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The Hole Story (You Are Now Leaving Sunnydale)

Settle in, folks - this one's a novel.

Okay, first of all, I need to apologize for disappearing on you. As you may or may not already know, writing the Buffy and Angel reviews is one of a number of hobbies that I enjoy in addition to the far less pleasant stuff that pays the bills. Between work and my various extracurricular passions, I lead a very busy life and I can't always fit everything in. Right around the time I posted my last review (it was either for 'Storyteller' or an Angel episode), things got chaotic, and it happened at a time when there was at least one new episode a week. Much like that period mid-season when I fell behind, once you've missed a couple of episodes it becomes very difficult to get caught up. Finding the time is one thing, but it's also a question of trying to enthusiastically discuss the events of an episode when there've been two or three (or four) since then, so most of the intrigue and mystery is already irrelevant - the burning questions have all been answered and we're on to newer, bigger stuff. So I'd spend a week picking at a review and trying to put myself in a headspace where I wasn't thinking about what happened next, and well before I'd finished there'd be ANOTHER episode, and the feelings of frustration and futility would only intensify.

Next on my list of excuses is that I'm in love. It's only been a few months, but it's going really well. It's all felt completely effortless and comfortable, and while I agree that we're moving pretty fast, it's hard not to when you're trying to remember how you got along before you met this person. I used to write music and tour in a band for years, and it was always the same thing - being in a relationship meant I wasn't able to write many songs, and once it was over the creative floodgates would open. Like most writers, my inner muse is louder when I'm miserable, and these days I'm feeling quite the opposite and it's safe to say I've been... distracted.

Finally, and it feels very strange to say this, I was really disappointed in the home stretches of these just-completed seasons of Buffy and Angel. I was bored throughout the Jasmine storyline, and as the remaining episodes of Buffy came and went, I couldn't lose the urge to grab the Mutant Enemy staff and shake them until they appreciated how badly I needed MORE from the final season of my favourite show.

I'll address Angel in a separate article. Right now I just want to focus on Buffy -- The final episode, the final season, and my thoughts on the series as a whole (Anyone who thinks the title was a typo gets the telekinetic smackdown).

I watched the finale in New York with my very good friends Kitty, Jeanine, and Smets - the latter being the individual chiefly responsible for getting me into the show in the first place, who has also been invaluable for providing taped reruns and answering my endless questions when I first climbed aboard. He pointed out a while ago that I once asked him, "This Anya person- is she some kind of robot, or is she just an idiot?" This was obviously before I knew who she was or where she'd come from, and well before I fell hopelessly in love with her.

The last episode should have been two hours, and don't tell me it was and 'End of Days' was the first half. I'm talking about one solid two-hour installment that would have allowed them to structure the conclusion to seven incredible seasons like the feature-length motion picture it deserved to be. Twenty minutes in, we looked at our watches and said, "Nothing's happened yet! How are they going to resolve everything in forty more minutes including commercials?!?" The answer? Tersely, and with all-too-convenient plot devices and abandoned threads.

I'm sorry if you were expecting me to gush lovingly and sing this episode and season's praises like Joss can do no wrong. There were things I loved about it, but I also have some definite issues that I need to discuss. I freely admit that, considering it was their last kick at the kitty (terrible expression), nothing they could possibly do would be ENOUGH to satisfy me completely. A lot of the problem is due to M.E. having to change horses in midstream, since they didn't know until well into the season that it would be their last. Following season 6, I read an interview with Marti where she said that season 7 would be closely connected to season 5, and they would be exploring Dawn's origin and what she is now. She wasn't implying that season 7 would be ABOUT Dawn, but it meant that one of the great unanswered questions would be properly dealt with, and one of the less developed characters would finally get her due.

So when the episode and the season ended and we didn't get any of that, my first thought was that I had a bone to pick with Marti. I mentioned this disappointment to the room, and Kit pointed out that when Marti made her claim, she and Joss undoubtedly assumed they'd have time to cover Dawn's story the way they hoped to. Once SMG announced that she was hanging up the crossbow, they had to suddenly reconfigure the season arc so it touched on EVERYTHING and provided as much general resolution as possible in the time remaining. So to a certain extent, if things were lacking, I can attribute it to M.E. having the rug pulled out from under them by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who's leaving television for Scooby Doo 2, 3, and 4, and then a successful run on Hollywood Squares.

I wasn't too crazy about Caleb as a villain, either. Yes, he was very evil, and in his short time in Sunnydale he did some nasty things - killing Molly and squishing in Xander's eye being the nastiest (I'll address Xander's eye in a bit). But he was extremely two-dimensional. He was strong, cruel, single-minded in his intentions, and he was pretty much there to have slugfests with Buffy before his inevitable smackdown. He was Adam in a priest's collar. There's a reason why most people will say that Adam was their least favourite Big Bad - there was no depth to his character, and there was nothing emotionally complicated about beating him. When you look back over the list of Big Bads, you almost have to forgive The Master his simplicity, as he blazed the trail. As a mid-season replacement that no one expected to survive, BTVS had as its main villain the ringleader of the local vampire clan. If they were the undead mafia, The Master was the godfather.

But beyond The Master, the best Big Bads were dripping with personality and charisma and we got to see multiple sides of them and understand them as people. Who were the best Big Bads? Obviously there are people out there who would put Adam at the top of the list (go figure), so I admit that I'm basing this on personal preference and what I feel is popular opinion. I get a lot of flack for my shameless praise of Glory as a villain. The complexity in her case, and the heightened emotional stakes, involved Ben being such a loveable guy who did his best to help Buffy and her people in some very difficult times. The dichotomy of "Ben is Glory, Glory is Ben" did a lot to complicate matters in the home stretch, as was seen in the way Ben/Glory flashed back and forth between kidnapping Dawnie and rescuing her at the same time. Also, Giles' murder of Ben hasn't received nearly as much credit for being one of the heavier moments in the show's history (apparently they were going to address it in 'Lies My Parents Told Me', but it got cut).

Angel was a fantastic villain because he was the love of Buffy's life and a key member of the good guys. The person she felt closest to became her worst enemy just after they'd consummated their love. This wasn't about some dark force hitting her where she lived, it was her life twisting around to attack her. After we watched the finale in NYC, we watched 'Passion' (okay, first we watched the season finale of Smallville, but since I'm not into the show it was all Greek to me), a classic episode that climaxes with Angel's gloriously brutal murder of Jenny Calendar, which leads to Giles' suicidal attempt at vengeance and closes with Buffy tackling Giles in an emotional embrace that affects me more than anything I saw in 'Chosen'.

Many people would agree that The Mayor was the quintessential Buffy villain. It's easy to come up with a heavy who's dark and scary and mean to everyone and stomps around roaring threats (Hi Caleb). But only Joss and his fine, fine people could craft a Big Bad who's sweet and loveable and cares about his underlings as he conspires to transform into a giant snake and eat everyone. The Mayor didn't hate Buffy - He didn't hate anyone! He was friendly and considerate and a genuinely loveable guy who happened to have some aspirations that didn't fit with the rest of the world's plans. You only need to observe his relationship with Faith to see the fatherly way he cared for her, which is a perfect example of why he made such an intriguing villain. When the Mayor lectured Buffy & Angel about their doomed relationship, I don't think he was trying to mess with their heads, I honestly believe he thought he was doing them a favour by sharing the wisdom of his experience. When one half of a couple is immortal and the other one isn't, things can only end tragically. Didn't these two watch Highlander?!?

So, accepting that the Mayor and Angel were excellent Big Bads, let's skip ahead to season 7 again, and look at Caleb & The First. I'm not sure which one we should refer to as the Big Bad for Buffy's final season, but either way I'm disappointed. Remember when we first realized that the force taunting Spike and killing those girls was the same one that tried driving Angel to suicide in 'Amends' (yes, some of you realized it right away, you smarty-pants)? Questions came up, like "How are they possibly going to defeat the primal essence of all evil in the world? Where do you hit it? Can evil ever really be destroyed?" It seems that somewhere along the way Joss & Co realized that EVIL ITSELF was, in fact, too big an enemy, and no - you can't truly defeat it. This realization left them with no choice but to add into the mix a touchable agent of The First - An Evil Priest. This gave Buffy & her pals something they could wail on that, unlike the Bringers and the Ubervamp(s), could actually spew some clever dialogue and heighten the drama a bit.

So while The First failed as a Big Bad because it was too huge and intangible to have a weak spot, Caleb missed the mark because he was too predictable and one-sided and we knew that sooner or later Buffy would get the better of him. He was all muscle, and we didn't really care about him. Even Glory was cute and funny and we wanted to see what she'd say or do next (sit DOWN, Glory-haters!). I'm not knocking Nathan Fillion, because he's an excellent actor and I loved him in Firefly. It wasn't his fault that they gave him such a clichéd bad guy role. You know who they should have brought in as the First's right arm? Buffy's dad - THEN you've got drama! That would have explained where he's been all these years - serving evil in preparation for The First's big takeover. What if it was Hank Summers who blew up the Watchers' HQ? The mind reels...

Or for that matter, where was the payoff on Joyce's mid-season visits to Dawn and Buffy? Was she The First? Was she an angel, stopping by to warn her girls about the terrible days ahead? One more thing that got lost in the shuffle once Gellar announced her imminent departure. In hindsight, did Joyce's warning to Dawn even make any sense? "When things get bad, Buffy won't choose you. She'll be against you." Seems to me that when things seemed at their darkest, Dawn was pretty quick to tell Buffy to pack her bags and hit the streets. By the way, will someone explain that plot point to me? I understand the impasse that everyone was at. Buffy was insisting that they go back to the winery, and everyone else was convinced it would be suicide. They no longer trusted Buffy's leadership, and they opted to follow Faith instead. So far, I'm with you. But couldn't Buffy have lost her job as general and still had somewhere to sleep? I'm supposed to believe that everyone, Dawn included, preferred to have Buffy head out alone to sleep god-knows-where with no one watching her back should Caleb attack? It just didn't add up.

Speaking of Dawn, not only did we get a big zilch in the way of character development or more info about her key-ness, but we were also expected to believe that an average student with all the standard trappings of teen girldom had suddenly picked up a working knowledge of ancient languages, not to mention her grasp of spellcasting ('Conversations With Dead People') had improved somehow. At some point. Hmm. I've done my best to block out the embarrassingly slapped-together events of 'Bring it On', but some of the worst of it was the way people looked to Dawn for help and info on ancient matters she knew nothing about. But who knows? Maybe all of these emerging talents WERE related to her key-ness. If that's the case, shouldn't they have addressed it properly so we wouldn't need to speculate now that the show's completely over? Honestly, I feel bad for Michelle because I think she got shafted this year. If you look at the tone that was set in 'Grave' and 'Lessons', I expected so much more for Dawn than what we ended up seeing.

Trust me - I AM going to talk about things that I liked about the finale, but I still need to get some more venom out of my system. What was the deal with Angel's much ballyhooed return to Sunnydale? When you heard that the two networks had greenlighted a crossover, didn't you think his presence on the show would actually mean something? I felt like he was a sock puppet in a kindergarten play. "Look, everyone! It's fireman Angel, and he's come around for a visit! Hi fireman Angel! How are you today? Fireman Angel has to go now, kids! Everyone say bye to fireman Angel!" And off he went. Okay, sure - his important part of the episode was to deliver the amulet. The crappy amulet that showed up at the eleventh hour and allowed them to clean up what looked like about two thousand Turok Han and close Sunnydale's hellmouth. Of course the real problem wasn't the Turok Han, it was the fact that Evil incarnate had chosen to stop worrying about the cosmic balance and take over the world. We're not talking about the Bringers, we're not talking about the Turok Han, and we're not talking about Caleb. This is about the essence of pure evil - a force that's as old as time itself and exists in every living thing to some extent. That's what Joss put the Scoobs up against this year, and the whole dilemma throughout the season was one of having to fight something you couldn't see or touch. Forgive me if I'm disappointed now that a big brawl and some explosions seem to have "defeated" this force. Buffy and company wiped out all of its thugs, so this means that Evil has been overthrown?

Okay, my last bone to pick (I think, but I won't promise) relates to the two BSDs in the episode (that's Big Scooby Deaths, for those of you not versed in the vernacular). First we have Anya. My sweet, beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking Anya. So many of my favourite moments of the last several seasons have involved her, and my single favourite episode of season 7, 'Selfless', was completely Anya-centric and was LOADED with such moments. She deserved more fanfare around her death than one quick shot of a Bringer's knife cleaving her in half and another later on as she lay amongst the bodies. It could have come at the end, but what did we get instead? Andrew gave Xander the news, Xander made one comment in eulogy (which was terrific, don't get me wrong), and then he immediately shrugged it off and started cracking jokes about The Gap and Toys-R-Us, like he hadn't heard only seconds earlier that the love of his life was dead. If this travesty can be attributed to anything, it's that they didn't have sufficient time to do things properly.

But as much as I love Anya and I feel ripped off by her demise, the bigger theft was that of my opportunity to cry big bloopy tears over Spike sacrificing his life to save Buffy and the world. That could have been such a powerful farewell, and probably the heaviest moment in the show's history, if the WB and the mainstream media hadn't already gone to great lengths to let us know that Spike is signed on for all 22 episodes of Angel's fifth season. And don't give me crap about how I've spoiled it for you, because the news has really been all over the world 2 or 3 times. People who don't even watch the show have said to me, "I hear that blonde vampire will be moving over to Angel next year. Is that good?"

Yes it's good, because I love Spike and I can't wait to see how they work him into the Angel cast, but KNOWING he'll be moving over meant that I wasn't at all affected by his "death" in the Buffy finale. If I thought he was really dead and he'd just given his life to save everyone, you would have had to peel me off the floor with a spatula.

Wait. ONE more point of contention. After Buffy removed the mystic scythe of M-Question Mark from the rock, we were introduced to one of The Guardians - a group of ancient and powerful women who, for thousands of years, have watched The Watchers from the shadows. That's a pretty massive concept, and a major revelation for the end of the series. You know why I love it? Because Joss' idea for Buffy since day one has been that of female empowerment. "One GIRL in all the world. She alone blah-blah-blah." Buffy is a hero and a role model and she kicked ass and saved the world (a lot), and she did it as a young woman who still had to juggle all the same problems and issues that all young women encounter. As JW said long ago, it's the concept of the horrible monster chasing the sweet young girl into a dead end, but instead of the director cutting away as we hear the monster tearing her to bits, the girl hits that dead end, makes sure there are no more innocent bystanders in the way, and then she pounds the monster into an icky pulp and heads for the mall. But the one thing that's contradicted that theme is the presence of The Watchers - a group of stuffy old men who, for the aforementioned thousands of years, have been in charge of the current holder of that "one girl in all the world" title. They've trained them, they've told them where to go and who to fight, and traditionally, they've had final say over what the Slayers have done. Obviously Buffy & Giles' working relationship went beyond that, but it indicates that the historical reality of a Slayer has been female empowerment on a male-held leash.

So by introducing this concept of The Guardians, Joss has brought it around full circle. Now we know there are very powerful women who've REALLY been in charge, and they've been guiding the hand of the Watcher's council, unbeknownst to the Watchers themselves, all in preparation for this final fight that they knew would one day come. It sounds great and I'm glad Joss thought of it, but it's too bad that the Guardian we met in 'End of Days' only had a few seconds to introduce herself and briefly explain their purpose, before Caleb broke her neck. As a result, the whole idea boiled down to a one-minute conversation with no lasting consequences, much like Buffy's scene with Angel. "Ms. Guardian has to go now, kids. Wave bye-bye!"

Okay, that's five pages to cover what I didn't like. What was I thankful for in Buffy's final episode and season?

Something that initially springs to mind is Principal Robin Wood. My thanks go out to Joss, his writers, and to the talented and dashing D.B. Woodside for blessing us with the most compelling new character since Oz. He kept us guessing right up until the truth of his identity was revealed in 'The First Date', and I've been fascinated with him all along. I love the concept that a Slayer had a child, and her Watcher raised the kid after her death (at the hands of SPIKE, no less!). Who would have guessed that the New York Soul Sister Slayer we first saw in 'Fool For Love' would end up being so hugely important to the final season? Robin Wood was terrific because he was funny, but he had as much intensity and bloodlust as the greatest villains. Talk about inner conflict - his whole life was devoted to finding and murdering the vamp who killed his mother, and then that vampire ended up being the former lover and closest ally of the current Slayer, whom Robin just HAPPENED to have a big crush on. Whew! Robin was crazy like Melville's Captain Ahab, where Spike was the whale and Nikki was Ahab's lost leg. It was a wild premise, and the tension between Spike & Wood spawned some of the best moments in the season, as seen in 'First Date' and especially 'Lies My Parents Told Me'. I definitely wouldn't have predicted that Robin & Faith would end up together, but I like that too. They've obviously both had a lot of pain and loss in their lives, and when it's all related to vampires and Slayers, can you think of a better match? It's also a fitting cap to Faith's redemption. Now that she's learned to forgive herself and focus her energies on being the hero she's destined to be, what's left for her to do but finally allow herself to love someone "AND BE LOOOOOVED IN RETURN"?

Despite what many of you think about her, I liked Kennedy and I enjoyed her role in the season. I realize it doesn't necessarily lend itself to a chaste and somber remembrance of Tara, but if Kennedy hadn't come along, Willow would have ended the show still feeling alone, empty, and grieving. I love Willow and I don't want that for her, do you? I also believe that a lot of the darkness and evil in Willow's awe-inspiring power was attributable to her pain and sadness. Therefore, Kennedy was instrumental in Willow's healing process, which inevitably allowed her to come to grips with her abilities and control them, as a strong and complete person. It could be said that if Kennedy hadn't come along and swept Willow off her feet all storybook-style, Willow wouldn't have had the strength to perform the spell she did that, in effect, saved the entire world.

Let's talk about that for a second. For all the things that didn't add up or that seemed slapped on, I have to give Joss & Co credit for the idea of the Layers-of-Slayers spell. James and I were discussing the finale last weekend, and he said something about how he wouldn't have been satisfied unless the Scoobs came up with a plan that was big enough to really do the job in the face of something so massive. He applauded M.E. for cooking up a concept where Willow's power, which had grown steadily over the years, finally reached a point where she could harness the pure Slayer energy in the scythe and call forth every single Potential left in the world to full Slayer status. How much did you love the shots of girls in other parts of the world feeling their new power? Those were some cheer-out-loud moments as the girl being abused by her father suddenly felt the juice and blocked his hand, and the girl in little league settled in as she realized that the next pitch was getting slammed across the State (high five to Joss for not wasting time actually SHOWING us the home run - the look in her eyes was plenty).

It was a masterstroke because it not only meant that Buffy was rewarded with the freedom of no longer bearing the weight of the world all on her own, but it was an equally huge moment for Willow. We've followed her from her first appearance as the mousy, awkward computer nerd who felt out of place and dependent on her friends, through seasons as she grew both in confidence as well as power, to where she became so powerful that she lost control and nearly destroyed the world. Her arc is terrific because it took her love for Tara to bring her out of her shell and help her grow, and it took Tara's death to take her to the edge of destruction. Now, 143 episodes after 'Welcome to the Hellmouth', Willow is not only gifted with incredible power, but she's become a strong enough woman to control all that power and SAVE the world. Eat that, Miss Softer-Side-of-Sears Cordelia Chase -- Willow's a goddess! And I couldn't help but notice that her hair turned white at the peak of the spell, indicating an equally powerful opposite side to the kind of dark powerhouse she was at the end of season 6, as well as a possible connection to the power of these Guardians we've now been made aware of.

Xander. Goodbye, Scarecrow - I think I'll miss you most of all. I'd heard rumours that the X-Man was going to wind up with some kind of mystical power as a big twist ending after 7 seasons of being the normal guy who watched as his superhero friends became more and more powerful. But I think it would have been a cheap decision, and it was a much more mature brand of storytelling that instead had him grow subtly in his very important (extraordinary, even) role AS the normal guy. As was discussed at the end of 'Potential', the demons and vampires and Slayers and witches in the fold had no idea how difficult it was to continue to fight the fight with nothing but a common man's head and heart as your assets. Xander's job was to keep everyone grounded and remind them that sometimes gut instincts should come before ancient prophecies, and love and loyalty can usually defeat any dark magic (the finale of season 6 being a shining example). I do think that he was a tad underused in season 7, but he was at the heart of many key moments the year before, so I won't really complain. I was griping during season 6 that there weren't enough regular characters, so once they filled out the ranks substantially this year, it only stood to reason that there wasn't enough time to focus on everyone as much as we might have liked. But the eye thing! YIKES!! I think I yelled as loud as Xander did when Caleb scooped him up and wounded him so viciously. Even beyond the symbolism of Caleb trying to blind the one who sees everything, it was powerful because it brought those oft-discussed real world consequences into the mix again. As we said, Xander has only the physical tools he was born with, and to take one from him and leave him physically scarred to match the emotional scars he and everyone else in the group bears is a heartbreaking turn of events. The last time I really cried watching Buffy (aside from one or two quick tears during the finale) was when Willow went to visit Xander in the hospital and broke down at his bedside. It's a testament to the strength of the writing and our deep understanding of these characters that she didn't have to speak - we knew exactly what she was thinking. What happened to the kids we used to be? How did things get so screwed up, and how much of it is my fault? But Willow can now take comfort in the fact that she's made up for dragging Buffy out of heaven by giving her the gift of freedom she's wanted all along, and she's made up for nearly destroying the world by saving it.

Before I close this bonanza of heartfelt bathroom reading material, I want to say a few things to some of the people responsible for this series.

First of all, thank whatever being, object, or concept you worship for the miraculous turn of events that got Drew Goddard's Six Feet Under spec script into the hands of someone at Mutant Enemy. Ultimate Drew, you're one hell of a talented writer, and beyond that, your love for all things Buffy and your deep understanding of its characters have led to a number of unforgettable moments this season. I'm especially grateful for the terrific way you wrote Anya, and I'll say again that 'Selfless' is my absolute favourite episode of Buffy's seventh and final season. You swooped in out of nowhere and became my favourite Buffy writer, which I'm sure you'll agree is no small achievement. As your Minions will attest (I admit I never signed up, but Minions of Ultimate Drew - I am with you in spirit), you're also a funny, approachable guy who's gone the extra mile to make nice with the fans, and we appreciate that. I was pleased as punch to hear that you'll be writing some Angel eps this season, and I'm eagerly awaiting the Drew-y goodness.

I can't really address every single one of the Buffy writers and producers individually (Goddard got special mention because he's the NKOTB), so forgive me if I leave anyone out, but here goes: Jane Espenson, Marti Noxon (call me!), David Fury, Drew Greenberg, Doug Petrie, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, David Greenwalt, Dean Batali, Rob Des Hotel, Steven DeKnight, Carl Ellsworth (he wrote 'Halloween' - Give the brother a hand!), Tracey Forbes ('Beer Bad' sucked, but you wrote one of my all-time faves, 'Something Blue'), Ashley Gable, Diego Guttierez, Howard Gordon, Elin Hampton, Matt Keine, Joe Reinkemeyer (these two wrote 'The Pack' together, which is one of my season one favourites), Ty King ('Passion' - an unforgettable classic), Dana Reston (she introduced Amy in 'The Witch'), Thomas A. Swyden, and Dan Vebber ('Lovers Walk' and 'The Zeppo' - I mean COME ON!). I may not have loved every episode of every season, but collectively you've been responsible for a lot of laughter and tears and chewed fingernails. You have my respect and gratitude for the work you've done, and I can't name another series where the head writers are treated with the same level of familiarity and respect as the actors. This adoration is well earned, y'all. Thanks for the memories, and good luck with all of your future projects, Angel and otherwise. I was tempted to start rattling off my list of favourite moments from the series, but this article is long enough as it is. We'll leave the reminiscing for the talkback, when everyone will be free to step up to the podium and say a few words about our dearly departed.

Huge thanks are also owed to everyone else who worked on the series. The directors, the composers (thanks for the theme song, Nerf Herder), the effects and make-up designers and staff, the camera and lighting people, the sound recorders and editors, the kickass stunt doubles and fight coordinators, and since I can't thank everyone by name and I can't name all the different jobs involved in bringing a television series to air, I just want all of you to know that you did great work and we're grateful.

Thanks to all of the actors, who are also too numerous to mention, but I hereby present imaginary Emmys to Nick Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Tony Head, Michelle Trachtenberg, Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson, James Marsters, SETH GREEN, Eliza Dushku, Kristine Sutherland, Mark Blucas, Danny Strong, Tom Lenk, Adam Busch, D.B. Woodside, Andy Umberger, Harry Groener, Clare Kramer, Armin Shimmerman, James C. Leary, Juliette Landau, Mark Metcalf, and Robin Sachs (Kit B will kill me if I forget to mention Ethan Rayne!). Sarah, I've got some beef with you for never really embracing the fans the way your colleagues did, and we've all read how disappointed your castmates were that you didn't tell them in person that you were quitting, but thank you for the incredible work you did on the show. You absolutely defined the role, and both you and your character deserve to go down in television history. More than that, Buffy has staked (!) out a place in our culture's lexicon of enduring heroes, and she wouldn't have reached that pinnacle without you. Here's your Emmy.

I guess that pretty much covers everyone but Joss.

Thanks, man. It's a cliché, but there really aren't words for this. As the individual who is most responsible for bringing all of these people together, and as the mind from whence this all came, each one of us owes you a beer. The mainstream public and the Emmy goons may not understand or appreciate what you've been building for the past seven seasons, but we do.

Take care, everybody.

Ron

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Latest Comments

Anya deserved so much better.

Posted by: Lord Morbid on June 27, 2004 05:17 PM

I agrre with most of your essay but i gotta say that i love the season and the show never dissapointed me and never stopped surprising me.

Posted by: alex on February 28, 2004 08:29 AM

I have to say, this review was almost just what I though about this season. I've just finished watching it on video and I have to say i was definately disappointed. I agree most strongly with the fact that Chosen should have been a two parter.

Second to that, Dawn getting 'short shrifted' this season (Joss Whedon agrees). I wanted to see her as she grew up out of that whiney brat of season 6 (being one myself i hoped there

Then Xander being the Normal guy, Caleb being a bad 'little bad', the master stroke of the slayer spell, Faith + Wood coming together, Angel's (short) return being too short & hardly worth the appearence, the guardians & Anya's abysmal death.

And then the inconsistency and general failing of the First Evil, to be well evil.

Also, I agree, Sarah could have been a little more freindly towards her fans but I forgive her.

Anyway, great review :)

Posted by: rowan on December 15, 2003 10:50 AM

I agree with most of Ron's analysis on season seven. My biggest disagreement would be about Principal Wood. A bad character from the start. Making him a major player later in the season was a big mistake. Faith sleeping with Wood is the lowest moment in her character's history. What was the point? And what does Ron mean about Faith and Wood ending up together? They has a one night stand and then exchanged a few words over the course of three episodes. This does not make a couple. Obviously if they were, Faith would have stayed with Wood at the end. She did not, she joined the rest of the heroes outside, leaving Wood to the care of the potentials. They are clearly not a couple. In a post S7 interview, Joss Whedon talked about the couples that came and went over the years, and commented that Willow and Kennedy were the only couple at the end. Faith and Wood have zero chemistry and little in common. The sooner this brief connection is forgotten the better.

Posted by: Rick on November 30, 2003 10:58 AM

Great Review!
I completely agree with what you said. I'm still sick over never being able to see another new episode of Buffy again. I want to cry just thinking about it! All said and done, I was pretty happy with the finale, however i wish David Boreanaz got more air time. He was my all time favorite, and I felt he should have had a bigger role in the finale. Many thanks to the writers! It was written beautifully. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!!!

Posted by: Michelle on August 28, 2003 12:03 AM
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