In every generation, there is a chosen one. She alone was almost driven crazy by a ticking noise coming from her coffee mug. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
- Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
- Oz is the Anti-Xander
- Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
- Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
- The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
- Smoking is evil.
- Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
- How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
- Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
- Sunnydale residents are no longer shocked by supernatural attacks.
- Casual rape dismissal/victim blaming a-go-go
- Snyder believes Buffy is a demon or other evil entity.
- The Scoobies kind of help turn Jonathan into a bad guy.
- This show caters to the straight/bi female gaze like whoa.
- Sunnydale General is the worst hospital in the world.
- Faith is hyper-sexualized needlessly.
- Slut shame!
- The Watchers have no fucking clue what they’re doing.
- Vampire bites, even very brief ones, are 99.8% fatal.
- Economic inequality is humorized and oversimplified.
- Buffy is an abusive romantic partner.
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.
WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.
So, previously, on Buffy…Buffy stabbed the fuck out of Faith, who did a backward press take-off into the bed of a truck to escape being fed to Angel to cure him of dying and also The Mayor is still going to ascend.
Are we all up on what’s going on? Then let’s get on this thing.
Buffy is left on the roof in the aftermath, shocked at what’s just occurred. She climbs down a ladder just as The Mayor steps up to the broken window of Faith’s apartment. A vampire that’s come with him says that there’s nobody in the apartment, and The Mayor reasons that Faith would have definitely taken the fight out of the confined area. Which, to me, makes perfect sense, since there’s so much shit in an apartment that can be used as a weapon, right?
The Mayor is freaking out and having a Gary-Oldman-in-The-Professional moment:
The Mayor: “We have to find them. Put everyone on it. Do it now.”
Vampire: “But sir, the Ascension–”
The Mayor: “Find them!”
I think that line is the only time we’ve ever heard The Mayor actually shout. He’s usually Mr. Sunshine or Mr. I’m-Not-Mad-I’m-Disappointed. But at the thought of Faith being gone, he loses it. The vampire runs away and The Mayor babbles on, to no one:
The Mayor: “Faith’s a good girl. She can take anything they’ll throw at her. She’s gonna be all right. She’ll be all right. She’ll be all right.”
I actually feel bad for The Mayor. Full disclosure, a couple weeks ago, in the middle of the night, I couldn’t find my daughter, and I found the front door was unlocked. I lost my shit, running around the house screaming. Then she comes out of the bathroom all sleepy and cranky, wondering why I was yelling at her. But for those few minutes, I was gripped with the worst fear of my life. So I know what The Mayor is going through and I’m like, damn. I know he’s going to try to kill all the residents of Sunnydale. But…
You know, as I’m starting to think about this…The Mayor might actually be the least evil season arc villain Sunnydale has ever seen. Let’s look at the stats on the Big Bads here:
- The Master – Tried to take over the world for vampires and turn humans into livestock.
- Angelus – Tortured and murdered people for fun, tried to throw the world into a hell dimension.
- Maggie/The Initiative – Bureaucrats.
- Glory – Tried to throw the world into a hell dimension where she could reign as queen or goddess or something.
- The Trio – Were insufferable Gamer Gate-type guys.
- The First – Literally evil. All of it. Like, just evil.
All The Mayor is trying to do is becoming a demon and eat a bunch of people. He isn’t even doing it specifically to hurt people, it’s just a part of the process of attaining his goal.
Anyway, after the opening credits, Xander and Giles are in the library, waiting on word from Buffy. Giles has now ditched the tie and glasses and rolled up his sleeves, but I’m still not clear on why he’s switched from comfy clothes to a suit in the first place.
Xander brought him coffee:
Xander: “Aren’t you supposed to be drinking tea, anyway?”
Giles: “Tea is soothing. I wish to be tense.”
That explains the suit, I guess. Mystery solved! Good work, everyone, we can all go home now.
Giles and Xander have yet to come up with any useful information about Olvikan, the demon The Mayor is going to turn into. They’re researching when Cordelia bursts in, furious that Wesley is leaving the country. Giles explains that Buffy has quit the Council.
Cordelia: “But he’s her Watcher.”
Giles: “Buffy no longer needs a Watcher.”
Cordelia: “Well, does he have to leave the country? I mean, you got fired and you still hang around like a big loser. Why can’t he?”
See that? That is the handsome face of a dude who just got brutally owned by a teenage girl. Because he realizes that there is truth to what Cordelia is saying, just like it’s true that Buffy doesn’t need a Watcher anymore. That is the dreamy face of a beautiful, beautiful man who just realized that his character arc for the rest of the series is now set in stone.
Xander reminds Cordelia that a massacre is pretty fucking nigh, and she reluctantly sits down to help with the research.
Back at the mansion, #20, and also, Angel wakes up just enough to sense that someone is with him, but is too delirious to realize it’s not Buffy. He takes Willow’s hand and kisses it, gets a little shoulder grope in, and pours his heart out to Willow, thinking she’s Buffy:
Angel: “I thought…I thought I’d never see you again. I can’t leave you. I was wrong. I need you.”
Willow assures him that Buffy will be back soon.
Willow: “He’s delirious. He thought I was Buffy.”
Oz: “You too, huh?”
That’s such an under-appreciated line. Imagine Oz sitting there, getting hand kissed and told how much Angel needs him. Oz’s reaction would be so chill. He would just sympathetically roll with it.
Willow says she feels guilty because she’s so happy at the intimate turn her relationship with Oz has taken when everyone else is miserable and fighting for their lives. But not guilty enough to not make out a little, right before Buffy comes in. She’s silent and intensely distracted, and doesn’t answer Willow’s questions about Faith. Instead, she tells Willow and Oz to leave, so she can be alone with Angel. When she sees him, he tells her he’s ready to die, now that he’s gotten a chance to see her. And she’s like, no, I can cure you. Drink my blood.
Hey, Buffy? This is literally the stupidest decision you have ever made. The stupidest. Once again, you’re placing a huge number of people in danger to save one person. The night before the Ascension, you’re willing to die and leave your non-Slayer friends to fight The Mayor all alone, so you can save your ex-boyfriend’s life. Is this supposed to be romantic, or proof of their great love? Because it’s not convincing me. It just makes her look like a selfish, over-emotional jerk.
Angel refuses to drink.
Angel: “It’ll kill you.”
Buffy: “Maybe not. Not if you don’t take it all.”
Hold up. In the last episode, the cure was “draining” the blood of a Slayer. Wouldn’t that imply taking it all? I feel like that’s what’s being implied, and that’s why Buffy absolutely had to kill Faith. The stakes were up: there’s no way for both Slayers to live if Angel was going to be cured. Faith was going to definitely have to die.
This is something that Joss Whedon does that infuriates me (among other things), and that he doesn’t have to do because he’s a great writer. He backs himself into corners for the sake of drama, then retcons and either assumes we’ve all forgotten or expects us not to remember for the sake of his story. This happens again in season five when Olaf the troll is suddenly a troll god without any previous mention of him being one so that Buffy can use the god power of his hammer to harm Glorificus. Just out of nowhere, “oh, forgot to mention, this past character was a god,” to get our heroes out of a hopeless situation. That’s what this feels like:
Buffy: “Angel, the blood of a Slayer is the only cure.”
No. “Draining” the blood of a Slayer is the only cure, and that’s what made killing Faith a noble and selfless act, rather than straight up murder, which the Slayer doesn’t do.
In any case, Angel uses his remaining strength to run from the bedroom to the more cinematographically effective living room, where he continues to refuse to drink from Buffy. Then Buffy picks the obvious solution to the problem: punching Angel in the face several times.
You know what? We’re going to add a new number here. One that pains me, because I love Buffy as a character, but one I can’t really ignore. #37: Buffy is an abusive romantic partner. When Buffy doesn’t get what she wants from the men in her life, the solution is quite often violence against them. And it’s almost always framed as “for their own good,” like when she physically fights with Angel to stop him from self-immolating in “Amends” (also written by Whedon). Considering how often abusers use “for your own good” or “I’m just trying to protect you” as excuses for their behavior, this is really skeezy. A strong, feminist character can’t condone intimate partner violence, and she damn sure can’t commit intimate partner violence while everyone claims she’s a feminist icon. So, add #6 to this scene, as well.
This scene is also a good example of #16. Angel is on his death bed. How could three consecutive punches from the Slayer not massively harm him?
Well, they don’t. He immediately goes vamp, she bares her neck, and he drinks her blood. Which, by the way, is basically sex, as they topple to the ground and grind on each other while he’s draining her blood. This isn’t unusual for vampire stories; in Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles, it’s made clear on a few occasions that vampires aren’t really into sex, since drinking blood is an experience that’s far more sexually gratifying. Carmilla and Dracula both used blood-drinking as a metaphor for sexuality. Basically, all of vampire mythos is dripping and quivering with sexy, sexy blood drinking. However, it’s not quite as cheesy as this scene, wherein Buffy moans, crushes a pewter pitcher like a beer can, and kicks through Angel’s coffee table as she violently orgasms to the point of death.
I wish I was making all of that up. Please, Joss Whedon, I beg of you. Never, ever write a sex scene ever again for any reason.
After the commercial, Angel (now fully cured because he drained the blood of a Slayer, which was what the cure was in the first place so I don’t know why Buffy thought he didn’t have to drink a lot) takes our surprisingly-tan-for-an-exsanguinated-body heroine to the hospital. Wuh-oh. This place has a really bad track record, but okay. Angel tells the doctor that something bit her, which has got to be a regular occurrence at this hospital. But when Angel rips the handle off the door, the doctor isn’t like, “You’re a vampire,” but asks if they were doing drugs.
What kind of drug makes all your blood come out some holes in your neck? (#8)
Meanwhile, in another room in the ER, another doctor gives The Mayor some bad news about Faith, who lies battered and unconscious.
Doctor: “The bones are set and the damage to the kidneys is repairable. But the head trauma, it’s…well, it’s simply too severe. You know, it’s a wonder she’s alive at all, with the blood loss. I-I’m sorry, sir. But there’s almost no chance that she’s ever going to regain consciousness.”
IDK, that’s a pretty bold diagnosis for the ER to be making. Maybe a neurologist or a neurosurgeon should be making that call?
The Mayor is heartbroken, and stroking Faith’s hair when a nurse rushes in and mentions “another young girl” is there with massive blood loss, and he puts two-and-two together. He goes to Buffy’s room, where there are absolutely no doctors tending her. I mean, the nurse was talking about doing an anticubital cutdown, which is literally a last resort procedure, but Buffy is tucked into bed all neatly and left alone as though she’s stabilized. Holy shit, #31. She was bleeding to death so badly that they can’t tap a vein, so they have to cut a major one open. That should be a pretty high priority trauma. But since it’s Sunnydale General, The Mayor is able to waltz in and attempt to smother Buffy. A nurse catches The Mayor and calls for security, and Angel runs in and pulls him bodily off.
The Mayor: “Murderous little fiend! Did you see what she did to my Faith?”
Angel: “Hadn’t made plans to weep over that one.”
The Mayor: “Well, I’d get set for some weeping, if I were you. I’d get set for a world of pain. Misery loves company, young man, and I’m looking to share that with you and your whore!”
The Mayor is becoming unhinged as we’ve never seen him before. The loss of Faith has beaten him down, but he’s not broken. After Angel throws him across the room, The Mayor gets up and tries to be his old cheery, scary self, but he’s really messed up.
Oh, by the way, all the medical professionals leave without checking if Buffy is breathing or further injured or anything. Number god damn thirty-one.
Giles, Xander, Willow, and Oz arrive to find that Angel is just fine. He tells them that Buffy put Faith in a coma, and Xander realizes there’s more to the story. Angel tells them that Buffy cured him, and they are not impressed.
Xander: “Well, it’s just good to know that when the chips are down and things look grim, you’ll feed off the girl who loves you to save your own ass.”
Giles tells Angel to leave, and Angel is like, no, and Giles is like hey. The Sun is going to come up. And Angel can’t stay.
Meanwhile, in Buffy’s coma, she’s in Faith’s apartment. Faith is there, too. They have a cryptic conversation that’s actually pretty friendly. And Joss hits us with some #21:
Faith: “Little Miss Muffet, counting down from seven-three-oh.”
Viewers couldn’t have known it at the time, but two years (365 x 2) later, Buffy dies in the season five finale. She dies to rescue Dawn, who was accosted in an early season five episode by a confused man who referenced “curds and whey.” So…
Yeah. This is amazing.
There are boxes all around, and Buffy asks Faith where she’s going to put them all. Faith tells her she doesn’t need the stuff, Buffy can have it. She just has to take what she needs. In other words, Faith’s time as the Slayer is kind of over since she’s in the coma, but Buffy can use Faith’s lessons, mistakes, and good qualities as needed. Then Faith touches Buffy’s cheek, and Buffy wakes up. She goes to Faith’s bed and kisses her goodbye:
Thus completes the circle of the fight they had, which started with “give us a kiss.”
Buffy gets dressed and strolls out to find the gang. And nobody stops her because this is Sunnydale General. She asks where Angel is, and Oz is like, the sun came up, and Buffy is like, “get him,” which makes me say out loud to the screen, “Buffy, the sun is out, he just told you this.”
Buffy: “I’m ready.”
Willow: “Ready for what?”
At Sunnydale High, Principal Snyder is brooding over the diplomas to Latin chanting, and we cut away to the library, already in progress. Buffy has told the Scoobies about her plan to defeat The Mayor, but we’re not in on it quite yet. Whatever it is, nobody but Buffy seems to think it’s a good idea:
Cordelia: “I personally don’t think it’s possible to come up with a crazier plan.”
Oz: “We attack The Mayor with hummus.”
Cordelia: “I stand corrected.”
Oz: “Just keeping things in perspective.”
But surprisingly, Cordelia is the first to admit that it’s the only plan they’ve got with any shot at actually working. Buffy asks Xander if he remembers any of his military training from the season when their Halloween costumes possessed them, and he does. Because he will remember that for literally the rest of the show, due to it being convenient, even when it doesn’t make any sense. Buffy tells them that she has to play on The Mayor’s human weakness, as per the message Faith gave her during coma time. Angel mentions that The Mayor doesn’t like germs, so Cordelia comes up with the brilliant plan to chase The Mayor with a box of Ebola, or the very least, a box with “Ebola” written on the side. Then Angel is like, Faith is his weakness. Which everyone probably should have worked out already.
Wesley shows up despite being dismissed by Buffy.
Buffy: “The Council is not welcome here. I have no time for orders. If I need someone to scream like a woman, I’ll give you a call.”
Joss Brand Feminism™. It’s not like other girls. (#6)
Wesley tells Buffy that he’s not representing the Council, he’s just there to help and take orders from her. Buffy starts to tell the group how the plan is going to go, and we cut to The Mayor telling his henchmen how his plan is going to go. To sum up without noting every dramatic cut-away, The Mayor’s vampires are going to be able to kill everyone because there’s going to be a total eclipse as soon as the Ascension happens. They can’t eat anyone because all those yummy students are for The Mayor to chow on. But the eclipse also means that Angel can join the fight. Buffy asks Giles if he’ll be in charge of some vague part of the plan, then she says she has something she needs to get, and she leaves the library. The Mayor wraps up his speech to his vampire henchmen with:
The Mayor: “Remember, fast and brutal. It’s going to be a whole new world come nightfall. Don’t want to weaken now. And boys? Let’s watch the swearing.”
The Mayor just keeps on Mayoring. I’m so going to miss him.
Xander recruits Harmony, while Willow explains the battle plan to Percy. But not to us. We don’t know what’s happening yet.
In the library, Wesley and Cordelia are boxing up the important occult books. He reminds Cordelia that if he’s not going to be Buffy’s Watcher anymore, he’ll be going back to England. Unless he had a reason to stay. This is the moment when Wesley and Cordelia are going to finally romantically connect. They kiss, and it’s…
not great. They both agree that they have no chemistry:
Cordelia: “Good luck in England.”
Wesley: “Yes, thank you, I’ll, uh, I’ll drop you a line sometime.”
Cordelia: “That’d be neat.”
Oz and Willow roll up to the school in a van loaded with fertilizer that Percy and Jonathan are going to put somewhere. They’re lucky as fuck that they didn’t get pulled over on the drive. Cargo vans full of fertilizer seem to make law enforcement pretty nervous.
Oz promises Willow that everything is going to be okay:
Willow: “Are you sure?”
Oz: “Well, I sound pretty sure, don’t I?”
Oz: “Then I must be sure.”
Willow: “Is that just a comforting way of not answering the question?”
Actually, it’s a sign that Oz somehow becomes Rick Sanchez in another dimension. Since he’s so god damn certain about everything. Anyway, there’s enough time to bone one last time before the apocalypse, so they carpe diem.
Buffy and Angel have a weird moment in Giles’s office:
Angel: “I’m not gonna to say goodbye. You know, we get through this…I’m just gonna go.”
And of course, Buffy is heartbroken. Because why wouldn’t she be? Because if you think about it…she’s not going to know if he makes it out alive, is she? If he just gets staked and goes poof, she might think, well, he took off, he’s probably fine. I know it doesn’t work out like that, but it’s a dick move. #9 for sure. He leaves her alone with her feels, and she unwraps the thing she needed that she went and got. It’s Faith’s knife, still stained with Faith’s blood.
So, it’s graduation time. The students file in, and Principal Snyder gives his opening remarks:
Snyder: “Congratulations to the class of 1999. You all proved more or less adequate. This is a time of celebration, so sit still and be quiet.”
I’m so moved.
Willow runs in late, and The Mayor takes his place at the podium. He says it’s the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunnydale. So like… I don’t mean to be that gal…
Why isn’t there anything commemorating this going on in town? No festival? No parade? Nothing like that? Aren’t people suspicious that nothing has been planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city’s founding? Nobody thinks that’s odd?
Ha ha, of course they don’t. Because #8. But this is a huge plot hole for this very reason. The chamber of commerce, the Moose Lodge, the Masons, I don’t care who does it, if there’s a hundred-year anniversary of a town, someone is going to do something. And there’s no reason that this episode had to take place on this exact date. All we’ve heard is that this is going to happen, that The Mayor designed the town this particular way, and that he’s been working on Ascending. Is building a town a part of the ritual? And then you have to complete it exactly one hundred years later? That sounds stupid. They should have just left the hundred year thing out, because there’s no way I can buy a real world scenario in which a city doesn’t celebrate its centennial.
Anyway, The Mayor starts to talk about the hard work the kids have all put in, and Buffy realizes:
Buffy: “My god. He’s going to do the entire speech.”
Another one of my very favorite Buffy lines. Because it feels so yes.
The Mayor mentions that some people are missing that should be there, and we know he’s talking about Faith. Which leads me to wonder…if The Mayor has all of these vampires, why wouldn’t he at least try to have one of them turn Faith? Just to see if it would wake her up from her coma? It worked in Twilight. I mean, I realize The Mayor hasn’t read Twilight yet, but it seems like even in the Buffy-verse this would be a conclusion someone would come to.
As The Mayor continues to speak, the world’s fastest moving eclipse happens. I’m interested, if anyone here is into astrophysics or whatever (space science? IDK, help me, I’m not smart), can you explain in the comments exactly what would happen to our planet if the moon was booking it so fast that it could eclipse the sun in seconds? It would fuck us up, right?
So, The Mayor isn’t through his speech yet, but he starts to transform. Like a Toastmaster champion, he tries to tough it out and regain his composure.
The Mayor: “My destiny! It’s a little sooner than I expected. I had this whole section on civic pride, but I guess we’ll just skip to the big finish.”
Look, you don’t get to talk about civic pride if you didn’t plan at least a pancake breakfast for this fucking centennial. As the horrified student body watches, The Mayor contorts and writhes:
and transforms into a patented vaguely phallic BTVS approved dick monster:
Someday I should write a whole big essay about how the high number of phallic monsters on this show is indicative of Joss Whedon’s toxic masculinity. But then I would have to keep thinking about how gross it was that he blamed the actresses he slept with on the Buffy set for his own shitty, exploitative behavior, then said he had no comment to the press because he cared about his family more than his ex-wife does or whatever.
Seriously. Fuck. That. Guy.
So, the parents do all the screaming and the running and the dying as the Mayor looms over the students, who aren’t running. Like, not one parent tries to save their kid? Not one? They just tear ass away to save themselves? This town is full of miserable excuses for parents.
The students all rip off their gowns and bust out swords and flame throwers and crossbows and shit. Like, hundreds of weapons. Giles was in charge of getting them, which brings us to another “What the fuck kind of life does Giles lead on his own time?” question. In just a few hours, he was able to round up hundreds of weapons. Not just the stuff he keeps at home or the library cage. Just scads and scads of weapons.
If there isn’t some kind of file about Giles somewhere, there probably should be. Just for our safety.
Some students try to run, only to be attacked by the waiting vampires, but Xander has a battle plan. He’s basically the general here. The vampires are met with a line of archers with flaming arrows. When they try to flee, they find themselves boxed in between the students fighting The Mayor and a whole big group of students being led by Angel.
The flame throwers (which weren’t really doing shit) run out of fuel, and Larry the bully is killed when The Mayor tosses him out of the way like a handful of Tinker Toys. Meanwhile, Snyder is just about fucking done with this nonsense. He stands right next to the giant, many-toothed demon and scolds him:
Snyder: “This is not orderly. This is not disciplined. You’re on my campus, buddy! And when I say I want quiet, I mean–”
And The Mayor eats him.
I am so sorry to see him go, guys. Snyder fills a happy little place in my heart that loves annoying, pathetic characters.
The vampires try to attack the students, and in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Harmony is caught by a vampire and violently bitten. Buffy is the only person who stays behind to fight The Mayor. Standing bravely in front of him, she holds up Faith’s knife:
Buffy: “Hey. You remember this? I took it from Faith. Stuck it in her gut. Just slid in her like she was butter. You wanna get it back from me, Dick?”
Playing on The Mayor’s love for Faith really works; when Buffy runs into the school, The Mayor follows, ramming through walls in his pursuit. Buffy leads him toward the library, where all the fertilizer is rigged up to explosives. She vaults over all of it and through the back window, to join Giles on the lawn. He’s got one of those big, cartoon-ish box things with the handle you push down to make things go boom. The Mayor, seeing the enormous bomb waiting for him, just says:
The Mayor: “Well, gosh.”
Kaboom. No more Mayor. No more school. No more a bunch of the class of 1999. So, that was Giles’s part of the plan. Building a homemade bomb big enough to detonate not just a demon, but an entire high school, leaving basically a crater in the ground.
The more you think about Giles and the stuff he gets up to, the scarier he gets.
Cut to fire fighters and ambulances on the scene. Wesley is on a cart with his neck in one of those collar things, whining about how much he hurts from getting knocked down in the fight. Buffy and Xander wander around the bleeding, injured students, and Buffy’s scanning the crowd.
Xander: “He made it through the fight. I guess maybe he took off after.”
See, that’s what I’m saying. What if Xander hadn’t known that? She would have just gone around thinking, okay, Angel is either dead or alive, but I’ll probably never know. Giles joins Buffy and asks her if she’s okay, and she tells him she hasn’t processed anything yet. He praises her skill and reaches into his jacket. Amid all the wreckage, he went in to find her diploma. He hands it to her and awkwardly starts talking about…well, whatever he means by this:
Giles: “There’s a certain, um, dramatic irony attached to all this. A synchronicity that borders on, on…pre-destination, one might say.”
So…#2. Sorry, guys. He went through the burning wreckage of the school to save a piece of paper that might be important to her, then felt the need to fill the silence with a lot of awkward poetic language about destiny.
When Giles leaves to go check on Wesley, Buffy spots Angel just standing broodingly in the distance. They share a meaningful look, and he slowly turns away to walk off into his own spin-off series. Then Buffy joins Cordelia, Oz, Willow, and Xander at one of the benches in front of what is now presumably the smoking crater that used to be their school.
Oz: “Guys. Take a moment to deal with this. We survived.”
Buffy: “It was a hell of a battle.”
Oz: “Not the battle. High school.”
I mean, that’s a good point. They went to Sunnydale.
The five of them walk off into the night:
and as their conversation fades, we pan down to:
My feels. All of my feels. It’s like I, too, have just graduated from a school that has exploded.
So, the season three two-part finale is probably the strongest ending to any season in the entire show. And I’m counting “The Gift” and “Chosen” in there. The series could have even ended here (although I’m glad it did not) and it would have been a satisfying conclusion. Which is likely very much how the creators intended. Back when I was writing proposals for television series, there was usually one big summary of the first season, followed by shorter summaries of at least two more. Usually, an outline of between three to five seasons was what I was being asked to do. Because this one winds up so neatly, I’m wondering if seasons one through three weren’t pitched first, then seasons four and five added later. But whatever. What I’m saying is, seasons one through three wrap up beautifully and could have stood on their own.
So, as this ends season three of Buffy, so begins The Big Damn Angel rewatch, in conjunction with the Buffy recaps. So, our next recap will be Buffy‘s “The Freshman”, followed by Angel‘s “City Of”, followed by “Living Conditions”, etc. I’m going to try to keep them in the correct order of the story, not necessarily the air dates.