tell tell you the truth, she’s a bit of a brat. Anya had way more character developement and they just threw her in the trash like she was just another vamp to be dusted! I would’ve loved to see Xander and her give it another shot in the comic. *tear*

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  50. [Note: Max posted this comment on March 17, 2010.]

    The lack of “uber” in the Ubervamps did annoy me. But when I originally watched the entire series (at British TV speed, without any spoilers as a teenager) I loved this ending. It really did payoff for 7 years devotion to the show!

    On a side note, where’s that season 7 review?

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  51. [Note: David@Prague posted this comment on May 1, 2010.]

    Should they hired somebody able to create at least average plots, BtVS would great.

    This way … it was still good. But Whedon deliberatedly decided not to create something beautiful and I can not forgive that.

    Now, all you fans of BtVS, please dust me. Cause I certainly deserve no less.

    Like

  52. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on June 4, 2010.]

    From what I can tell, no one’s mentioned the best part of this episode: Willow’s “pierced tongue” comment and Dawn’s reaction. Priceless.

    It was a good finale, but not great. Too many effects, not enough character moments. I’ll admit, they did a pretty good job wrapping up each of the character’s arcs (I loved White Willow), but the First turned out to be the weakest villain since the Master. And Angel’s return did nothing for me.

    Terrific show, although far from the best ever.

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  53. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on July 22, 2010.]

    This was the best show i’ve watched and i’ve seen alot but why didn’t buffy come when spike sstarted screaming for her

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  54. [Note: Wolven posted this comment on August 19, 2010.]

    but I LIKE COOKIE DOUGH! it doesn’t have to be baked to eat it! lol

    Great review. I hear you on problems with the plot but I kind of overlook them and think of ways the plot works.

    For example Willow making them slayers before actually opening the Seal, it would’ve made sense and Buffy would have had the axe the whole time, but I assumed that they needed to give their blood or something for it to work, but I guess that assumption is wrong actually!

    Perhaps the ubervamps were weaker because a) they were attacked by surprise… the one ubervamp was the predator in the previous episode, these ones weren’t expecting this and b) might they need blood to gain some strength? I’m not sure but just saying.

    I loved the Spike/Buffy scenes again, from the Angel drawing on the punchbag (that was great) to her giving the amulet, the way she gave it… saying “Angel said this belonged to a champion” or something to that effect. Spike really earned it and Buffy shows that Spike earned her respect… fighting for his soul and everything, the Spike arc over the series has been really amazing, what a legend!

    I’d just like to say I love it when they do the flashback… I mean, when Buffy was giving the speech and then they did the flashback… I liked it when they did it in ‘Showtime’ as well, although I though the telepathic thing was a bit weird.

    Didn’t quite get why they had to fight the First so soon, how would the first open the seal? After Caleb died it didn’t feel so apocalyptic, but at the same time, it was much more of an apocalypse than most of the other season finales. I guess it was because the first never manifested itself towards the end, you know what I mean?

    Anyways, I thought the episode balanced well the humour, action, drama, romance of the show well, just as it has done over the series… and really came out strong in the end. I found this episode very engaging and I know there have been holes in the plot the last few episodes but I still love this season.

    I wish they made season 8 for TV… it’s so epic, I wish it never ended 😦

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  55. [Note: C posted this comment on October 7, 2010.]

    Great review, I agree completely! What a fantastic way to end this beyond fantastic show!

    A scene that really caught my attention was when Willow spoke to Kennedy about her fears of losing control and Kennedy responding that she’d be her anchor. This is visualised by having Kennedy lie in the lit part of the room and Willow sitting up so that she is right between the light and the darkness. While Kennedy is saying she’ll keep Willow grounded, she places her hand on Willow, creating a link between them 🙂

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  56. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on October 9, 2010.]

    it was touching when buffy held spike’s hand even though it caught on fire it’s too bad she never finds out he comes back to life unless andrew tells her

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  57. [Note: Alice posted this comment on November 5, 2010.]

    Nice job! Your review sums up pretty much everything in my head.

    Right. Now on with my rant.

    Chosen was everything I expected a finale to be but I couldn’t help being a little disappointed at the lack of continuity and technical errors. After all, this is a show with a strong cult following that will dissect every episode and pick up on every mic appearance.

    Also, I felt Chosen was very raw and had too much poorly written comedy(

    “he had to split”- really? That was too awful to be “so bad it’s funny”). The lightness was alright at the beginning and end, but I would have preferred it to have been more suspenseful and darker around the battle.

    Then there’s the whole overdone feminist theme. Yeah, I get it. Girl power. OK, lets not drag it on with those speeches and “Oh my…Goddess!” was just cringe-worthy. Or maybe I’m just pissed that Kennedy didn’t get her obnoxious neck snapped.

    Ah! I feel better now that I have released my frustrations with Chosen onto you poor fans.

    Like

  58. [Note: Alice posted this comment on November 5, 2010.]

    Oh, and btw, did anyone else imagine what that swing was going to be like after that baseball girl in the montage got slayer strength?

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  59. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on November 24, 2010.]

    spike mentioned angel wears lifts on an interveiw james admitted to wearing lifts for a shoot because his girlfriend thought he and juliet landrue (please correct me if I spelled that wrong) were flirting and said sshe liked david

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  60. [Note: Merry posted this comment on November 30, 2010.]

    Least favorite part of the episode: Angel. Oh, there were a few laughs involved, I admit. But his appearance did feel really, really forced. Of course, I’m one of those fans who wished Angel had gone straight to LA after coming back from Hell (though with maybe a one or two episode detour so everyone could deal with him being alive). But then again, without Angel in this episode we wouldn’t have gotten one of my favorite gems: Spike’s Angel drawing. Hilarious.

    Also didn’t like: Amanda, Spike, and freakin’ Anya died and Kennedy survived. There is no excuse for that. Yeah, Spike comes back for AtS 5, but still. You can add me to the corner of those who wished Kennedy had been one of the unfortunate non-survivors in this episode.

    Other favorite gem: When Buffy’s looking at the hoarde of (alleged) ubervamps and saying “I’m not worried!” and Rona freaking out and saying she was flashing back to Xander’s bathroom speech. Loved that.

    Overall, I really like this episode. Not on any of my favorite lists, but it could have been a lot worse considering what we got in “Empty Places” and “End of Days.” It was a solid turnaround from some pretty lackluster lead up eps (minus “Touched”). Though I will always be grumbly that my two favorite characters (after Buffy) ended up dying (Spike and Anya).

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  61. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on December 20, 2010.]

    Okay I know I’m more ranting about Season 8 and Angel Season 5 but indulge me- the whole beauty of the ending of this episode is that Buffy can be anyone she wants to be now. She can be an ORDINARY PERSON! She doesn’t have to lead a now GLOBAL organization of Slayers. Remember that comment Dawn makes about Buffy never being able to be a lawyer or any good job in Doublemeat? Well I find it rather appalling that Angel and Season 8 render this statement true.

    End rant XD

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  62. [Note: Mooker posted this comment on December 26, 2010.]

    One thing that bugged me was the Anya/Andrew fight scene. I mean, there was way too many uber-vamps and bringers for those two to handle. They both should have been slaughtered immediately.

    So how cool would it have been if instead, right before the baddies arrived, the demon summoner and the thousand year old ex-demon performed some cool ritual of their own that summoned a half-dozen demons under their control to fight along side them? Anya could’ve still died in the skirmish.

    It just would’ve been a nice little nod to the pair’s common knowledge of demonology. Y’know show off their true strengths which is not fighting. Joss kinda dropped the ball on that one.

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  63. [Note: John posted this comment on January 6, 2011.]

    Great review; I agree that while the plot elements could have been far better, this was still overall a really satisfying conclusion to the series.

    Mooker, I agree about Anya and Andrew; that’s actually a really cool idea and would have been AWESOME to see. I wish they had done that, it would have been simply pretty kickass.

    Jermzy-S8? What Season 8? I don’t know any such thing. 😉

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  64. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 24, 2011.]

    I thought the cookie dough speech was cute. I loved Angel mocking it later in AtS.

    Some great comical parts: Spike’s drawing of Angel on the punching bag was absolutely hysterical.Faith getting ready to pull her pants down and throw down with Wood was pretty funny too. Giles playing D&D with Xander, Amanda and a red caped Andrew had me laughing along with crazy Anya sleeping. Andrew’s “thank you” speech (love him!)

    I still hate Kennedy and that she is with Willow — right to the bitter end, LOL.

    I disagree with you, MikeJer, that sleeping with Wood meant nothing to Faith. She pushes guys away from her before she can get hurt. She thinks that all guys want from her is sex so she tries to put up the walls. It is obvious that she cares for him given the ending.

    Loved, loved the Giles throwback to S1 with the “earth is definitely doomed line”. I’m so glad that all four of them make it through. Although I have to say a big nooooooooooooooo for Anya! *sob*

    Brilliant final ploy by the Whedon with the spell to give all the Potentials the power of the slayer. It works fantastically IMO. (Although I do agree with you, MikeJer, that it was kind of unfair to those who didn’t make the CHOICE — and did they each really have a choice? Even if an individual said no, she would have gotten the power anyway – lol). And I love how they set it up with us not knowing the plan and then watching it unfold right before the big fight. Well done. Also, excellent touch to have WIllow bathed in light rather than darkness after the spell.

    @Alice — I, too, imagined that girl basically destroying the ball with her swing. LOL

    The ending scene with Spike always makes me bawl like a little baby. Even knowing that he comes back in AtS. He IS a champion! In fact I cry my eyes out from that point all the way to the last line. They certainly knew how to play with the heartstrings in this one. Buffy’s smile at the end – awesomeness.

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  65. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 24, 2011.]

    One thing that I didn’t see mentioned here that I liked was that at the end when Andrew is sitting on the bus, he says to himself “Why didn’t I die?” or something like that. I think that a part of Andrew wanted to die for the cause to make up for what he did. Just an interesting note and more of the great character development that the show is known for but it was done in such a subtle way.

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  66. [Note: huhahuha posted this comment on May 20, 2011.]

    Mike,

    I like your reviews, but I don’t agree with your comment that Angel’s appearance here is out of place or forced. It is a bit sudden for this episode or even the entire season 7. But when you look at the entire series, then it is quite natural, or even mandatory that Angel needs to appear on the final episode of Buffy.

    Although Angel and Buffy went separate ways at the end of S3, through S4-7, you can still feel their passion for each other. They probably will never stop loving or caring for each other. Thus, it is quite natural for Angel to appear here. Granted, happily ever after is almost a taboo in Whedon’s world and happy moments are only to be shattered later. But here the whole cookie dough speech gives us a glimpse of hope that even in the dark, unforgiving, and tragic Whedonverse, Buffy may eventually work things out with Angel and get the happiness elusive to them both yet they truly deserve. And Angel’s answer that he “ain’t getting older” is essentially a promise that he will wait for her.

    Now about Spike. I must admit I am a huge Spike fan, but definitely not a Spuffy fan. I really really love Spike, but only the badass version in seasons 2-5. The evil Spike was such a wonderful character and I especially enjoyed his sharp and almost poisonously insightful speeches. Examples:

    Remember the “happy meals with legs” speech?

    the “love is blood/love’s bitch” speech?

    the “to the Angel-mobile” speech?

    Even his one liner are so memorable: “From now on, we’re gonna have a little less ritual…and a little more fun around here.” and “Slutty the Vampire Slayer” anyone?

    What I love the most is the “Slayer’s secret death wish” monologue in “Fools for Love.” Wow!!!!!! It totally blew me away. Granted, Anya’s rants in “the Body” was probably the most moving and devastating monologue. But this is probably the most keenly insightful and wickedly accurate monologue in the entire Whedonverse. It is quite relevant to the coming “the Gift” episode, but also eerily related to the final “Not Fade Away” Angel episode (ironically, Spike himself was one of the final fighters there.)

    I also quite enjoyed his creepy, quirky, obsessive, and strangely touching relationship with the nutty and amazing Drusilla.

    But after season 5, Spike got lovesick with Buffy. Granted, the lovesick and pathetic Spike is interesting enough, but I just really miss the wicked and viciously insightful Spike of the past. And he no longer deliver great speeches. The speech he gave to Buffy in “Touched” was quite touching and moving, but also flattering and patronizing, considering how Buffy behaved like a little tyrant in “Empty Places.”

    I guess the change is out of necessity for the show. Buffy’s second love interest, Riley, turned out to be such a huge disappointment. Which is not really surprising after the gut-wrenchingly tragic yet hauntingly beautiful love story of Buffy and Angel. It was almost impossible to come up with a guy that can surpass that.

    so the fan-favorite Spike came to the rescue. which is okay, but I got really pissed off in the episode “crush” when Spike offered to kill Dru to please Buffy. What a load of crap!? offering to kill your old crush to please your new crush? this is just plainly disgusting, even for an evil Spike. what if in the future Spike got another crush on another vampire, will he offer to kill the slayer to please the new crush?

    I guess in the TV world, the biggest reward for a character, good or bad, is to hook him up with the heroine of the show. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I guess it worked for a lot of people. but for me anyway, this totally ruined the character. And why did they have to make him good and pathetic?

    Angel was really lovely when he was petty, especially like a slapped poor puppy? (Smile Time, anyone?)

    Spike was really lovely when he was wicked or when he was both evil and petty! (Remember in Pangs he was full of arrows and no one cares? and the performance anxiety he had on Willow in “the Initiative?”) But he is not that lovely when he is both good and pathetic.

    Okay. I admit I might be a little too critical here. After all, character development is one of the biggest strengths of the Buffyverse. Spike’s character development was actually pretty impressive. But I guess the most successful character developments were Buffy herself and Wesley. The amazing journey Wesley took from a total dork and hilariously bad kisser in Buffy S3 to the tough-as-a-nail badass, tragic hero Wesley in Angel S4/5. Wow!!!

    Anyway, here is my 2 cents. I must say since each person is different, with different experiences, and our brains are wired differently. Thus, we respond differently to different moments and different characters in the show. I understand and respect that. But I am glad we can all agree that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a wonderful show and is worth seeing again and again.

    Like

  67. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on June 1, 2011.]

    Foreshadowing section: (WARNING!!! ANGEL SEASON 5 SPOILER AHEAD!!!)Angel episode “Destiny” (5×08)

    Too bad for Buffy that she wasn’t there to witness it, and there was no oil involved

    😦

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  68. [Note: keekey posted this comment on December 1, 2011.]

    So I just completed watching the entire Buffy series straight-through for the first time. When the show originally aired, I saw about 15 episodes during Season 1-3, never watched Season 4, saw a couple of Season 5 episodes (including The Gift) and this series finale. Basically, I was a casual Buffy/Angel fan and then only saw later episodes because friends were watching the show. Watching the series finale as a (very) casual viewer was a MUCH different experience than watching it just now, as someone who saw and enjoyed the entire series. My comments during the original airing of Chosen were along the lines of:

    “So, I thought Buffy died at the end of Season 5. How did that all work out?”

    “Oh, look, yay! There’s Angel!”

    “Buffy’s dating Spike? Really? How did that happen?”

    “Wait, where’s Angel going?…”

    “So Faith is good now?”

    And so on. Yes, in retrospect, I feel very sorry for my friends who had to watch the Buffy series finale with me. I bring up my previous experience to say that, okay, I get why they did certain things like bringing Angel back for the finale (because that made me happy as a casual viewer) even though now, having seen the series as a whole, I don’t think some of those things really worked very well.

    Overall, I loved the finale. Loved that Buffy and Willow together changed the Slayer rule book to defeat the First Evil. Loved that Spike, who admitted way back in Season 2 that he didn’t want to destroy the world, here gave his life to save it. (Or tried to. I’m glad that he came back in Angel Season 5!) I’m bummed about the way Anya died, though. I was hoping for a better ending for her.

    On Spike and Buffy’s last exchange: I think Buffy did love Spike (and probably had been in love with him since at least Lies My Parents Told Me, where Giles was right that her feelings for Spike were affecting her judgment on what to do about his trigger). I also think that, contrary to his statement, Spike believed Buffy when she said she loved him. It isn’t like Buffy to just throw someone a bone–Spike tried to get her to do that for ages and she wouldn’t. At the end, I think Spike sees Buffy does love him, but also realizes that loving him isn’t going to help her moving forward. Their situations now are reversed from where they were in The Gift. He’s going to give his life to save the world, but she’s the one who’s going to have live in it. After The Gift, Buffy was happy in Heaven but Spike was miserable in the world without her. Spike doesn’t want Buffy to miserable. So here, to me, it sounded like Spike said “No, you don’t” very much in the “I’m going to tell you something for your own good” tone that he often used with Buffy. He wants her to let this go, move on, and be happy. And his “But thanks for saying it” seemed like “But I know that you love me and I love you too.” Very nice wrap up for a relationship that I thought ended up being as excellent and interesting as it was unlikely.

    And I loved that the Welcome to Sunnydale sign fell over one last time. Nice touch!

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  69. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 29, 2011.]

    -Dawn finally understanding the pierced tongue reference was similar to Willow’s delayed reaction to the song ‘I Touch Myself’ in ‘Lie to Me’.

    -The first and final time Angel meets Buffy he gives her jewellery in the form of a necklace for protection. In ‘Welcome to the Hellmouth’ he gives her a crucifix necklace and in ‘Chosen’ he gives her a “possibly scrubbing bubbles” one.

    -Angel being knocked unconcious just so he cannot fight Caleb was the only way to go. Or just have Caleb be killed in ‘End of Days’.

    -Caleb’s line for the series, “Are you ready to finish this…bitch?!” Like Spike adding the last part.

    -I finally have deducted points for this episode. I always had it higher because it was the finale but now I have to count the stupid things: Buffy fake-out injury, Faith seemingly dying just so she can pass the scythe to Rona, The plot of entering the Hellmouth for a 20 against 1 million, etc.

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  70. [Note: Nobody posted this comment on January 21, 2012.]

    OK, I have to disagree with you, mikejer, on your argument against Willow’s activation spell. The thing is, most of these girls won’t even know what a slayer is, let alone that they are one. Why? The Watchers are essentially extinct. What Buffy has done is not forcing power onto unsuspecting girls so they can protect her, like the Shadow Men, but instead simply given them the power without the responsibility. They’ll be strong and able to fight for themselves, but again, many of them won’t even encounter demons or vampires and be forced to kill them. Instead they can become independent, strong, and capable, and though some will obviously join Buffy in her slayer duties, many will not, and will only benefit from the strength bestowed upon them by Buffy and Willow. At least, that’s how I always have seen it.

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  71. [Note: Alia Astra posted this comment on February 15, 2012.]

    I just watched the Angel scene with “Close Your Eyes” playing in the background. It was perfect.

    It sounds so longing and sad and retrospective, it even works well for them saying “goodbye”, so doesn’t overwhelm the later on Spike stuff.

    Just sayin’

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  72. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 21, 2012.]

    Those Uber-vamps were probably starving; the First’s first one had to be fed before it posed the threat that it did

    Mooker: YES THAT IS ABSOLUTELY WHAT SHOULD’VE HAPPENED I REJECT THAT THAT IS NOT WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED, THANK YOU SO MUCH, I WILL MAKE SOMEBODY WRITE A FAN-FIC WHERE THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS!!! This is not anger yelling, FYI, this is the purest of purely geeky squee 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Joss Whedon, what were you thinking when you didn’t do that??? (Oh right: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Jossed)

    Like

  73. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on June 16, 2012.]

    It took Joss Whedon 144 episodes to do so many cliches and for some reason he chose the series finale for it.

    Buffy gets stabbed and her mortal wound somehow disappears when she is mocked by The First. Fath is overrun by Turok-Han and passes the scythe along yet somehow knocks them off after a while. Rona throws the scythe back to Buffy once she is better. C’mon, Joss! You don’t have to put all your characters in danger just for the sake of it only for them to win their battles. (well, he does do it later in ‘Serenity’)

    I still have no idea how Buffy ran faster than a speeding bus with a stomach wound but, I can let some things slide because it is the finale.

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  74. [Note: princess posted this comment on June 30, 2012.]

    I just finally got the chance to see the end of the series. For the longest time I’ve been waiting to see the final years episodes, but for some reason I always ended up with the same seasons 1-6. I’m so happy I stumbled on this review. You so perfectly stated every thought I had throughout the final episode, it’s like you were in my head. I also thought it was one of the best series finale’s ever.

    Thanks

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  75. [Note: Ben posted this comment on August 30, 2012.]

    I agree completely!! Spectacle style, emotional style… this episode is flawless. So much to love in it, which you mentioned in your review. One tiny gripe…. Buffy should never have gone kissing Angel. The previous episode also ended with a big fake out, as we all knew Spike would never turn on Buffy, even though her running back to Angel would be the only thing that did it. But yeah. I LOVE it when they all get their power. I get goosebumps when I see the little girl with the bat, and then especially when we see a woman being beaten by her husband suddenly stop the attack and rise up looking mad! How satisfying!! Turn on your brain though, and there are issues. It’s not like the season final of Lost, where if you turn on your brain you end up pretty much ripping the entire show to shreds and the issues don’t spoil the episode, but they are there.The fact that there are more potentials out there that we have never heard of creates a massive plot hole for the whole season. I thought the Bringers were hunting them all down? They seemed to know who they were, like they had a way to track them. I thought the only survivors were all either on the run, or on their way to Sunnydale. Even if not, they’d be in hiding surly? So how comes there are still potentials out there who are living normal lives? Did the Bringers give up? Plus, the Amulet. Spike’s sacrifice is awesome, and a perfect end to his character, while also neatly tying his story into Angel season 5. But if you think about it, Wolfram and Hart saved the day here. They gave Angel the Amulet, which Spike then uses to ultimately defeat the First. The main villians on the spin off show… the main heroes of the parent show’s season final.

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  76. [Note: Erick 😀 posted this comment on November 20, 2012.]

    I have a theory on hmwhy the Turok Han were so easy to beat. Before Buffy turned all the girls into slayers, there wasnt enough good to counterbalance the bad, but now with all of the good being present, the Turok Han changed into regular vamps? Thoughts?

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  77. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on November 20, 2012.]

    Wow. I’ve just been saying that they were starving to death (whereas The First Evil had to feed it’s first one before sending it after Buffy and the Potentials), but I think I like yours better.Maybe the “activation” ritual feeds off of the demonic energy around the Potential activated, and that’s why they had to be in the Hellmouth before powering up instead of the other way around (which would otherwise be better tactics to prevent being attacked early): so that they could be close enough to feed off the ubervamps the way vamps feed on humans?Thank you Erick, I think that would be brilliant, I’m going to stop insisting they were starving now.

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  78. [Note: Dave posted this comment on February 21, 2013.]

    It was a excellnent finaleI did think why didn’t they wait till Willow did the spell would have been screwed if it didnt work. Also how come the other potentinals it showned the spell having a effect on didnt get recruited

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  79. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on April 14, 2013.]

    While the plot contained some convenient devices, the episode did a great job at creating an epic and satisfying conclusion to the show. his site has been like my companion guide for the show, and I thank you mike for helping me see deeper into this show. 😀

    Like

  80. [Note: ralph posted this comment on May 25, 2013.]

    In general I feel that most people are far more forgiving of this episode than I would be.

    I watched “Chosen” again last night for only the third time in my entire life. Like most people here, I’m a die-hard fan of the show and I have seen most episodes at least 5 or 6 times and many of them more than that. This one I very rarely get around to watching because a) I was never especially blown away by it the first time I watched it b)I don’t particularly care for season 7 in general and c) Anya’s death is extremely difficult for me to watch. But in general, I’ve always thought of my view of it being fairly similar to the one expressed in Mike’s review – that is to say, a solid if not exactly mind-blowing finale, and one that’s admittedly a bit rough around the edges.

    As I said, I watched the episode again last night, largely due to the fact that it has now been *ten* years since the show ended (where the hell does the time go?) and it was actually quite a bit weaker than I remembered. I’d actually venture to say that I now consider it to be only slightly above average.

    First of all, the plot holes are just too glaring to ignore. As has been noted in previous comments, plot holes were not uncommon in this series, particularly in the finales (“The Gift” being an obvious example). But this time around it was just out-of-control. Most of these things have already been discussed above in detail so I don’t really feel the need to elaborate on this too much. But I really don’t think that any other finale or even any single individual episode features quite so many massive contrivances, absurdities, and deus ex machinas, and for me this hurts the episode a fair bit.

    However, as many people here have observed, plot holes can be more-or-less forgiven if the show succeeds on a thematic/character level. I could probably overlook even the most ridiculous plot holes if the surrounding material was juicy or stirring enough, but for me, it just isn’t. I do like some of the ideas in theory (sharing the power, taking the battle into the Hellmouth) but the execution is just too sloppy.

    For example, the montage of all of the girls is mildly effective on a visceral level, especially with Buffy’s voice-over, but it’s also just way too cheesy. The show was always a proud feminist show but the reason it worked so well and became so iconic was because it always promoted its feminist ideas with so much wit, intelligence, and irony. Feminism (or any sort of ideology) can be taken completely seriously if it is expressed in a way that is potent and engaging but if it’s done in a way that’s too hamfisted it just kind of becomes cheesy or even laughable. To be honest, this is a problem with season 7 as a whole – it took the show’s intelligent, nuanced feminist worldview and kind of boiled it down into this half-baked “grrrrl power” statement. I mean, in earlier seasons these feminist leanings were just one part of the entire show and they were incorporated in a way that was intelligent and classy. Here we have Buffy castrating an evil misogynistic preacher, an army of girls having a slumber party in the Summers household, and a montage of girls learning that they all have Slayer power inside of them. On a thematic level, the episode’s heart is in the right place, but the execution is just too clunky, whereas in earlier seasons it was effortless.

    So we have unforgivably large plot holes and thematic material that just wasn’t particularly well-executed. That leaves us with the characters themselves. For me this is by far the biggest issue with the finale and the one area that I’m rather surprised that so many fans aren’t more bothered by. As I mentioned earlier, I could probably manage to forgive a plot riddled with holes and even an over-the-top inspirational message for women if the characters themselves sparkled like the glowing beacons of hope and wonder that we know they can be. But here half of the main characters have been more or less discarded. I suppose that how much this is an issue for you might depend on which characters you are the most attached to. For me, Anya became my clear-cut favourite at some point in the later seasons and for me this episode (and most of the season post-“Selfless”) was such a huge slap in the face to her character. I don’t even mind her death scene itself – as some other posters have mentioned, the brutality of her death was effective, and when coupled with her poignant speech in “End of Days”, serves as a nice little heroic sendoff to her character. But Jesus, couldn’t we have got a single scene with only her and Xander together? Just a couple of minutes spending time with these two characters who have had a four *year* history together!? She doesn’t even say goodbye to Xander when she marches off with Andrew. Xander himself doesn’t get anything remotely relevant to do either, and he had been a part of the show since the very first episode! In this episode, he has, what, ten lines? Even Dawn, who I’m not particularly fond of, has almost nothing to do here, and she had been on the show for three years by this point. And Giles! Giles has more or less become a walking exposition machine who just sort of looms in the background. It makes my head spin.

    The first half of the episode sets up the final battle and is comprised of character moments. Ideally I would have liked to have seen some pairings of some of the core characters. We could have had some Xander-Anya, Xander-Willow, Buffy-Dawn, Buffy-Giles, Buffy-Faith, whatever! Take your pick! Just *something*, a few final scenes between these incredible characters who we have spent years and years following, characters who by this point felt to me like living breathing people (when the show ended I was 16 and when the episode finished I actually went into the bathroom and cried as if my best friend had just died). But what do we get? A scene between Faith and Principal Wood, a scene between Willow and Kennedy (ugh!), and an entire *quarter* of the episode devoted to Buffy’s love triangle with Angel and Spike!

    This in particular is probably the biggest sore spot for me. I suppose how much you like the season would probably largely be shaped by how you feel about Spike, the direction his character took, and the relationship between Buffy and Spike. I personally think that the writers became completely obsessed with him and he became far too much the focal point of the show. His character was well-integrated into the series throughout the first five seasons – his development was believable and intriguing and he didn’t completely dominate the show. But starting in season 6 there was too much emphasis placed on his character, and in season 7 it just spiraled way out of control. In the last season there generally tended to be at least one big scene or subplot per episode devoted to his character and he had three or four episodes that were pretty much specifically Spike-centric. We have a stretch of episodes where the most important conflict is that he has been kidnapped and everyone obsesses over getting him back, then Buffy chooses him over Giles, of course the infamous “Empty Places” which among other things just seems like a contrived situation so that Spike will be the only one who stands by Buffy, then he gets a magical amulet and becomes a champion and saves the whole world. The writers were just way too obsessed with his character and seemed to want to turn him into some sort of martyr. By the end of the series the show more or less became the Buffy and Spike show, which to me is deplorable because it flies in the very face of what the show was all about. The show was *never* a show about a girl and her boyfriend(s). Obviously that was a big part of it, since romance, love, and sex are a part of life, but Buffy first and foremost was a show about power, strength, responsibility, independence, etc. In that sense, I did like that Buffy ultimately chooses to be with neither Spike nor Angel (although to be honest, all of the tug-of-war “ooooh, which one is she going to choose?” bullshit doesn’t make any sense because the whole reason that Angel left in season 3 was because it wasn’t remotely feasible for Buffy to have a relationship with a vampire, but I digress) but I don’t see why there needed to be so much, or really *any* emphasis on all of this lovey-dovey boyfriend crap in the first place. We had already received closure on Buffy’s relationships with both Angel and Spike, so I really don’t see why it needed to be dragged out and dissected again here. It just cheapened the show and felt contrived.

    A point to consider: typically towards the end of every season of the show, one of the last few episodes ended with a cliffhanger that served to set up the finale and to emphasize what was at stake. Examples: Tara being shot and Willow going dark, Dawn’s kidnapping and Buffy going catatonic, Kendra’s death and the policeman pointing a gun at Buffy, etc. What do we get here? Spike (Buffy’s new “boyfriend”) seeing Buffy kissing Angel (her old “boyfriend”) and getting really jealous. Again, all of the emphasis is on Spike, Spike’s feelings, and the relationship between Buffy and Spike. It’s all just so juvenile and pedestrian compared to what was at stake in earlier seasons.

    Then we get 10 minutes of Angel and Buffy, which in my mind was completely unnecessary. Yes, Angel was once a hugely important part of this series, but by this point it had been four years since he had moved on and it was not necessary to bring him back into the fold here. As I mentioned earlier, we had been following Xander, Anya, Dawn, and assorted other characters for *four* years since Angel had departed for his own series and for him to swoop in and steal valuable screen time from all of them right at the very end of the game was kind of infuriating for me. In my eyes, Angel became a much more fascinating and three-dimensional character on his own show, and just as it would have been unnecessary (and jarring) for Buffy to pop up on the finale of Angel, it was completely unneeded for him to show up here, especially for the sheer amount of time that it consumed.

    So to summarize, what we have here is a case of two extremely problematic things dovetailing – important characters who we had been following for years being completely swept aside in order to accommodate for other characters who we aren’t remotely invested in (Kennedy, Wood, and Angel) and far too much time spent on Spike (as usual). As a result, for me the whole thing leaves a sour taste in my mouth, something which is amplified by some ridiculously big plot holes and some cheesy execution of the key material of the episode.

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  81. [Note: ralph posted this comment on May 31, 2013.]

    Happy to hear it 🙂 I wasn’t planning on writing that much but apparently I had some things I really needed to get off my chest!

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  82. [Note: Amadan posted this comment on June 28, 2013.]

    i know i came to late to these review, but i strongly suggest all fan to read the comic book, season 8 is already complete and season 9 is currently written.
    i say this because as whedon teached us, there is nothing left to the fate and everything happend for a reason.
    every plot hole has been covered in the comic book, some character have their closure other are still developing.

    all the things we love about buffy as a whole universe are there, the cunning of writers, the compelling stories all of it.

    and i am so happy i can still know something about all these character so well outlined and developed that in a way became real persons.

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  83. [Note: Fm posted this comment on July 26, 2013.]

    Can’t get enough of the Angel and Spike immaturity. Every time Buffy tell Angel that Spike now has a soul and he gets all bitter about how he “did it first before it was the cool thing to do”- I just lose it, 240 years old reduced to acting like a teenage boy all over a girl. Hilarious.

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  84. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on August 19, 2013.]

    Just completed my second watch of Buffy, and man I forgot how much I love Chosen. I get your verdict, Mike, but I would raise the score to around 95 or maybe even a P just because the episode works on thematic, action and character levels so well.

    I know there are plot holes (more than usual), but like Whedon even says in his commentary, I can bear these because they make everything else work. Buffy’s main weakness has always been its plots, but the way the plots service the characters and themes make up for that.

    This episode even manages to feel movie-like (we don’t need another Buffy film – we have one here!) when Buffy gets up in that iconic shot. The music, the action and the superb effects make the episode a fitting conclusion to the series. Oh, and Angel being petty is always brilliant. 🙂

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  85. [Note: Monica posted this comment on October 5, 2013.]

    One thing that always bothered me was it seems that Buffy’s plan was sort of a failure. Without Angel bringing the amulet, they wouldn’t have won, right? It was that and only that which left them able to survive, since it seemed that there were thousands of ubervamps that got dusted by the light coming from the amulet instead of an amount that would otherwise be beatable. I may be missing something, but it just seemed off that it wasn’t really Buffy who saved the world and was the main factor in the closing of the hellmouth, but it was Spike.

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  86. [Note: Firewalkwithme posted this comment on October 5, 2013.]

    In a way it was Buffy who saved the day though because Spike would´ve never sacrificed himself if she didn´t believe in him. 🙂

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  87. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 1, 2013.]

    So: Buffy tells Spike that she loves him, right before he burns up. He says that she doesn’t, but thanks for saying it.

    My question – and possibly it cannot be answered definitively – in this scene, did Buffy love Spike or not?

    I don’t think it would be like Buffy to tell him this without meaning it. On the other hand, he’s about to die, and she might tell him anyway.

    Spike is known for saying one thing while meaning another. It would be like him to deny Buffy’s feelings so that it’s easier for her to go on afterwards.

    We have many instances of Buffy’s affection for Spike during this season. She tells him that she “was there” with him during the night that he held her. She tells him how much his encouragement meant to her, but at first he can’t understand.

    She told Angel (without knowing that Spike was eavesdropping – although Angel might have known with that super vampire sense of smell) that Spike was in her heart, and she let Spike know that she expected him to be a champion.

    So … I’m leaning into towards her meaning it, but that may be romanticism on my part.

    Yet

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  88. [Note: Firewalkwithme posted this comment on November 1, 2013.]

    “Did Buffy love Spike?” They´re doing college courses on that subject, you know? 🙂 I think Buffy loved Spike in that moment and his response stems from his opinion that for a slayer the mission always comes first. For Spike love is wild, passionate and intense and he´s ready to give up just about everything to have that kind of love with a woman. But he knows that Buffy isn´t ready or able to give in that kind of love because she´s commited to her mission that sets her apart from everyone. (Her experience with Angel/us is also still haunting her) The ironic thing is though after “Chosen” Buffy would be able to live her life without having to carry this huge responsibility and feeling isolated from everyone.

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  89. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 1, 2013.]

    I did not know they were doing college courses on the question – or perhaps I should call myself Professor Nox!

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  90. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 2, 2013.]

    Looking at a prior comment which details the commentary, it’s clear that Buffy does love Spike at the end.

    I also think that they did consummate their love during the last one/two nights together. Obviously that’s something that would not please the entire audience, so the writers left in some ambiguity but I think from the dialogue in the cellar – in which they both admit that they want to be together, for once with gentle teasing instead of harsh insults – that they finally had a healthy night of passion. That’s what the “thank God” on Buffy’s part was about – that she needed him and craved him and he wasn’t going to deny her.

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    1. I also believe Buffy fell in love with Spike, but after the controversia of seeing red, for me is clear than Joss decided to be ambiguos, and it wasn’t the moment, the mission is what cares

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  91. [Note: Richard posted this comment on November 18, 2013.]

    Only complaint is the reference to the dream of drowning in footwear. You say it is foreshadowing Spike moving to L.A., but wouldn’t it also be a reference to the sanSHOE prophecy?

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