Sunnydale: Come for the food, stay for the dismemberment-Buffy the Series retro part two


Sorry, guys. I’ve been slammed by life the last week or so. Joss Whedon Month has suddenly turned into Joss Whedon Months. But back on track!

Okay, so we left off with season four, the least exciting season ever. But hold on to your hats, kids, because season five is when shit gets real. The season opens with none other than Dracula himself. And god, that was a terrible episode, not gonna lie. But it’s whatever, you can’t have a vampire show without bringing in Dracula. It could’ve been so much better! But it wasn’t. We’re introduced to Dawn Summers, Buffy’s little sister. Who’s been there the whole time. Everyone knows the Dawn’s been around forever, right? Whoops, looks like some ancient cult actually took this supernatural being called The Key and gave it to Buffy. And manipulated everyone’s thoughts and memories to where no one would suspect a thing. Wait, if there’s a supernatural being entrusted to the Slayer, that must mean there’s a massive Big Bad for the season, right? Enter Glory (short for Glorificus), a hell-god hellbent on bringing Hell to Earth. Did I mention she’s completely insane? Well, she is. And she has to drain other people’s sanity in order to not completely lose it. And what’s insanity an identifier for? Brain tumors, just like the ones Joyce Summers has! Dudes and dudettes, season five is not a happy one. Joyce dies, and not during surgery, not during an attack, not during the end of the world, but at home, after the doctors said she was fine. “The Body” is one of the best-written episodes of the entire series. Because for once, death is inevitable. No spell can bring Joyce back. She can’t be changed into a vampire. She was there, and then she was gone. And that’s sort of what brings Buffy to realize that, eventually, she will die for good. Riley leaves before all of this goes down, but Spike realizes that he’s in love with Buffy. He has Warren, a tech geek, build him a Buffybot to shag, and obviously this pisses Buffy off. But Glory kidnaps and tortures Spike, trying to find out where The Key is. And he won’t tell her. So Buffy decides that maybe he isn’t so bad after all. Anya becomes more human and gets a job with Giles at The Magic Box (can I just say I really wish we had a Magic Box around here? That would make EVERYTHING more fun). And Tara and Willow become more serious as a couple, and it’s precious. Until Glory shows up and takes Tara’s sanity. So basically Glory ruins everybody’s lives in like, three episodes. And Will ain’t havin’ none of that. The Scoobs find out how Glory is going to destroy the world by using Dawn’s blood, and how only her death can stop it. So they wage war on Glory and her minions. Willow drains Glory’s sanity and gives it back to Tara. Giles kills Ben, Glory’s human host. Oh, and Buffy? She sacrifices herself for Dawn. She jumps into the glowing mass of hell and saves the world. The most devastating scene in the entire series was the shot of Buffy’s crumpled body, surrounded by everyone grieving.

*sobs*

*sobs*

Season six opens with everyone still trying to adjust to Buffy’s death, and if that isn’t heavy enough, just wait. Willow manages to resurrect Buffy via magic, but Buffy doesn’t want to be alive. She was in a Heaven dimension, and being pulled out of it throws her into a deep depression. Her depression causes Dawn to become a a straight up brat and she starts stealing stuff. I don’t like Dawn, at all, but Joss loves her, and I can appreciate her because Joss proves that he can create a stereotypical annoying teenage girl who is just as well developed as a sweet witch or a bumbling demon. But still, I don’t like and never will like Dawn. Moving on. Giles moves back to England because he thinks Buffy is too dependent on him. Which is a really awful thing for him to do. But still, the characters we love are the ones that are most human, so we forgive him. Buffy gets a real job at a fast food place. Which kinda mirrors her depression, now that I think about it. But she has to pay the bills that keep racking up, so she has to work. Dawn’s klepto tendencies bring about the epic musical episode, “Once More with Feeling.” I’ll write up a full thing about that episode later, because oh my god, feels. We’re introduced to our first Big Bad of the season (that’s right, there’s more than one): The Trio, consisting of Jonathan, one of Buffy’s classmates from Sunnydale High, Andrew, the younger brother of a kid who summoned hellhounds to ruin prom, and Warren, the guy who made Spike’s Buffybot. Really, these guys are harmless. Well, for the most part. They just want to mess with Buffy, not cause her any real harm. They were the geeks in school, so for them to have power sort of tempts them to do more and more. But Warren…he’s different. In the sense that he’s a serious douchebag. He tries to rape his ex-girlfriend, only to end up accidentally killing her. He tries to blame her death on Buffy, but fails. He shows up at the Summers’ home and shoots Buffy. He also unknowingly shoots Tara in the heart. This sends Willow over the edge. She goes completely Dark and uses all kinds of Dark Magick (it’s spelled fancy cuz it’s bad, mmkay?) to exact revenge on Warren. And boy, does she. SHE SKINS THE DUDE ALIVE, OKAY? If that ain’t vengeance, I don’t know what is. She absorbs all sorts of magic from Giles, who comes back, and realizes how much pain there is in the world. So what does she want? To

Best friends. Also: Dark Willow is kind of hot.

Best friends. Also: Dark Willow is kind of hot.

end it. End the world. So she tries to, but she’s stopped. Who saves the day? Not Buffy. Not Giles. Hell, not even a brooding vampire (pick one). No, the hero, the man who saves the world, it’s Xander. And that to me says more about the entire show than anything. It says that someone doesn’t have to be super strong or have powers to save someone. It can be your best friend who pulls you from the darkness and makes you realize everything doesn’t always suck.

Season seven is the final season of the entire show on television (because it carried on in comic book form, which Coty covers). We have the First, the most primitive evil. It doesn’t even have a body. But it can take the form of others, like it does with Spike. Spike left towards the end of season six to try to get the chip from the Initiative removed or to get his full power back so he could finally kill Buffy, but instead he’s burdened by a soul. That’s right. We have two vamps with souls in the Whedonverse. Anyway, the First tortures Spike while he lives under the ruins of old Sunnydale High, driving him insane. He’s rescued by Buffy, who sort of restores him. He tells her about the First, so Buffy takes a job as the new high school counselor to investigate. This drives Dawn crazy, as she’s still acting like a little brat. Ugh. But the principal of the high school, Robin Wood, has a bit of a history with Spike. As in, Spike killed Robin’s mother, Nikki, a Slayer from the 70s, right in front of him. So Wood is all up in the Scoobs because he knows all about vampires and supernatural stuff. Willow goes into a rehab of sorts, trying to cope with Tara’s death and the fact that she almost brought about the end of the world. She also begins a new relationship with Kennedy. Oh, right. I forgot to mention. This entire season explores Potential Slayers and their significance. Someone has been killing off Potentials, so Buffy collects them and begins training them herself. The person…well, being, behind the killings? None other than the First, with the help of a defrocked priest, Caleb (Nathan Fillion). Can I just say I love how Joss recycles actors in his work? Anyway, Caleb is the ultimate misogynist. He was defrocked because he would rape and murder women who were enraptured by his sermons. And to see Buffy, this symbol of ultimate female power, kick his ass is something glorious and wonderful. Before the big battle with the First, Willow uses a spell to activate the Potentials, making them full blown Slayers. In the battle, a lot of Slayers die, and Anya, who became a vengeance demon again after Xander stood her up at the altar but became a human again, sacrifices herself for Xander and dies. Spike essentially sets off a magical bomb that destroys all of Sunnydale after the Scoobs and Slayers escape, proving that he always had some good in him after all.

Angel the Series was like Buffy, but at the same time it wasn’t like it at all. Angel leaves Sunnydale for Los Angeles and starts Angel Investigations with Cordelia Chase and Doyle, a messenger. The trio take on demons and other bad guys throughout the season, and Cordy gets the ability to see visions from Doyle. Angel’s sire, Darla, reappears and becomes human, but then she’s a vampire again. Her and Angel bone, and boom, the first real vampire baby. Angel and Lorne, a super awesome demon who runs a demon bar, go into a different dimension and rescue Fred, a gorgeous physics student who had been trapped there for five years. Oh! Did I mention Wesley Wyndham-Pryce? Well, he’s back in Angel, and he’s a total BAMF now. Darla gives birth to the baby and dies (again) and Wesley tries to kidnap the baby to prevent a (false) prophecy from happening but a bad guy kidnaps the baby instead and raises him as him own. Wesley is exiled by the rest of the group, but the baby, Connor, returns a few weeks later as a teenager. He tries to kill Angel by throwing him into the ocean in a casket. Cordy leaves our dimension because she’s part demon now and her lover goes with her, only to discover that Cordy loves Angel. A lot of shit goes down in season four, mostly insanity and stuff. I didn’t really watch it until season five, the final season. Spike reappears as a ghost of sorts once Angel gains control of Wolfram & Hart, the demonic attorney agency. The entire season is spent trying to figure out how to stop the apocalypse (again). Fred finally tells Wesley how she feels, but she’s then possessed by a demon, Illyria. Wesley dies in the final battle, and it’s sad. But there’s a dragon at the end of the world, so that’s cool.

Thus concludes the Vampireverse retrospective. Thanks for reading my fanatical dribble.

–Ley

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