Saturday, 20 December 2014
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Gift
"How many apocalypses now?"
"Six, I think."
It's very clear from the start that this was originally supposed to be the last ever episode and not just a season finale; the "Previously On" is a tour through all five seasons, and the opening scene is a call back to the first ever episode- Buffy saves a boy from a vampire (how long since we saw one of those?) in the exact feminist statement that is the raison d'être for the whole show.
Still, this is also (and, as it turns out, only) a season finale, so we then turn straight to the plot. The plot involves some waiting around, however, so we also have time for a bit of character stuff first. Hence a bit of friction between Buffy and Giles about whether to kill Dawn (as though that's going to happen!) and Xandet suggesting, to his immediate shame, that they could just kill Ben (er...!). Hence Dawn being so very, very brave on what is to be the last day of her life. Hence Buffy and Giles getting a nice, quiet moment together. Hence Anya actually having some good and practical ideas about which McGuffins to use against Glory. But essentially the plan is just to keep Glory occupied so that the moment passes and the appointed time passes and it's too late to kill Dawn and unleash Hell. As plans go, it's rather desperate. And Buffy makes it clear that, if Dawn dies, she's quitting as Slayer. It's clear that there can be no simple return to the status quo.
Amongst all this, though, is a funny yet sweet scene of Xander proposing to Anya in an act of defiant faith in the future, just after they've had sex during which Anya, as she so kindly informs us, had "the pleasure moment".
After this, things seem to speed up. And, well, I've never much enjoyed action scenes or found them that easy to follow, but the second half of the episode seems to be too fast and too much action, robbing Buffy's death of its impact. Yes, the resolution at the end is obvious but that's not actually a problem as its a nice and neat way to end things, and the emotional impact should make up for the lack of surprise. Yet the emotional impact is strangely blunted.
Still, none of that takes away from the fact that this has been a fine season. The best, in fact, since Season Three. So let's see what happens in two more seasons on a different network...