Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Grave.

episode 122.
airdate: 21 May 2002.

Buffy wakes up right after Giles arrives. Willow taunts Giles. So, like, I'm totally scared of Willow right now, but it's still pretty cool. When she reminds Giles he called her a "rank, arrogant amateur", then her eyes turn black again and her voice gets all deep and she says, "Well, I've gone pro." it gives me goosebumps of villain awesomeness. I can't help it. She could rip out someone's beating heart like Akasha right now, or set things on fire with her mind like Carrie. She's a force!

Giles has some good magic to counter Willow. He binds her in a ring of energy. Buffy and Anya both hug Giles. Giles heard about what's going on with Willow from a coven in Devon. "Dark force powered by grief." Buffy updates Giles on everything that's been going on. "Dawn's a total klepto. Xander left Anya at the alter and she's a vengeance demon again. I've been sleeping with Spike." Giles just stares at her for like five seconds, then starts laughing hysterically.

Willow uses telepathy to manipulate Anya into letting her out of the binding spell. Giles said he should never have left. Buffy says he was right to leave. She tells him it took a long time to feel like she was really "here" in the world. She still doesn't understand why she's back. She asks what will happen to Willow. The coven is trying to find a way to extract her power without killing her but there's no guarantee she'll be herself. Willow comes in just then and says "Willow doesn't live here anymore."

Xander is feeling sorry for himself. Tells Dawn Spike tried to rape Buffy.

Spike glimpse #4. He's been through trial 2. Trial 3 has something to do with bugs. He says something about the Slayer "getting what's coming to her" etc. It sounds menacing, but could be interpreted either way. I'm just not sure his original intentions were good.

Tons of destruction at the magic shop. Giles is pretty beat up. Willow sends a ball of fire after the boys (and anyone protecting them) so Buffy will run after them to try to help, so she can have Giles to herself. She tortures him a bunch. Giles tells her she'll burn out her mystical energies soon. She steals all of Giles' magic. She gets high on the magic for a moment, says she is connected to everything. Suddenly she feels pain, emotion, everyone's pain. Giles tells her she can stop the pain. She agrees.

The ball of fire reaches Jonathan, Xander, Dawn and Andrew. Buffy pushes them out of the way just in time, but the ground opens up and Dawn and Buffy fall into it. They were in the cemetery, so now they're surrounded by coffins. Andrew and Jonathan run for "Mexico". Anya emerges to be with Giles, who says he's dying, that he can feel Willow, that she's going to end the world. Buffy can't climb out of this grave. Dawn confronts Buffy about the attempted rape. Buffy tells her she is trying to protect her. Dawn tells her she can't protect her from everything. Xander wakes up and Buffy instructs him to find some kind of rope to get them out. Anya teleports into the grave to tell B Willow plans to end the world. She's on her way to a Satanic temple that she's unearthing from underground. Anya says Giles said "No magic or supernatural force can stop her." Anya says she wants to get back to Giles because he doesn't have a lot of time left. Buffy yells for Xander, but he's gone.

Willow talks to B telepathically, tells her "It was me who took you out of the earth. Well now, the earth wants you back." Monsters come out of the earth. They each have a sword and Buffy asks Dawn to help her. Finally, they'll let her grow up a bit. Willow begins the destruction at the Satanic temple. Xander steps in front of Willow's magic. He makes a carpenter joke. She throws him. She never targeted Xander. Dawn kills her first creature. Cool moment. They're fighting back to back.

Willow starts her thing again and Xander gets in the way again. Xander tells Willow she's his best friend, so where else would he be if the world is going to end? "Is this the master plan? You're gonna stop me by telling me you love me?" The first time I saw this on May 21st 2002 I thought, wayyyy before this moment, that someone just needs to tell her they love her. And this is exactly what Xander does. She keeps knocking him down and he keeps getting up to tell her he loves her. He tells a cute story about kindergarten Willow. "I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary vein-y Willow. If you want to kill the world, start with me. I've earned that." Every time he says it, she slashes him, but he keeps saying it. Keeps walking closer to her. Then she starts crying and he hugs her. The earth demons stop attacking and Giles sits up at the magic shop. Giles explains that Willow has been stopped. The magic she stole from him was good magic, reconnected with her humanity. Giles knows Xander saved them all. He reconnected with her humanity.

Buffy starts crying. Happy crying. She doesn't want the world to end. She doesn't want to return to the grave. She hugs Dawn and tells her she'll start trusting her and she's sorry for the last year. Says she's excited to see the woman Dawn will become. So the season ends with Buffy climbing out of the grave, just like it began, but this time, Sarah McLachlan takes us out with the Prayer of Saint Francis. Yeah, baby. "It's in giving that we receive."

Spike: He's survived the trials. "Make me what I was." "We will return your soul." So, there you have it. The language was ambiguous, so I still don't know. Maybe he reveals it in the next season. Cool. I'm so ready for season 7. It's a really good season.

Commentary (by Jim Contner and David Fury) notes added 5.4.13: 

I'm going to try to be more involved in these commentaries. No more opening Tumblr in a different tab and spacing off. They wanted to have Buffy fight the dragon that was unleashed when the hell dimension was opened with Dawn's portal at the end of season 5, but couldn't because of budget. That would have been cool, because yeah, they never dealt with that. What happened with that dragon? In the episodes where Sarah has to laugh, they always talk about it in the commentaries. She's an actress that can do everything but laugh, apparently. And I didn't use to notice this, but now I can't NOT notice it. It's kind of sad because I now can't enjoy the Giles/Buffy laughing scene in this episode.

They wanted to destroy the Magic Box in the scene between Giles and Willow because of the symbolism of their epic magic fight. I still just can't stand watching property get destroyed. Never have been able to not cringe during scenes like that, though it's even worse now, post-tornado. Post-myownhousebeingdestroyed. Right after, I couldn't even handle seeing intact houses (like in "Modern Family", "Gilmore Girls", etc) because I would unconsciously imagine them being destroyed AND also because I was seethingly jealous of people that had intact houses.

Anya, like Spike, was meant to be a short-lived character, but fortunately, the writers/directors etc saw how awesome Emma Caulfield  was and wrote her in as Xander's love interest. Xander's love interests (Anya and Cordelia) is one of the reasons I love Xander, because he appreciates blunt women.

This is the only season finale not written or directed by Joss. Of course, he still decided most of the major plot points and Xander's speech mostly storyboarded (I hope that's the right word) by Joss.