Saturday, July 18, 2009

DVD review - Buffy season 6 episode 20, 21 and 22

Concluding my viewing and reviewing of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 6...

*** SPOILERS ***

A6-20: Villains (written by Marti Noxon, airdate 5/14/02)
A6-21: Two To Go (written by Douglas Petrie, airdate 5/21/02)
A6-22: Grave (written by David Fury, airdate 5/21/02)

A trio of long time Buffyverse writers are on board for the final act of the season, and what an act! Wasting no time going from last episode, it all spins quickly out of control. Tara is dead (and how tragic is it that Dawn has to find her and cannot leave until Buffy arrives?). Buffy is critical and Xander stands by her side. Willow is juiced up after absorbing all the dark magic text (very cool effect) and then goes to save Buffy while she still can. Warren, meanwhile, realizes his goose is now cooked (he is a laughing stock of the demon bar - with good reason) and is on the run. But he can't run fast enough or far enough. Willow has her revenge in a way that is almost fitting justice for all Warren has done this season and how he has done it. But Buffy is right - they don't kill humans and the human world has its own rules. Willow has crossed the line, and she is not through yet!

Anya tries to warn everyone of the coming of Willow to the jail to seek revenge on Andrew and Jonathan (who still fight with one another despite the gravity of their situation). And, boy, does Willow tear the jail house down! Buffy and Xander manage to get the boys away only to have Willow control a truck to run them down (okay, that was just a bit weird on the visuals - very comic booky). But she needs power so where does she go? Yup, the same place Dawn convince Clem to take her - to Rack's. But Willow gets there first, and she gets a little payback to him for earlier in the season. Then she threatens Dawn (going way too far there, Will...). Meanwhile, Anya and Xander seem to be making a little amends as they talk at the shop - as Xander realizes how useless he has been of late and how, he feels, all of this is his fault. Good set up for later. Big fight when Willow shows up as the shop gets trashed. It looks like it is over when Buffy and Willow go toe-to-toe and Willow can take it all. Time for the cavalry - the British cavalry.

Yeah, Giles. Hopped up on borrowed power from the Coven, he shows that he still cares and wants to help the kids do right. But, rule 101 of fighting a big-bad - never, ever take a relaxing break. Finish the job and keep an eye on your enemy. Poor Anya gets dooped by Willow's mind mojo and we're back to square one. Buffy has to go save the guys, Xander and Dawn - leaving Willow free and clear to take Giles' power (which he wanted all along - which is why he is the clever one). Dawn and Buffy end up in a deep grave, fighting for their lives - but this time side-by-side. Don't mess with the Summers sisters! But how can Buffy save the day from a hole? She can't. Willow is stopped by the last person one would expect - one only armed with courage and love - Xander. Man, that was moving for me. Great scene. Friendship and love were the key to get us beyond this dark place. Yeah! Let's get back to the norm. Oh, wait...can't. Spike has gone through many trials to earn what he thinks he should have to give the Slayer what she has got coming to her. Surprise, Spike. That guy you went to thinks she needs you to have a soul again. Good luck with that! :)


Michael O'Connell said...

While I didn't want to mention this to you in advance, but rather wanted to let you make up your own mind?

I really didn't like season 6.

Some of us referred to season 6 as the season that made you want to kill yourself...every week! Depressing as all hell. Seriously, I think that Joss was going through a very dark time (maybe due to the Firefly cancellation?), and channeled his depression and self-loathing into the plot for this season.

I liked the first few episodes. For me, it was doing just fine (and even quite well) right up through the amnesia episode. After that, Giles leaves, and that's where everything seemed to start coming apart. Almost no fun left in the show. All darkness, all hopelessness...and all of our normally strong, smart characters making horrible choices and not being able to manage a single aspect of their deteriorating lives. Seriously, the Slayer ends up working fast food...not as a one-ep gag story, but as a career?

I get the whole darkness with Buffy thing - yanked out of heaven, back in the world, lost, without a purpose, etc. Yes, that had to be worked out. Did it have to be worked out by becoming Spike's sex slave? The more I watched this season, particularly their part of it, the more I just felt dirty. But everyone else? Seriously, someone sat down to figure out the character arcs and said, "I know! Let's make Willow a junkie!" Oh, and let's get a glimpse of the future, where Xander becomes even MORE pathetic and ends up killing know, because of all the yapping. Huh? With the tone of the whole season, it was no surprise to me that the Xander/Anya wedding was going to go wrong. Heaven forbid anyone on this show be HAPPY.

While the trio was occasionally amusing? Yes, they were annoying and cheesy. They were a three-episode arc at best, and for some reason got turned into the whole nemesis for the season. And they couldn't even stay amusing--they had to become date-raping murderers. Count you count all the rape references, images and allegories in this season? The whole 22 eps seemed bent on nothing but showing the absolute worst of humanity, not only in humanity as a whole but in our so-called heroes, too. If I hadn't known them from before, I'd have no reason to like any of these characters based on this season.

Taking Giles out of the mix was a big mistake (loved his triumphant return in the finale! Points for that). There were a LOT of big mistakes here. Plus, I think there was a more economical reason why this season didn't work for me. The switch to UPN meant a reduction in budget. Did you notice they seemed to have, like, four sets, total? Sunnydale used to feel like a real place, like you could feel it around them. This season basically took place in Buffy's house, in Xander's place, in the Magic Box, or on the same street corner set. Kind of took me out of it.

Hard to imagine THIS is the season that gave us the amazing musical episode. How surprising and awesome was THAT? I was most impressed because I read that it took like a year of planning and execution...yet, they worked its story right into the regular continuity seamlessly. We already knew Tony could sing, but who knew about Amber? Damn! And did you spot 1) David Fury singing about the mustard and 2) Marti Noxon singing about her parking ticket? If you didn't know, those two also sang together as the TV newscasters in Dr. Horrible. Loved every bit of that ep! What a treat to see actors I knew so well suddenly singing and dancing.

The moment when I realized how much I was not liking the season was when "normal again" aired. Not only was it a very well-written episode, but it teased the possibility of a "this season is all a dream" thing, and I found my heart yearning for that idea. They even asked the you really think this is reality, you reduced to fighting nerd super-villains? They basically spelled out everything that had been going wrong with the season...and then jumped right back into it.

Michael O'Connell said...


So, no, didn't like this season, overall. Started so strong, too, darnit. Ah, well. There's one more season to go, at least. The only reason I feel better about you sitting through it is that you had the balance of the amazing season 3 of Angel, when the show finally hit its stride and was just AWESOME every week!

Michael O'Connell said...

BTW - did you notice Amber FINALLY got into the opening credits - just long enough to get killed? That's just wrong, Joss... :D

Martin Maenza said...

I noticed Amber in the credits - when they go to kill her off.

Yeah, season 6 was a complete downer. I am hoping for a return to the better with season 7.

Gotta finish the last three Angels for season 3 tomorrow. Then, I am tempted to go straight on the final Buffy season before viewing Angel 4 and 5. Any thoughts on that?

Michael O'Connell said...

Hmmm. Let me think. There is a bit of crossover in season 7, but it shouldn't affect you that much. There's no back-and-forth crossover, but an arc from Angel ends and picks up in Buffy. You'll see something happen and you'll go "What the...?" and then you'll realize this thing happened over in Angel, and that would give you something to look forward to when you get around to watching Angel. I don't see any big loss or mass confusion if you just plow on through the Buffy. Party on, I say.