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.