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Buffy Finale Thoughts (Spoiler!)

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This post is one big spoiler for the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, don't read it if you don't want to be spoiled. Also, if you're not a fan, this may not make any sense or be interesting. I don't make any apologies.

A few months ago, Buffy made a speech which I liked enough to add to my quotes file:

I'm beyond tired. I'm beyond scared. I'm standing on the mouth of hell and it is gonna swallow me whole.

And it'll choke on me.

We're not ready. They're not ready. They think we're going to wait for the end to come, like we always do. I'm done waiting. They want an apocolypse. Oh, we'll give 'em one.

Anyone else who wants to run, do it now. 'cause we just became an army. We just declared war. From now on we won't just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them and cut out their hearts one by one, until the first shows itself for what it really is. And I'll kill it myself.

There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that's us.

I didn't like the direction that the show went in after that episode. Buffy became more remote, and used her leadership position to boss around potential slayers and send them on suicide missions. (At least the show had this leading to a revolt by the potentials.)

The suicide missions didn't even accomplish much, sending regular humans to their deaths against superhuman beings, while the slayers didn't provide support.

I think many of my problems come with what I associate with being an army. My perceptions of the military come from seeing the US military in action, and I do not associate the Army with throwing lives away.

The finale finally changed my mind about this season, and in a good way. It featured two things that I like.

The first is the realization that the old way of fighting, where a few slayers took on hordes of demons, would no longer work. In this episode, Willow (the resident witch) powered up all the potential vampire slayers around the world, including the potentials fighting alongside Buffy.

As an aside, this was a great bit of TV, more for what it didn't show than what it did. The powering-up of the slayers was done without special effects. Energy didn't fly around the screen into them. Instead, all we saw was the look on their faces, as they changed, as Buffy narrated.

The second thing that I liked was the taking of the fight to the enemy, finally taking the initiative instead of allowing the forces of evil to always choose the time and place of combat. The idea was to achieve victory, soon, rather than letting the enemy chose what it wants to do, picking off good guys one by one.

Perhaps there's an analogy to the war on terror here. The first evil does seem to live in a cave, and it's up to the good guys to root them out.

The season finale had its flaws, although many of them are more peeves that I have with the genre than actually problems in the show. The regular humans seemed woefully undermatched using swords against the ubervamps. I'd loved to have seen flamethrowers or shotguns firing wood, but that's just venturing off into warthogs versus dragons.

The other problem I had is one that seems to be a bit common in magic/fantasy settings, and that's the ancient artifact saving the day. (It looks like it had something to do with the spin-off series, Angel, which I do not follow.)

That being said, the season finale rocked. The writing was Joss Whedon at his best, and that's quite good. For the first time in a long time, the characters were the ones I liked, the ones that joked in the face of death, rather than angstily sleeping with each other. The music and the look of the episode were also great.

For the past few years, I've been watching less and less TV. It's the best episodes of good shows like Buffy, Babylon 5, Futurama, and Firefly that make it worth watching.

- Tom | permalink | changelog | Last updated: 2003-05-20 23:20

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Comments

Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2003 by from the beginning:

i've watched buffy the vampire slayer series grow from the first day buffy stepped into sunnydale high, met up with giles, and began the future scoobies. I've seen episodes i love and episodes i would just turn off the television asking, what was that? I felt that the finale season was well... sad. not in the "boo-hoo" manner, perish the tear drops. but i felt that out of all the seasons, the finale was sloppy. Parts came in and out. when you think there is something important coming you concentrate trying to learn as much as you can, eventually you find out that piece of info. was only as important as Faith's last sentence. Then the characters come up with strange connections that the viewers sit there wondering, how did that become important again. I wish that the whole series for this year could have been tied in together. on the good side well. it was great to see all the potential slayers of the world become slayers and good overcome evil, but it's sad to know that there isn't only one slayer, I mean two slayers in the world... I love buffy the vampire slayer. i wish the series could continue forever. but all good things must come to an end :)

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