Buffy passes on her power
written by Vinay Menon; from thestar.com
In the end, saving the world seemed a little anti-climactic.
No matter. Last night, as Sunnydale imploded into a massive crater of vanquished evil, one of television's finest, most entertaining shows bid farewell after seven intense seasons.
As millions of breathless fans sat riveted by the finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, speculation hung in the air like a levitating demon.
Who would die? Who would be spared? Would the First — a sinister, incorporeal evil — slaughter Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the Scooby Gang, and her lithe army of Potentials?
This would be the ultimate smackdown, unbridled Girl Power versus the biggest Big Bad, a bloody battle in the flaming cauldron of the Hellmouth.
But more on that in a minute.
With the final apocalypse simmering and ready to be served, last night's finale began with Buffy's other nemesis: Love.
The opening scene had her kissing Angel (David Boreanaz), her first love, as Spike (James Marsters), her new love, watched dejectedly from the shadows.
However, this love triangle was soon dismantled when Buffy asked Angel to leave Sunnydale, a tacit acknowledgement of her feelings for Spike.
Besides, with the world teetering toward annihilation, the Slayer had more pressing issues to consider. But before Angel departed, he handed Buffy a sort of omnipotent amulet, to be worn by a "champion" during the final battle. (With his soul intact, Spike later decided he would be this champion, a selfless but fateful decision.)
Writing a series finale is always fraught with peril (Seinfeld), so give creator Joss Whedon credit for remaining true to his characters and their situation.
And since Whedon intends for the Buffy Inc. franchise to remain alive — that is, spinoffs and/or movies — he came up with an ingenious (if slightly hokey) creative solution.
At the mid-point of the finale, Buffy has a peroxide catharsis: What if every girl on the planet was a Slayer? What if she wasn't the only Chosen One?
Surrounded by her army of Potentials, she launches into an empowering soliloquy.
"From now on, every girl in the world, who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the Power, will have the Power."
The plan relied on Willow (Alyson Hannigan), the endearing Wiccan-lesbian. Willow would need to have a profound out-of-body experience, venture to her "darkest" metaphysical place, and cast the mother of all spells, transforming girls across the planet into vampire-destroying uber-Slayers.
The final battle was preceded by a touching scene in which Buffy and the original Scoobies — Willow, Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) — stand reunited in Sunnydale High, a small gift to the show's most loyal fans.
The dialogue, as you might expect, was light and ironic. Said Buffy, commenting on a sudden urge to shop: "I have a wicked shoe craving."
Then, as the camera did a 360 around the original four (symbolic gesture: we've come full-circle), they were off to kick demon ass inside the Hellmouth.
As Whedon promised, there were deaths, including a number of the Potentials. The most significant characters to die were Anya (Emma Caulfield) and Spike, who burned alive saving Buffy and everybody else.
"I love you," said an emotional Buffy, realizing what was about to happen.
"No you don't," responded Spike. "But thanks for saying it."
Though many viewers probably wept into their sleeves, it's important to remember two things: 1. Spike is a vampire. 2. He's going to appear on Angel next season. So relax. He'll be back.
But last night's ending should raise other questions. Though you'll undoubtedly read and hear glowing reviews today, especially from those who praise the feminist theme of "every girl as Slayer," it's curious to note that it was Spike, not Buffy, who truly prevented apocalypse.
And with the help from an amulet, delivered by Angel. So despite a planet brimming with new female Slayers, the two real saviours were male. Don't get me wrong, all things considered, the finale was pretty good.
But in the closing scene, as the survivors glanced back at the hole where Sunnydale once was, Giles said, "I don't understand. What did this?" Buffy's response was succinct: "Spike."
His death could be interpreted as the ultimate sacrifice; an act of love for the young woman he hated to adore. But, after seven seasons of real girl power, such an explanation seems, well, unfortunately traditional.