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'Buffy' ends weak season with a punch

By Allan Johnson
Tribune television reporter
Published May 21, 2002

The mostly disappointing sixth season of UPN's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (7 p.m. Tuesday, WPWR-Ch. 50) ends with a flourish of action and emotion.

The two back-to-back episodes conclude the aftermath of Tara's (Amber Benson) murder by super villain wannabe Warren (Adam Busch), who was subsequently ripped to death by Tara's grief-stricken girlfriend Willow (Alyson Hannigan, who gives an amazingly haunting performance on Tuesday). She reverted to her witchly powers after abstinence due to an addiction to magic, and now seeks vengeance on Warren's cohorts Jonathan and Andrew (Danny Strong, Tom Lenk), with Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) on her trail.

The finale almost makes up for an inconsistent season. Some stories were a fine mix of wit, pathos and chills. Others were meandering, dull or unsettling, like Buffy's abusive relationship with the vampire Spike (James Marsters). The series was hurt without its usual involving, yearlong story lines.

Creator Joss Whedon has the new series "Firefly" on Fox next season. Let's hope he won't be too divided to give "Buffy" the attention it also needs.

Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune (registration required)
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