WWE Ruthless Aggression Era: 2002

WWE Ruthless Aggression

Another year down and what a trip it was. It was truly a random and weird year that had so many new and unique elements from the past year, good and bad, and definitely was a worthwhile direction after the disastrous year that 2001 was. From countless new superstar debuts that would could continue to define the company to this day, to the brand split, returns, high-concept matches and Triple H having sex with a corpse. It was quite the year to say the least. Let’s get into it…

The year starts off with the return of Triple H, someone who I thought was still months away from returning, and of course this is all leading to his MIRACULOUS recovery and OVERCOMING THE ODDS to take the belt off Jericho, oh yeah, he’s still somehow the champion. I always keep coming back to how things would’ve been different possibly in with the invasion if people like Triple H, Benoit and Guerrero were healthy and how if any things would be different. Anyways, Triple H is back, and as demonstrated by the constant video packages of him getting stronger and fighting to get back, he was going to be shot to the moon when he got back. As a face, nonetheless, which is often weird to see him play.

It’s nice that they actually made the Royal Rumble match a storyline. This is like the first time since I’ve started watching in 1997 that they’ve actually had super stars really talking about entering and winning it. In the past the lead up to it has been non-existent. It helps to easily give guys storylines. And it’s big important guys, too, like HHH, Taker, Angle, Show, Kane. Really provides some heft to it and makes the Rumble match that much more interesting.

Vince McMahon and Ric Flair have a little feud going on how they’re basically co-owners of the company now, with Flair getting Raw and McMahon Smackdown. It does help to elevate Smackdown as a more equal brand, especially since this is before the eventual brand split, and provides Vince something to do, which would be his last major on-air thing for the year.

Goldust and Val Venis are back, one of many of the random superstars that just disappear and you go “oh, yeah, they were gone.” Bringing back some Attitude Era nostalgia. Billy and Chuck are also a thing now, with Billy Gunn trying his best to stay relevant however he can, and this one works surprisingly well for a bit, and they actually get over for a small while.

Anyways, on to the Rumble that Triple H wins, of course, because he’s just gotta win the title at Mania. Jericho beats Rock to retain the title through about 3346 different ways of cheating. Jericho is just a transitional champ, basically. Feels so unimportant, especially with Rock, Austin, Angle, HHH, Taker, they all seems so much better and main event than Jericho who still kinda feels like he doesn’t belong and too early. It seemed like a big deal when Jericho won to became the first undisputed champ, and he got a rub, but especially being a heel it didn’t really give him the push to the next level of top-tier talents like I’m sure they wanted to. Especially when he was just destined to lose to one of them very soon, ie. Triple H.

Triple H is face, of course for now, he turns on Stephanie after she was lied about having a baby. Sets up a no. 1 contender’s match at No Way Out that Angle wins to get the chance at the tile, but, nah… of course Triple H just wins his opportunity back at the next Raw. Because it’s Triple H, and of course he’s going over.

The Rock and Undertaker have a pretty fine match, which is really just a stop gap for them until their WrestleMania feuds get kicked off. Also, oh yeah, Stone Cold Steve Austin is still a thing, remember that guy? The most popular and over star in the company’s history or something? I can’t remember. Anyways, Austin is pretty much lost at sea in any storyline, due basically to his unhappiness with the company at the time and not really wanting to work. It’s crazy how his in-ring tenure just begins to disappear like this and how he hardly becomes a thought, just a few short years after he was carrying the company on his back.

So, finally a few months into 2002, Vince gets some of the top WCW stars that he so desperately needed during the invasion angle to make them seem relevant in Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as NWO. It’s unfortunate it turned out as it did, but there’s few things I’ve been looking forward to more than the Rock/Hogan Mania match. Even though this iteration of NWO looks so boring and not harmful when it’s just three old dudes trying to remain relevant and badass.

Undertaker and Flair spar on their way to their Mania feud in so many different ways. This was actually one of my favourite builds of the year as both men seemingly held nothing back and everything descended into very personal attacks, like with Taker targeting David, Ric’s son. Flair cut some amazing promos, too, which really played off how emotional he gets and they felt painfully real.

The WrestleMania X8 card itself seemed pretty lackluster with a ton of filler matches. Matches like RVD vs. Regal, DDP vs. Christian, Angle vs. Kane, Edge Vs. Booker T (well, besides this one, because Edge and Booker were fighting over a Japanese shampoo commercial, yep.) and so on had very little build and were obviously just there to fill out the card and give some people something to do.

Stone Cold vs. Scott Hall seemed like it might have some potential, but it actuality it was short, boring and didn’t really seem to accomplish much with neither man seeming that into things. Triple H vs. Jericho was fine, but so uneventful and really containing nothing memorable of it in and of itself, besides the unofficial begin of Triple H being THE top guy without the likes of better guys like Rock and Stone Cold blocking his way. The build up with comedy bits between Stephanie and Jericho did nothing to lend credence to the feud and neither did the HHH/Stephanie split.

Of course, the biggest match, which somehow didn’t main event, although in nowadays booking totally would, the Rock/Hogan match didn’t disappoint. The crowd was nuclear and you could just feel the electricity radiating out of that ring. It’s almost surreal to think about these two top stars of their own begone generations facing off in one of the biggest contests of all time and thankfully Hogan didn’t go over.

Post-Mania dealings are all about the brand split and subsequent draft, which might be one of my favourite WWE things of all time, as well as the brand split which desperately needed to make something of Smackdown and which eventually exceeds amazingly well.

The draft was hilarious because it varies so much, as WWE often does, in strictness of rules and regulations when it comes to superstars being drafted and later traded or whatever. Like, Flair was somehow allowed to draft NWO, a group of three, with one pic. In the coming months they’d make a big deal of orchestrating a trade between the two brands, but then superstars would just defect to the other brand, with no repercussions, so it’s like it didn’t really matter where you got drafted, there was no actual checks and balance system, just whatever they felt like at the time. Like, later Batista and Randy Orton would go to Raw and the commentators were like “oh, yeah, they’re on Raw now, for no particular reason.” I mean, I know this is fake, scripted wrestling and the WWE rarely has concise continuity, but it’s just hilarious how little any of it really matters.

Also, a little someone who would become the dominant force of the year and would have an impact that few probably thought it would be as big throughout the years, Brock Lesnar debuted, and in the most Brock Lesnar way. He would literally just show up during random matches and just own everybody with F5’s and then leave. When he actually settled down and became a part of the actual roster he feuded with the Hardyz to start off with, which I guess was kind of a nice way to introduce him with a team he could go over and destroy.

So, Backlash happens which is pretty uneventful minus a great no. 1 contender’s match between Undertaker and Stone Cold that Taker cheats to win and the whole main event picture. So, it’s Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H for his newly won title and I really just assumed that Triple H would continue to keep getting the major rubs as the guy on top, go over the old Hogan and continue his ways. But, nope, Hogan won the title off Triple H who didn’t even survive a pay-per-view with it. It makes sense, though, Vince probably wanted that big shock and have Hogan carry around the Undisputed belt for a bit with the whole nostalgia factor until he gave it up shortly after to an actual worthy competitor, as he eventually did.

This also feels like when Undertaker finally got a true hold of who and what his American Bad Ass character really is. Where he just became this ruthless, asshole heel who was someone you didn’t want to mess with, and really encapsulated the bad ass biker look.

Randy Orton debuts and it’s so funny to see him all shaggy haired and wet behind the ears as a rookie compared with how we know him now. He’d pop up in random tag matches and have a mini-feud with Hardcore Holly. Later in the year he was put on Raw where he was subsequently injured, but they kept him relevant with this curious bit where he would pop up as this breaking news video where he heeled it up as a smug, smartass thanking the people for wishing him well during his recovery (which no one was doing) and they obviously had big plans for him if they wanted his face on TV every week or so, even though he was injured.

Batista debuts, too, in more bizarre terms than Randy (later Evolution mates), becoming a disciple of newly gimmicked D-Von’s preacher role as basically his muscle and a new dude for him to tag with. It didn’t last long, Batista would eventually end up on Raw where he would be groomed by Ric Flair, sowing the seeds for Evolution.

They had some really good momentum going into Judgment Day with the Underaker/Hogan feud that would eventually take the belt off Hogan at the PPV, which included Hogan doing literally the worst sell job to the chokeslam ever. The continued Triple H/Jericho feud was becoming a bore to me, but putting the match in Hell in a Cell at least provided some spark, although the match itself was pretty unmemorable, hmmm, sensing a theme in their matches. Most importantly, though, we had the Edge vs. Kurt Angle hair vs. hair match, in the culmination of an awesome feud that was based around comedy that both men do so well. I had never actually known how Angle went from hair to bald, and for some reason never assumed storyline reasons.

It’s funny because I’ll often forget about the brand split and be like “wow, Angle wasn’t even on this episode of Raw… wait, oh right, there’s an entirely different show.” It’s so crazy to think of the depth of talent they have to fully stock two relatively equal shows, in their own ways, of course. They each would have their own strengths, with Raw having some of the more traditional big names, but Smackdown would become the show to watch WRESTLING with the likes of Benoit, Angle, Guerrero, Mysterio and so forth. It’s just kinda crazy to think they were literally running two shows, that would only become more separate and were both very WWE, but created and re-ienforced their own identity.

Continuing with the randomness of the year, Shawn Michaels returns after, like four and a half years to seemingly little fanfare and joins with the NWO with him just doing random poses and stuff. It was a very weird position to bring him back as, but likely things would later get better with him, and he’d actually be wrestling, again.

Chris Benoit returns after his long injury, and of course they bring him back in his hometown of Edmonton and of course Vince being Vince they turn him heel in his hometown, which is sorta fun. Eddie Guerrero returns, too, and everything for the eventual rise of Smackdown in the latter part of the year is starting to fall in place, even though they were still on Raw.

Booker T is so funny, like, he can get to Kurt Angle levels of comedy, he’s so good. His partnership and schtick with Goldust is so perfect and they’re the perfect combination of randomness to put together.

Brock Lesnar continues to own and absolutely demolished the King Of The Ring tournament to take the crown. They do a smart thing this time around, which makes a lot of sense, giving the King Of The Ring winner a championship match.

The Rock, apparently, gets down promoting The Scorpion King or whatever Hollywood thing he was doing and comes back, obviously in prep to face Lesnar at SummerSlam. The past two years really The Rock is basically just a part-time player, doing his Hollywood stuff and only popping up at a few of the big events to have a big match, then he literally disappears again without WWF mentioning a word, and then repeat.

The Raw right after Vengeance Vince literally calls this time period “Ruthless Aggression,” so I don’t think there’s much of a doubt this is very much the first year of that era and nowhere near the Atittude Era. And then just like clockwork, who appears? John Cena, of course. On the following Smackdown Cena debuts with his infamous match against Angle. I’ll never get tired of seeing early Cena with his nerdy looking hair and plain appearance. The company was obviously super high on him at the time, as he featured in a ton of matches on following Smackdowns, including main-eventing some of them, and even had a mini-feud against Chris Jericho that would lead into Vengeance that he’d win.

The Undertaker vs. Jeff Hardy ladder match was just as epic as it was hyped to be. And in the loss totally made a star out of Hardy as a single competitor and one who could believably compete on his own. What a coming out party. I love the storyline that preceded Hardy taking on Taker. Where he was basically just bored living this easy, comfortable life of flying city to city wrestling and repeating. So, he needs a spark in his life something that matters, so he challenges the big dog, and eventually gets beaten down, but gains the respect of Undertaker and Flair and sets the roots of his singles career.

The Hardyz along with Edge & Christian actually managed to split them up from their tag teams and work them pretty successfully as single stars. Jeff was great, and would only get better, as that high-flying, risk-taking star, Matt had the V1 gimmick, which I’m not sure what the general consensus was, but I loved it for some reason, especially how technologically dependent and wringed in dry humour it was. Edge only gets better as a singles star and is a focal point of the Smackdown rise, while Christian enjoys some fun as part of The Un-Americans with Lance Storm and eventually Test, who just get constant rise out of all the Americans. I can’t believe I never heard of this tag-team/stable before, because it was a perfect gimmick for all of them, with guaranteed heat that they were all so good at getting, even when it wasn’t this easy. On the other hand, the Dudleyz split was pretty unsuccessful, Bubba was, uh, just his crazy self still, but hanging around with a girl occasionally, and D’Von’s preacher gimmick fizzled out fast. It’s no surprise they put them back together at Survivor Series, as it’s obviously how they work best.

Eric Bischoff comes in as general manager of Raw and I couldn’t be happier to see him. When I first started watching wrestling, a few years after this, he was GM and I absolutely love his smarmy asshole-ness and he fits perfectly as the authority figure. I’m too young to have experienced WCW, so I literally knew of Bischoff as Raw general manager before I knew anything about him and WCW, so I’m in a weird place. I can’t imagine how weird it must’ve been for people back in 2002 to see Bischoff randomly appear like this on WWE programming and become a focal authority point for it.

Stephanie McMahon is a great choice for Smackdown GM as well, she provides a nice foil to Bischoff, someone who’s like a thorn who constantly gets stuck in his side when she steals superstars to her show. She shifts back-and-forth between face and heel mannerisms, but it’s refreshing to see her out of the constant Triple H storylines, for the time being.

So, yeah, The Rock takes the title at Vengeance because it makes sense putting the belt on him being a grade A talent, his popularity as a movie star, heading into the number 2 show of the year, and the prospect of putting him against a Brock Lesnar character who seems unbeatable.

The only thing that could be bigger than that, though, is the wrestling return of Shawn Michaels. I’ve been waiting for his SummerSlam match with Triple H ever since he left all those years ago (months in my real life time, but still). Man, it’s almost surreal having HBK back, I know I’ve watched all these years in just a few months, but it really does seem like forever. It’s crazy to think that he literally went out right before/as the Attitude Era was commencing and is now coming back after it ends. Like he missed a whole era of wrestling. I can’t even imagine how things would be different with throughout the whole thing.

Triple H as a face, or psuedo-face wasn’t meant to last, of course, so he eventually turns on HBK during Michaels’ recruitment of HHH into NWO, which makes so little sense, especially since they were former DX members, but anyways. I mean, honestly, it doesn’t take much to build this feud with them, with all the shared history, but they do a good job, especially with HHH getting to turn back into his sadistic side.

This SummerSlam PPV gets hyped up a lot as being one of the best the company has put on, it’s really good, but I don’t think it’s anything fully amazing or anything, though. Rey Mysterio joins the Smackdown fold, finally, and puts on a classic with Kurt Angle to kick off SummerSlam. It’s literally not in Angle’s DNA to put on bad matches. Ric Flair faced off against Chris Jericho, another of Flair’s random feuds of the year as a wrestler, and one of Jericho’s, too. Chris Jericho had kind of a down year here, especially coming off his monumental one of last year, and never really got to be in the main event picture, but was just stuck in small, random feuds and the tag-team scene. Undertaker also feuded with Test for some reason, just to give him something to do, I guess, which he easily won.

The Shawn Michaels/Triple H street fight was a lot of fun and lived up to the years of hype surrounding the return of HBK. They went long, and even though I was sure Michaels was going over, it still told a pretty good story and had many spots where it seemed like Triple H would believably go over.

The Brock coronation begins when he defeats The Rock in a relatively one-sided affair and one that was a lot more shorter and succinct than I expected and just like that Brock Lesnar is the Undisputed champion of the company and The Rock disappears without a word.

Oh, my god, l I never really fully understood the “Triple H didn’t want to work Tuesdays things” and so they legit just brought back the Heavyweight title and just gave it to HHH because he didn’t want to work Smackdown and fight for the supposed one Undisputed title. I mean, I guess it makes sense to have two separate titles with the brand split, but it’s listed as the UNDISPUTED title and it hardly had any time to breath, and they just gave it to HHH. Amazing. Like, Bischoff just gave Triple H a world championship, no tournament or anything, and now all of a sudden each brand has a world title, which I like, but it’s hilarious how randomly and low-key they do it.

Unforgiven was a pretty boring placeholder PPV with Triple H easily defending his title against RVD, of all people. At the very least, it was used as a way for Ric Flair to turn and align with Triple H, which at the time is kinda fun, giving Triple H someone to bounce things off, and also gives Flair some direction, which he desperately needed these past few months ever since being ousted as GM. The Lesnar/Undertaker feud is a lot of good work, though, especially when Brock and Heyman use Sara against Taker, makes them even more slimy.

Finally, the HHH/Kane/Katie Vick storyline. This was actually a ton of fun and random and so not what they’ve done recently and was a such an Attitude outlier of a storyline. It was actually so nice to have someone feud with Kane and he actually got to be a part of the meaty story and had a backstory and not just some silent, grunt who beats people up for no reason, except for being a DEMON FROM HELL. HHH prodding him was the best and so slimy and dickish of him. At least it wasn’t your same old title match, where it’s the ol “I’m better than you, no I’m better than YOU.” Their title match at No Mercy was pretty boring and didn’t match the build-up, and obviously HHH won. I don’t fully understand why they used it to get rid of the Intercontinental title, making it title for title was cool, but just completely getting rid of the mid-card title seemed weird.

Smackdown needed their own tag belts, so they had a tournament that concluded at No Mercy with Benoit and Angle winning the title. It was pretty clear they were winning ever since the storyline started with them being begrudgen partners, but they’re fantastic wrestling and in a storyline together, so it works all the way around. Especially, with the calibre of tag teams like Los Guerreros and Edge and Rey Mysterio, my god. The Smackdown 6, what a time to be alive.

If that wasn’t enough, No Mercy was capped with a brutal, epic Hell In A Cell match between Brock Lesnar and Undertaker that completely lives up to its hype. This was another of several matches this year that I couldn’t wait to get to, and it delivered and more. Such an even bigger rub for Lesnar to take out Undertaker in the match that made him famous.

Hey, you remember the Big Show who literally has done nothing of note and has been in no storyline at all in, like, two years? Yeah, well, he literally complains about this basically to Bischoff, Bischoff does nothing, so Show defects to Smackdown and gets a title match with Lesnar at Survivor Series. Huh? It’s hilarious how they do this because Big Show has literally not been a factor in anything in sooo long and they just plug him into this feud with Lesnar from 0-100. I guess they probably wanted someone who looked imposing towards the insane mass of Lesnar and Show definitely fits the bill. So, of course, after all of building Lesnar up from destroying everyone in his path, winning King Of The Ring, taking the title off The Rock at SummerSlam, defeating Undertaker in Hell in a Cell, after all of that, at Survivor Series Lesnar owns Big Show, but Paul Heyman turns on Lesnar and Big Show gets the win and the title thanks to a little steel chair action. It’s kinda dumb, I would’ve liked to have seen Lesnar keep being built up as a monster, but springing him on his own and having him be a sort of babyface to take revenge on Heyman and Big Show works decently enough.

The Raw part of Survivor Series was, oh, just the introduction of a little match called the Elimination Chamber. I completely forgot it debuted this year and was so excited when I found out. It’s crazy to see Bischoff hype it now with us looking back, but it must have seemed crazy and out of this world at the time. The match itself more than lived up to the hype and must have been a relief since it very much have devolved into a cluster with the newness of it and all the people. Rob Van Dam was the star of the show, creating amazing moves and just generally being a rag doll, even though he was the first one out. I couldn’t remember if HBK or HHH won or not, but Michaels going over works, gives him his moment with the title and allows the feud to be stretched on, as it would to the next PPV.

Leading into Vengeance, Angle won the no. 1 contendership for the title against Big Show, as Brock couldn’t get his rematch and was eventually later suspended. This led to a weird thing where instead of just a Lesnar retaliation of Big Show, Angle was injected into this feud, with Lesnar helping Angle win the title of Big Show at the PPV. But, Angle would eventually become an adversary of Lesnar’s when he teamed with Heyman, so now Heyman had Big Show and Heyman. It’s a little convoluted, but I guess they just want to stack the deck as much as possible against Lesnar, so his overcoming of those two and regaining of the title will be that much greater.

The Triple H/HBK feud concludes, I believe, for now in another great match and just another top-tier effort following their other big matches at SummerSlam and Survivor Series. I knew they faced off in this epic Three Stages of Hell match, but I had no clue it was so soon, and didn’t think they’d put it on maybe their weakest PPV generally, the one in December. Anyways, it was an enjoyable match, even if the first street fight stage went on wayyy too long and subsequently the last stage with the ladder match was vastly under-used and was a letdown. It’s actually kind of crazy, too, the amount of bumps HBK took in this match, the SummerSlam match, and the Elimination Chamber match, especially due to the hardcore nature of all of them, given his situation with his back. Like, he went all out and didn’t seem concerned at all about an injury that put him out for over four years, it almost makes me cringe seeing him put all that pressure on his back, but I guess things worked out relatively well in the end.

So, that’s basically it, at least with storylines that are largely contained to this year. All in all I had a ton of fun with this year and it was so needed and the perfect antidote to the staleness and sub-par 2001. There was just sooo much jam packed into this year from returns, debuts, epic stipulation matches, the breadth of the draft and brand split, fun storylines (I didn’t even talk about the whole Dawn Marie, Torrie Wilson, Al Wilson storyline, although, I wouldn’t really classify it as fun), and really just the start of a whole new fresh direction that was divorced from the Attitude Era and bred out of the ashes of the invasion angle of the last year.

Through all this I’m really looking forward to 2003, especially because it’s one of my biggest blind spots of WWE. I’m aware of broad things that happen from the Rumble to WrestleMania 19. But, don’t really know or recall much that happens from then into 2004, so I’m really looking forward to it and hoping it remains fresh to me. I first really got into wrestling right after WrestleMania 20 and subsequently know everything about the next couple years after that, so I’m going to relish in this next year being somewhat in the dark and hope that the fun of 2002 only continues.

‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: Season 7 Review

'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Season 7 Cover

So, that’s how it ends, I guess? The TV version of things, anyways. A pretty lackluster conclusion that just plodded along and equaled the minimal stakes of the previous season. There never seemed to be any consistent movement with the story, especially when they had a small kernel of an idea, with the potential vampire slayers, and stretching it out for the entire season.

To start off the season Buffy gets a job as a counselor at the newly built Sunnydale High, which is really just a reason to have a reason for her to back into the thick of things and gives us some of the school backdrop again, like from the first few seasons. Xander is also hilariously tied into this all as his construction company is doing work on the school. Willow of course is still reeling from that whole “trying to destroy the world” thing and the death of Tara. So, more Willow wallowing, basically.

I always wanted more backstory into the whole idea of being a slayer, what it takes and where they come from, which they never really delved much into, surprisingly. They brought the idea forth as the central framework of this season, but never really materializes beyond anything more than a device to further separate and differentiate Buffy and Faith and cause dissension between the groups with Buffy’s preferred method of attack.

Honestly, for a final season, and a show of this magnitude and genre, nothing really out of the ordinary happens, and is pretty by-the-numbers in terms of revelations and expectations. Willow finds a new lover, not much happens with Xander, besides the token death of Anya that he seems to not take THAT hard given the circumstances. Buffy becomes on the outs with her group after Faith ousts her, but of course Buffy wins herself back into their winning graces by the end. Giles is still kicking around on the outskirts, doling out his sage old mentor wisdom, and dang, I thought for sure he was going to die during this thing. Spike is back and not much happens with him until the end of the season, as they still are just obsessed with using Spike solely through his relationship with Buffy. At least Buffy doesn’t take him back after that whole weird rape thing from last season. So, of course Spike sacrifices himself to help defeat their enemy.

So, overall a pretty disappointing end to the series, that unfortunately was waning this way as it went along. Coming into the show I couldn’t help but be influenced by the praise and stature the show has received and achieved, and while ultimately I see where it’s coming from, it never fully hits that mark for me. I enjoyed how the show was able to very deftly switch up its format from the first few seasons of more procedural based into longer form stories across a season, even if these weren’t always executed perfectly. The first few seasons also teased dealing with Buffy’s psyche and how she would have to deal with the psychological effects of killing and how it effects the people around her. They never really did anything with this, beyond the occasional hardship of her normal teenage things, but I definitely thought they could’ve milked that a lot more.

Buffy would almost immediately become my least favourite character and would remain in that position for the entire series. I understand having her deal with romantic relationships, and that’s all well and good and expected, but it remained an overbearing thread in each season, often with her being the most hyperbolic when dealing with these guys in her life. She also always would give off this air of being better than everybody else with her way always being the best, usually in her dealings with Dawn. Beyond all this, though, what of course the show does best, and I imagine why the show is so beloved is the characters it created, their growing relationships between each other and the eventual sense of lived in they give off, like you’ve known them your whole life and know how they’d react to each situation, they felt like people you would know. Besides all that demon-killing stuff.

The success of the show is no doubt influenced by its timing. Starting in 1997 and ending in 2003 it no doubt was one of the major influences in the new era of television in the 90s, mixing strong teen characters and their subsequent drama with a supernatural element that gave the show a lot of freedom to explore wide depths of drama, horror, comedy. It allowed no restrictions really in the type of material it tackled and would do so full force whether it was the very real death of a family member, gay relationships, rape or even concept episodes featuring songs. The show was able to push boundaries because of its framework and thus I think why the last few seasons were a lot more freer in story and plot than the more focused and defined early seasons. It’s a show that largely deserves its praise, even if its just as well known as what it shaped after it.

‘Spectre’: Review

'Spectre' Banner

Since talking about Spectre means you have to reference it and compare it wit Skyfall, I guess we’ll do some of that to start it off. I, seemingly, am one of the few people who didn’t like Skyfall at all, outside of the vastly underused Javier Bardem as the villain (which coincidentally, or not, is a problem in Spectre, too). Skyfall to me was way over-serious and overdramatic that was so far gone that it made Bond seem like a parody and made me laugh out loud at scenes such as that damn komodo dragon scene and the lack of tension or stakes in the climax. Spectre, on the other hand, is very much the opposite of this, almost a response, where Bond’s humour is played up a lot more and a lot of the story and characters just out-of-this-world insane that don’t actually make a lot of real world sense, but end up being a lot of fun in how ridiculous they are.

Spectre also brings back to prominence the idea of a strong Bond girl, who although, still falls too much into “damsel in distress” territory there is at least an attempt to establish a worthy and intelligent women to Bond’s equal and is not entirely just a stepping stones for Bond’s needs. I realize they always want these women to be of romantic interest to Bond, but I wish for once they’d downplay that situation. Of course, she falls for him, and even tries to get out of Bond’s warpath by saying she can’t be apart of all these dangerous shenanigans, so she leaves, only to immediately reverse her decision on how awesome and dangerous Bond is AFTER she gets saved from a building rigged with explosives by him. It doesn’t make much sense.

Surprisingly, the action scenes were pretty disappointing and run of the mill to me. The opening set piece at the Day of the Dead festival in Mexico City was a lot of fun and a cool set piece, but there wasn’t much that sticks in my memory as particularly impressive or lasting. I thought Dave Bautista would have a bigger role, as I kinda thought he was one of the main villains due to his marketing presence on the film, but nope he was literally just the big, dumb main henchman who doesn’t talk. Not that I have a problem with that at all, it’s literally the perfect role for him, I just thought a little more would come out of it, besides how generic it was.

Christoph Waltz was obviously a perfect choice to play a Bond villain, a role he was basically born to play. He was very underutilized and only really featured in the back half of the film, but it kind of gave his performance and scenes and more special and unique quality, like Bond had finally done enough to reveal and see the final boss.

I had a lot of fun with Spectre, it wasn’t amazing nor did it push the Bond films in a new direction, it was an amalgamation of some of the earlier Bond films, embracing the ludicrousness and reveling in the type of villain who creates an entire building to house an asteroid. I’m pretty sure the film is aware of all this stuff as it goes along, it’s not like everything is played so straight that it demands to be serious, it just stresses more on the entertainment than the always underlying sadness that has seemed to plague Bond for the Daniel Craig run. I do wonder after this how much tread is left on the Daniel Craig Bond tire. Whatever his contract or he says he seems tired of it, and he definitely shows some cracking at the edges during the film. I would love to see some new blood injected into the franchise and perhaps a different direction taken, not that the films have been bad, just maybe some fresh eyes would help shake things up in a less monotonous direction.

‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: Season 6 Review

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 6 Cover

Alright, well, this is the first season I think I’ve disliked, or at least that vehemently. What an un-cohesive mess this thing turned out to be. Unlike how last season was kind of formless and free in a good way, this one was much the same, but was never a pleasant or enjoyable ride in any of the storylines.

By far one of the most interesting aspects of this season, and beginning more with season 5 in a nice slow burn was Willow’s increasing obsession with magic and how she would use it for expounding nefarious and reckless ways, and a lot of the time would just use it because HELL YEAH MAGIC. So, it made sense on one end how they culminated her addiction to it with it turning her into the big bad, but it felt so rushed at the end of the season, where there wasn’t much overall demon tension, and held such little teeth.

I guess the main villains throughout the season were The Trio, literally just a bunch of nerds, who always became an after thought because they didn’t seem to pose any tangible threat. Playing off this, I guess, though, Warren, the leader of the group, attempts to kill Buffy by shooting, only wounding her, but a couple of his stray shots hit Tara and she dies, and cue the Willow big bad turn. I know that scene is supposed to play serious, and it does to an extent, having a regular dude just use a regular ol’ human gun to try and kill Buffy and company seems a whole lot scarier in one sense than just demons trying to kill the Scooby gang each season. But, damn, the execution of the scene played like a made-for-TV movie where the stray bullet hits Tara mid-conversation with Willow, and only just recently after they rekindled their love.

Spurned on by her girlfriend’s death, Willow turns evil and wreaks havoc, eventually killing and brutally flaying Warren, which was pretty crazy to see. And actually an interesting side note to the story, Willow having to live with killing an actual human, a theme running rampant throughout the series, harming actual humans and the consequences of that. Writing this out, I guess it’s not as bad and out of the blue with Willow as I recalled, you had the Trio kind of bubbling under all season and then the one rash move from them sets Willow into overdrive for the last few episodes as the baddie, it doesn’t entirely work, but pacing looks a bit better looking at the overall picture. And of course Willow comes back to normal when Xander convinces her to not destroy the world through FRIENDSHIP LOVE. And, damn, if Xander, along with Anya is my favourite character nowadays, coming along way since me hating him in the first couple seasons. His friendship and attitude towards Willow is a lot less dickish, mostly since Anya’s been in the picture, so it actually works pretty well with him being the one to bring Willow back.

Speaking of Xander and Anya, their wedding goes bust after Xander gets cold feet after some demon tricks Xander into thinking their future together will be super awful, so he calls it off due to that. Alright. So, then Anya turns back all demon like and wants to kill Xander because she’s an irrational demon at heart, and subsequently bangs Spike. And then like two episodes later or something, I can’t remember, but it was short, Xander realizes he’s a big, dumb idiot and regrets dumping Anya and now has to get her back. I mean, I guess they wanted some conflict between them, but this is definitely not how you do it, and pretty lazy to begin with. And of course near the end of the season Anya gets the ‘ol positive Xander vibes, so who knows where this is going…

Oh, yeah, Buffy’s totally not dead, if you’re wondering. She got resurrected by Willow, of course, and is back to contend with Spike’s love and other stuff. Buffy’s been long one of my least favourite characters, and especially again that her storyline is again just about her relationship with a dude and doubly with Spike who has become all boring and neutered. And then, damn, they do something that I never thought the show would do and seemed a little to mature of a topic that they would want to contend with, but alright. Spike literally attacks and attempts to rape Buffy, like, at first I wasn’t sure if that’s what they were doing, but yup, Spike legit tries to rape Buffy. I mean, Spike was always the kind of fun-loving asshole character that was the supposed bad-ass guy, but was secretly good at heart especially when Buffy was around, but now they spin this on us, and it’s really hard to come back from that. At the end of the season Spike pulls a Dave Chappelle and heads to Africa to regain his soul, and I dunno. I had such hopes for Spike in these last seasons, but I can’t help but think they’ve wasted him so much, especially as literally just this dude pining after Buffy for the past two seasons. Hopefully, the last season will put a deserved bow on things, that puts Buffy on top to make things worth it.

I can’t say I’m entirely enamored with where the show is going. I thought that the show would improve on and lay out its direction into a more concise and defined story that would string through the latter seasons and culminate at the end, but these last few seasons have been very directionless and aimless, minus the last third or so of the season. I thought there might have been more digging into the back story of the whole idea of a slayer, or have an overarching bad guy or series of events that the gang would have to make their way through. The procedural elements of a new demon to kill each week seems largely out the window at times, and you’d think that would translate to a more cohesive overall story to tell, but it never manifests to one that I think the show has the potential to tell. I’m a little apprehensive going into the last season, because of this track record, but I’m also looking forward to it because it is indeed the last season (TV wise at least), so I’m hoping that will force and push them to write to an end with a fulfilling story. At the very least, I do love hanging out with these characters and like any show like this, especially in the later seasons, it’s so fun to see their characters, relationships and history together grow and you feel like you know them so well. The writing and Whedon-esque dialogue are all obviously the lynch-pins to that and thus I’m looking forward to seeing how their story wraps up.

Hell In A Cell: Review/Recap

Hell In A Cell Banner

Alberto Del Rio Defeats John Cena to win the United States Championship:

So, if you’ve been reading the dirt sheets for the past couple weeks you’ll know that John Cena is set to take some time off, supposedly until close to the end of the year, so it seemed like a foregone conclusion that whoever was Cena’s mystery opponent they would take the belt from him, and that he did. And, also, if you’ve been reading the dirt sheets over the past couple months you’ll know that Del Rio was heavily rumoured to be coming back to the WWE, seemingly sooner rather than later, and that he did. Realistically, he was probably the best person they could’ve got to do this, outside of Daniel Bryan, but nobody truly knows his condition anymore it seems and I’m sure WWE would want to promote the hell out of D-Bry returning and not just have him randomly appear. I really don’t like the idea of having Del Rio returning with Zeb Colter as his manager, it doesn’t seem needed at all, besides the fact that I can’t stand Colter, and Del Rio can more than work by himself. I just hope they don’t give him the short stick, even with his probably stipulation heavy contract, Del Rio can still fill a top role in the company, especially with Cena out. As for the match itself, it was anti-climatic the whole way through, it was some, like, barely over seven minutes and Del Rio just did a couple random kicks to Cena’s head and pinned him, because of course Cena isn’t tapping to Del Rio with his regular finish. It was like Cena wanted to start his vacation extra early and, hence the quick match and that it was the first match on the card. Anyways, it was pretty dumb that Cena is built up as never losing and when he does cleanly like this it’s so pointless and doesn’t make much sense continuity wise, but eh, that’s just par for the course really.

Roman Reigns Defeats Bray Wyatt in a Hell In A Cell match:

This was probably low-key the match I was most looking forward to of the night, and unlike the other Cell match actually had some current build-up to it. Plus, Bray and Roman are great young talents who have some nice chemistry together. The match was a good brawl fest, with some nice use of kendo sticks and tables and positioned both men quite strongly, even if it was constantly clear that Roman would come out on top. I just really hope this is the end to the Reigns/Wyatt family feud that seems to have stretched for a year basically when you throw Ambrose’s feuding with Bray from late last year. I like Bray Wyatt and think he has sooo much potential, but it’d be nice to see him come out of a feud on top for once, I know he never was going to against Reigns, but it seems like Vince and co. like him and the Wyatts, yet they’re always stepping stones for others. We shall see.

The New Day Defeats The Dudley Boyz to retain the Tag Team Championship:

Man, I’m so sick of this feud already, and with the thought that they’d culminate it at TLC in December with a tables match, I don’t know if I can last that long. This thing is dead in the water, especially when they gotta keep up dumb finishes so that The Dudleyz don’t win and so that there’s a limp thread of a reason for them to keep feuding with The New Day continually retaining. They did some fun stuff with a framed DQ job from Kofi, but everything else largely falling flat, especially when The Dudleyz look so sloppy with their wrestling, missing out on simple moves, that take away from the supposed fidelity of the match. I prey they inject some new blood into this thing, or just cut bait early and have The Dudleyz work somebody else and The New Day do something else as they’re consistently part of the main event picture on RAW’s, so who knows.

Charlotte Defeats Nikki Bella to retain the Divas Championship:

This match was pretty uneventful and seemingly just Nikki’s rematch that she loses to get her out of the picture so probably Paige comes in and feuds for the belt next. Nikki looked really good in the match, and even though people were rightfully sick of her, she’s underratedly one of the best female wrestler on the roster, even with all the new NXT influence. I like Charlotte, too, and she might actually be my favourite overall, but I’m curious to see how long they keep the belt on her, even with the Flair pedigree and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her getting screwed out of it or something sooner than later.

Seth Rollins Defeats Kane to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship:

This was a pretty meh match and really exactly what was expected. It’s pretty telling when the World Championship match is a distant afterthought behind the two Cell matches. Hell, this thing probably could’ve been spiced up by putting it in the Cell, but here we are. I’ve never really like Rollins and Kane’s chemistry in the ring, they’re different styles obviously, but everything often seems so clunky and hemmed down with the two, and Seth’s been pulling out great matches with everybody, but this was a down moment for sure. At least this limited to a one PPV feud, we hope.

Kevin Owens Defeats Ryback to retain the Intercontinental Championship:

Damn, and I thought the Cena match was short just to get the belt off him, this one was the semi-reverse where Owens retained in, like, five minutes because I can only assume that’s how quickly they wanted this Owens/Ryback feud to be over so they can move Owens on to bigger and better things. I’m glad they didn’t stretch the feud out because Owens just murders Ryback in the ring and on the mic that Ryback never even seemed close to being a formidable opponent of Owens, even though they tried to make the story of how Owens cheated to win each time. There’s really not much of Ryback I can stand, he’s terrible on the mic and a poorer wrestler than he thinks he is and as much as he thinks otherwise, he just doesn’t have a good look. I’m looking forward to an actual feud with Owens and someone who can hang with him believably.

Brock Lesnar Defeats The Undertaker in a Hell In A Cell match:

Now I was pretty sure that this was going to be a good match, seeing as how their SummerSlam match was pretty fantastic (minus the finish) and that it’s supposedly the last time they’ll ever fight (this is the WWE, though, so you know to never fully believe anything they promise.), but damn if this thing exceeded expectations. Now, of course, this Cell match was going to be in the shadow of their classic blood-fueled duel inside the Cell at No Mercy in 2002, and this one being in the PG-era how could it compete, but oh, man, was their blood. Now, who knows if we’ll ever know if Lesnar and /or Taker purposely bladed (I’m going to guess no), but this match was as bloody as I’ve ever seen in a long time. I really think Brock’s just a bleeder and has some thin skin, because he’s constantly getting busted open, and pretty early in the match. It looked like they were working pretty stiff, too, so the unplanned blood seems pretty likely that way. But, otherwise this was a great match with a ton of brawling and and a kick-ass ending that most importantly saw Lesnar going over cleanly and getting the win as he should have. This is definitely a match I’m looking forward to going back and watching and if this is indeed the end to their decade-plus of feuding, it was a pretty worth conclusion. Generally, that would be it, but it’s no secret that Undertaker’s 25th Anniversary is coming at Survivor Series, the next PPV, so the Wyatt family (also in need of a new feud to start) come out and beat the hair extensions out of Taker and abduct him. Which was actually kind of badass for the Wyatt family to do, especially with their history. Obviously, this will lead into some kind of match, probably a Survior Series elimination match somehow at the PPV. Unfortunately it’s hard to see the Wyatt’s coming out on top again this time, but maybe Undertaker’s fully in his “putting others over” phase, but we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic.

‘Steve Jobs’: Review

Steve Jobs Banner

Steve Jobs is framed with an inventive idea to have the film only focus on three specific events in Steve Jobs and Apple’s life, the launches of the original Macintosh, NeXT and the iMac jumping from 1984 to 1988 to 1998. Each year and event contains Jobs behind-the-scenes dealing with the final hours and minutes before each launch, featuring conversations with the same cast of characters of Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet, marketing manager, Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Apple co-founder, John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), CEO of Apple/Jobs father figure/confidant, and Jobs’ daughter played by a variety of actress throughout the year. Each year Jobs gets in a variation of the same argument/conversation with each person, with shading filled in between as to what has changed throughout the years we haven’t seen, but Jobs being the standoffish guy he always is, it’s always the same thing.

Normally, I’m all for bucking the classic bio-pic trend of literally following the person from their childhood, to their big break and then eventual downfall and then eventual rise again and blah, blah, blah, it’s a tired story and one that would probably be even more repetitive with Jobs if we followed everything and just went from new invention to new invention to new invention. Sure, this is basically that, but it’s really only that, simplifying the action to one place in a set of surroundings for 40 minutes or so. It works in and of itself, but in doing so, skipping large amounts of time, it glosses over much of what makes the rise and fall of Jobs interesting. We see him ousted from the company in 1988 trying to get NeXT off the ground, and then the transition a decade into the future is a one-minute montage that is basically “oh, yeah, Jobs got back with Apple and is now on top of the computer industry,” yet minutes ago he was toiling on the edge of relevancy and couldn’t launch a successful project to save his life. Because we don’t see any of this, and it’s only mentioned in passing, it’s hard to fully comprehend and really feel for any of Jobs failing and subsequent rise to the top, it’s all just skipped over in montage form, which unsurprisingly Danny Boyle loves to do. I realize Sorkin wanted to make everything minimalist and targeted, but in doing so lost a lot of what made Jobs’ story interesting and what made his ride in the industry so tumultuous. Instead, we get a couple interesting pieces of the puzzle, that work as a character piece in a vacuum, but leave a lot up to the audience to fill in the blanks on the rest.

Having the read the book the film was loosely based on I was able to fill in the blanks on characters and knew what happened in between the time periods. But, I’d imagine it would be harder for an outsider unfamiliar with the particulars of Steve Jobs’ life to fully follow why so-and-so was happening and how he magically goes from A-to-B, and in an especially weird moment where he describes finding out who his biological father is and how he’s actually randomly bumped into him many times in life, plays as a random aside that doesn’t make much context within the film itself, yet was a pretty integral part of driving who he was as a person in real life, it’s like they just plugged a random scene in or much was cut from a storyline about it.

Another part that rarely ever works is these people in Jobs’ life who rail on Jobs and are supposed to be this foil to him being a major asshole, trying to cut Jobs down a peg where people like Wozniak and Jobs’ daughter Lisa would outline how all Jobs’ computers up to that point were a failure and how others would tell truthly how Jobs was never really a designer or engineer, but took parts from others and took credit for it all, but it never amounted for such. These people in theory are supposed to be putting Jobs in check by saying “why are you such an asshole and why do you act this way when your computers have and never will be as great as you think they are, and you’re not this mythical computer god who knows all.” Except that we’re viewing this film from 2015, or later, and we know full well that after 1998 Jobs’ stock and presence around the world as a computer god and legend of innovation only grows larger and more defined. Jobs gets the last laugh, and not that he’s wholly some evil and diabolical person, but we’re lead to be on the side of these people who are trying to keep Jobs honest, and temper his asshole side, but in the end he wins out in his normal way and still treats these people the same way. Sure, that was Jobs, an asshole who often treated those around him and employees like garbage, but also got incredible work and design out of them to create these revolutionary projects. It’s the most interesting things about Jobs, but because of how the film is laid out, and these relationships are only seen in three finite times, we only see this one side where Jobs is always right and always winning no matter what, when in actuality that wasn’t always the case.

It’s clear within literally the first five minutes of the movie, that there’s no one else who could’ve played this role like Michale Fassbender does. He completely embodies Jobs’ look and nails the smugness perfectly, if not always looking as geeky as Jobs did, where Fassbender still can’t not look like an attractive movie star, most notably in the 1984 and 1988 scenes. It’s very much Fassbender’s film, and I really don’t recall a scene without him, he’s obviously the driving force and makes everything work, even when Sorkin’s script gets too overly dramatic, which unfortunately happens to comical effect. I was looking forward to seeing how Seth Rogen would handle playing Steve Wozniak, as of course Rogen isn’t known for his dramatic roles, even though the sweet and goofy Wozniak isn’t any stone-cold dramatist by any means, but unfortunately there’s not much there. Seth Rogen just literally plays Seth Rogen like you’ve seen him many times before. Not once do you think you’re watching Steve Wozniak, but rather Seth Rogen saying lines supposed to be from Steve Wozniak.

In the end, a lot of the film is good in and of itself, the script, Boyle’s directing (even if he wouldn’t of been my first choice), much of the acting is well done and the pacing moves at a nice clip (the film never feels like its dragging), but it doesn’t really mesh together. Sorkin’s walk-and-talk script that seems to function as a play doesn’t really play with Boyle’s style of directing who likes to illuminate flashy editing and play with montage and super-impositions that take what Sorkin intends to ground and create something that seems at odds with the script, and Boyle can never seem to hold it down. As many have noted, one can’t help but wonder what the original David Fincher version would have looked like, and I’m sat here wondering the same thing.

‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: Season 5 Review

Buffy Season 5 Cast

“Buffy” is at that point now that most show’s with a core group of friends usually does where above anything else that the show does it’s really just fun to hang out with these characters, ones that you know so much by now and seem like just another extension of friends of yours. By this point the show isn’t really tied to having a baddie each episode for Buffy and company to dispatch all the while slowly moving along the overarching story. It’s still in effect, yeah, but it seems more freer, less concerned with sticking to a formula each episode, and just goes with the flow with whatever the writers feel like following that week, whether it be taking down a demon, focusing more on the characters relationships, hitting largely on the overarching story, or just menial things like people in their early twenties buying a house or getting a job or whatever. For at least the first 2/3 thirds of the season, it has a very laid back feel, and one that is a nice change of pace and works well as a foil as things eventually unravel in the back portion of the season.

Perhaps the biggest thing of the season is the literal random introduction of Buffy’s sister Dawn, where the show just literally drops her into the proceedings all like “What? Over four seasons you hadn’t noticed Buffy has a sister? She’s totally been here the whole time.” It’s hilarious how they introduce her like that, and at first I thought they just really wanted to introduce a new character, especially a sister to Buffy, and were just like “Screw it, this is the easiest way to put her in, nobody will notice after awhile.” But, thankfully, it wasn’t that dumb, and played into the series where she was placed there as a key between dimensions and memories of her were implanted into people who know her, which was slowly discovered by Buffy until they realized who she was and how she plays into things.

Oh, yeah, this whole “key” situation. So, sweet ‘ol young as hell Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn is a sort of “key” that the big bad of the season a goddess from hell needs to return to her realm of hell and subsequently wreck havoc on Earth. Glory, as she so affectionately is called, was kind of a letdown for me, where she was supposed to be built up as this all-ruling GOD, which the show was always quick to remind you was totally way worse than any other villain Buffy has faced, yet she never seemed all that formative in and of herself. I really liked the idea of Buffy having a sister, even if she just continually treated her awful time and time again. It provided a nice dynamic, and eventually would wring some much-needed humility from Buffy.

The rest of the cast honestly wasn’t really up to much this season, honestly. Giving credence to the whole laid back vibe of much of the season. Xander and Anya continue to develop their relationship, they get a place together and just generally try to juggle a relationship of human and emotionless demon. Anya also gets a job at Giles new magic shop, which basically just provides another location for the gang to hang out and scheme in. Nothing happens with Willow, until near the end of the season, but that can be said with all these characters I’m mentioning, really, and same with Tara, besides them delving a bit into her past with her family, but it’s never fully explored besides an episode or two, but it eventually pays dividends with her opening up to Buffy and helping her change her mind in regards to her sister’s role in everything.

And Spike, I guess I kinda shoulda figured that he wasn’t just going to go back to being a straight up villain who hated and tried to kill Buffy and co. He’s basically a good guy now, especially with his whole thing this season was just how much he’s in love with Buffy. I mean, I love him as a comedy outlet, but I still thought they’d utilize him in a more central and serious role, but he’s good with whatever he’s given, so it’s largely hard to complain. Speaking of Buffy and her love interests, Riley leaves halfway through the season because he pretty rightfully discovers that he’s not really a priority in Buffy’s life (que the Buffy complaining how it’s so hard to juggle her love life with demon slaying. Sigh.). I honestly just thought he’d be back the next episode, but it was literally until the last few episodes where I just realized that Riley was no longer regularly on the show, that’s how much I missed him. It was definitely a breath of fresh air, though, not having Buffy pine over someone each episode.

As most of my other reviews/recaps/whatever you’d call these things would suggest I’ve been counting down the episode until Giles dies, but damn, it’s the end of season five and he’s still alive, colour me surprised. But, I guess, the old, authoritative figure to die wasn’t going to be him now, or yet… but that role shifted to somebody else. Buffy’s mother was in the hospital early in the season with a brain tumor that was eventually cleared as nothing and just really seemed to serve as a minor storyline to further the Buffy, Dawn, mom relationship. But, then, to kick off the last third of episodes that ratchets up the dramatic core and drive of the season, Buffy walks into her house and see her mom’s cold dead body lying on the couch. The following episode “The Body” is one of the best of the series, following how the very real impact of Joyce’s death affects each of the gang in its own different way. Buffy imagines her mom alive in a fleeting hope of reality, but it’s all for naught, and no matter what spell attempts to be concocted Joyce is dead and gone. In the most real and grounded part of things, it’s not as if a demon or something in Buffy’s line of work caused where she brought a vampire too close to home and it costed her mom. Nope, Joyce died of that honest to goodness brain tumour, nothing fancy, just a sad reality of stuff that randomly affects humans, because we’re just that, human.

And so in the wake of all that, Glory’s forces close in on the Scooby gang, with Glory zeroing in on Dawn to fulfill her mass destiny and kill her and score one for the bad guys. But, Buffy decides to be nice to her sister for once and sacrifices herself in place of Dawn as they share the same blood. And that’s how the show ends, with Buffy dead and everybody just going on their merry ways. No, of course not, we still got two more season of this thing! At least. So, now I sit here wondering what I have the last few seasons, what will next season look like, especially since the last two have been vastly different from each other in style, scope, emotion and form. Buffy’s gotta come back and she’s gotta have another love interest, that’s like death and taxes! Season six, let’s see what you got.