Hello Joss! Looks like we are about to do my final Season Report Card.
It’s been quite a ride for us both Joss. Me ruminating about one of your greatest achievements, and you reading my ruminations. (I know you have never even heard of SMP and my Buffy watching, but still I am delusional on that point.) And nowadays I am still continuing on with viewing Angel, while you are recovering from helping the Avengers save the earth from Ultron.
But back to the today with my Buffy Season Seven Report Card, the final season of your classic television show, and the heaviness of heart this entails. You can check out my Season Six and Season Five and Season Four and Season Three and Season Two and Season One reports all here on SMP. All awaiting your eager eyes Joss. And of course, all SPOILER FILLED.
Season Seven definitely had the final season feel, right from the start. Knowing that going into it was probably helpful to you Joss. And helpful to Buffy. So lets take a look at our very very favourite Slayer, Buffy the fantastic savior of the world.
Buffy you have saved the world. Again. And on your own terms. Again. That is just one of a million reasons you are so awesome.
I love how at the start of season seven, Buffy is now the ever concerned den mother for her sister. Heck, she gives Dawn a cell phone and gets her to school on time and provides plenty of real and Sunnydale styled advice, but she also saves the young ones and scores a job she is actually qualified for. Buffy as kinda a school counselor makes sense, even if Wood rudely makes fun of it later on. And maybe being a quasi school councilor was helpful to Buffy as she has to face the new Spike. We all know she differentiates between souled and non souled in regards to evil perpetuated. So forgiveness of Spike and his attempted rape was I feel because of both reasons. A heavy topic to be sure, and one dealt with by Buffy, and by Spike as well, with much thought and emotion. This maturity also is shown Joss when you had Buffy take on the out of control Anya. Buffy always had a sense of justice and of what falls into her mission, and slaying rogue vengeance demons would definitely fall into that category, no matter how much she would hate it.
A lot of these events are the final lead up to Buffy becoming leader of an ever growing army. A job she did most excellently I say. The Scoobies already know how good Buffy is, and now it is the potentials turn to see her greatness. She trains them and organizes them and inspires them and gives them crap and showcases what is possible to them. All because she knows this must be done. Buffy gets an army and takes on the responsibility quite well, even with the toll it takes on her. Her speech after the brutal beatdown the Uber Vampire gave her was phenomenal, as was the speech/lecture she pounded out when one potential committed suicide. And Buffy digging that girl’s grave was heartbreaking. Now the speeches did get abit much after awhile, with your commentary through Andrew showing even you knew this.
And to pay Buffy back for all this hard grueling work, they all turn on her. The fact that Buffy kept her composure so well through all that is a testament to her strength. Plus, to come roaring back and take on Caleb and be proven right, with no apologies offered after from the offending friends, and not complaining about any of it, makes her an even more dynamic and developed character since season one.
A quick side note by the way Joss. You keep bringing up the concept that Buffy has a superiority complex because she is super. Never ever bought that version of the character. In this case you are wrong about a character you created.
Another quick side note by the way Joss. Buffy still not good with cellphones? I know the proliferation of cell phones made writing and plotting BTVS and Angel more difficult, but even technophobe luddite Buffy would better at using them by now.
Yet another quick side note by the way Joss. I don’t blame Buffy at all for having Spike’s chip removed. His journey from evildoer to champion was almost complete, so giving him a reward of not only free will, but Buffy’s trust, was a natural at this point. Good for Buffy for doing the right thing.
Now one growing quality that Buffy got down pat this year was the ability to make a rousing, truthful, speech. She does it to rally the troops, she does it to tell off the troops, she does to beg her troops to let her stay, and she kinda overdoes it with the troops when they are in the kitchen. But damn, Joss, did you study Churchill or something with these sections?
And the best speech by far Joss? The one where Buffy does the brilliant. She changes the rules of the old men, all to win the war. Simply put, making all the potentials into Slayers is the most amazing idea ever, and it is all Buffy’s. That hooting and hollering you heard was me cheering on the ending where the whole world changed, while being saved, which is kinda you expanding Buffy’s responsibilities a wee bit. Judging by that last final end scene, Buffy does not mind not being so alone anymore.
One last bit Joss before I move on from the cool Buffy. I loved the Angel guest appearance. I loved the heart to dead heart that Buffy and Angel had. And I love that Buffy realized this season Slayers can have lives. So, maybe, someday, possibly, Buffy and Angel can be together. Hopefully.
But I gotta move on from the wonderful Buffy and take a gander at the rest of your incredible characters. Lets start with the next best…
The amazing Willow is back Joss and I thank you for it. We all knew she would come back and make good because that is Willow. It was hard to see her become invisible because of fear, and regain the trust of some Scoobies, but we all knew she get this all. So when she sees Andrew and did her duty to the mission and not go back to seeking vengeance, I was very very happy. I firmly believed the vast majority of Willow’s healing took place when she visited Tara’s grave. That scene still gets to me Joss. Which brings up Kennedy. Now I like the rich brat, and I really don’t mind her with Willow, but it does strike me as way way way too soon for Willow to get involved with anyone. I know grief has its own timetable with everyone, but this was less then a year later. It will take awhile for Willow and Tara to give way to Willow and Kennedy. One other cool part this year Joss, is seeing all the good magic flow into newly re-confident Willow, making her into White Willow. That was an awesome twist has fills my geek heart with pride.
Someone I have grown to like again is Xander. After finally getting his life together, landing a career, and quit being so smitten with Buffy, I dug him. Then he becomes a complete and utter jerkhole by dumping Anya on their wedding day. So while he does make some peace with Anya this year, even almost gets a girlfriend once or twice, it was cool to see him be successful in one big area of his life, that of his career. Also, huge Bonus House Points for Xander, all because of his total belief in the goodness of Willow, his bff forever. That is so Xander and we love you for it Joss. Now if we had a spinoff where Xander and Spike are roommates, that would be awesome. And I will not mention the eye Joss, just because I am still not over it.
Now then, about Giles. Why is he such a twat, to put it politely, for so much of this season? Giles gathering potentials was cool, as was him surviving the Bringer attack, plus his wonderful flashcards, and the brilliant way of duping us into thinking he was the First, made us love the stuffy Brit so much Joss. But as the season progresses, he becomes a complete jackass. Inconsistent priorities, always talking back to and down to Buffy, making a massively useless pact with Wood all to kill Spike, and the topper of stupidity, leading the mutiny against Buffy just out of spite. Really, when Buffy closed the door on him, she should have slammed it. Oh, and when Buffy is proven right, Giles does not even have the integrity to apologize. As I said, a twat. Thankfully, Giles makes good with Buffy before the end and helps save the day. Maybe his point was to show how dad’s have to give up their daughters? Sigh, fine, but don’t be a twat.
Dawn, the current teen and former key, has always been a fav of mine Joss. I loved how you start off the season with Dawn getting a cell phone, a device that has caused some noticeable plot problems on Buffy and Angel, and how she uses it wisely and responsibility. And while the cell phone stuck around, her junior Scoobies squad unfortunately were never seen again. Drat, I liked them. I also felt sad because the terrifying haunting she endured came with First Joyce playing vicious mind games. Double the sadness when Dawn learns she is not a potential and feels left out. You really piled on the angst and alienation on her young shoulders Joss, and she came through like a trooper.
One of my favs nowadays, almost fully achieving redemption, is the other Vampire with a soul Spike. His new mission in life to make up for all his deaths and destructions and become a true champion for truth and justice. And be worthy of Buffy of course. This whole quest is hard enough Joss, but then ya gotta have the First mind whip poor little Spike and make him a basement dwelling puppy, then a brainwashed killing machine. Which, by the way, because of you I now hate the song Early One Morning. But once Spike had broken free, he then gets rid of the malfunctioning chip because we really have to see if he can really be trusted not to feed. I knew Buffy was gonna get the chip removed, and not because she views Spike as a cutie-pie lover, but as a soul filled champion not responsible for his past actions. Spike repays Buffy’s trust by quite rightly telling off the Scoobies for pulling a mutiny on her. Also Joss, seeing Spike’s really screwed up relationship with his mother was interesting. But no, I don’t believe that was the demon talking, it was Spike’s mother. And a temporary RIP to Spike, who I already knew would get better on Angel.
Faith is faith, better and newer and improved now. No longer consumed with jealously towards Buffy, and finally have gotten a grip on her anger issues, she is proving to be reliable and a valiant warrior. Looks like Angel’s belief in her and occasional prison visits helped this particular Slayer get a groove at last. I also love Joss how Faith is still very much in charge of her sexuality, just like before. With that in mind, Faith and Wood make a most excellent and stable couple that I completely ship. Also interesting Joss? Faith took on a slightly maternal role with the potentials, from learning their names to keeping them from alcohol.
I did feel sorry for Anya, but only for a bit. Yes, she was hurt by that jerk Xander, who is also a twit, and I can understand her becoming a Vengeance Demon again, because that is familiar slightly happy territory, but it is glaringly obvious Anya went waaaaay too far. So when Anya brutally killed those jerk fratboys, she did go way over the top because of her broken heart. Thankfully Xander calls her on it. But darn it, you also show us how lonely Anya was back in ye olden days, I feel even more for her. But still, no excuse for wholesale slaughter. And now she is dead and I shake my angry fan fist at you Joss.
You really had me guessing with Principal Wood. From maybe a former Watcher to possibly a Rogue Demon Hunter, you really got me with him being a child of a Slayer. Now while I love Wood and think he is badass, you can also tell he needs lots and lots of therapy. Something Spike kinda beat into him. I also found him and Faith a cute couple and maybe his calmer demeanor can help her some more. And thank you for not killing him in Chosen.
One character that became a favourite after hating him for so long was Andrew. His quest for redemption, his constant yearning to be a Scooby, his geeky chuminess with Xander, his winning hostage of the year in my mind, his helping around the house, his Buffy documentary, all this and more combine to make him truly wonderful and interesting. I do feel bad for his constant sadness because of his long loneliness. And it is obvious his closeted homosexuality, barely concealed, is something he is completely not comfortable in revealing, even to these people he is desperate to be friends with. Andrew killed his friend and crush and it is still killing him. I hope he found peace after Chosen because he deserved it.
Now while I LOVED LOVED LOVED this entire season, some episode did stand out for me. Lessons, Help, Him, Conversations With Dead People, Showtime, Storyteller, Empty Places, End Of Days, and Chosen really slayed me and staked my interest. I know Joss, my jokes are getting worse.
Couple of things that bounced around my head this season Joss. Like I have mentioned this before, but where did the high school students in Sunnydale go before New Sunnydale High opened? Also, whatever happened to Dawn’s Scooby Gang from the first episode? I liked them a lot. And why was Cassie the psychic girl not made a Scooby? She would have been awesome! How many times has the Summers house been trashed? I have completely lost track and so has Buffy. Now the non question ones. Clem is the coolest. Buffy and Spike had the most awesome fight scene in Him, hands down. Love how Buffy and Willow and Xander have the telepathic meeting away from the potentials. Also, I loved loved loved Joss how you had at least one scene in the finale with the original four altogether. Which reminds me, RIP New Sunnydale High, The Summers house, the Sunnydale cemetery, the Bronze, and the whole town of Sunnydale. That is one HUGE crater where those locales used to be Joss, darn exploding Hellmouth.
Which brings me to the Big Bad for the season, The First Evil. That is one cool awesome, massively powerful villain who is completely immoral and vile. With the added bonus of shapeshifting. Reams of academic papers and pop culture books can be written about the who and the what of The First Evil Joss, which is probably one of the main reasons you picked it. And the really good case can be made that The First Evil is actually self doubt, which I can fully see. So bravo on this unbeatable foe, the one that Buffy did not beat but pushed back, because the concept is awesome. Just don’t get me started on my hatred on Caleb and his insane crazed behaviour. I so wanted Buffy to poke his eyes out, than kill him. Caleb and Warren should hang out in hell.
Other villains you threw in this season were mixed Joss. The Bringers were great cannon fodder of the ultimate order. When you get down to it, they were only really effective against barely trained potentials or potentials with no training at all. This just makes them bullies. So I cheered whenever the Bringers got slaughtered. That same fate should have hit Amy The Rat because she became scum. And except for giving us a reformed Andrew, I despised the return of the Trio, especially that ungrateful jerk Jonathan. The concept of the Uber Vampires was also brilliant Joss, and it builds upon the idea of the ancient Vampire that killed Faith’s Watcher. At one point Joss you even make the Scoobies and the potentials into villains by having the ungrateful lot of them turn on Buffy. I really booed and hissed at them a lot. One point I very much cheered on was the Watchers blowing up real good. Those pompous blowhards became crispy critters and good riddance to the jerk ass rubbish. Why yes I did hate the Watchers Joss, why do you ask?
But it was interesting to see more of the inner working of those twits the Watchers. Felt bad for all those potentials dying as well, but it was fascinating to see how the Watchers worked with the potentials they located. You did show us that the Watchers being jerks goes waaaay back to the very beginning. Ancient Watchers and blown up Watchers are the same pompous twats. At least the Guardians were around to clear up their messes.
Now from what I understand, some misguided masses of Buffy fans don’t like the potentials. I can’t fathom why. Seeing the untrained potentials getting killed was heartbreaking. Seeing the raw potentials fleeing and being gathered to Sunnydale was hopeful. Having Felicia Day (!! Dr. Horrible !!) as a potential was awesome. Kennedy was delightfully bratty. Amanda, may she rest in peace, had me cheering. One quibble Joss, the never seen first battle between the potentials and a Vampire drove me nuts in a good way. I wanted to see that!! And now all those potentials are Slayers, and I am beyond happy at this cool amazing series ending twist.
One big question Joss. It was so incredibly obvious that Spike was gonna get a spinoff, my guess taking place in New York because Spike is so New York. Faith was gonna come along because she is New York as well, with Wood and Andrew tagging along, and newly minted Slayers making guest appearances, rounding out the SPS. That would be the Spike Protection Services in my fanfic mind. Okay, I may have put too much thought into this Joss, but we all can tell you were aiming for something like this. Love to hear what happened.
With a heavy heart of this part of the journey ending, I will sometime in the future, venture into the comics. It will be fun and emotional and thrilling to see that part of Buffy’s life unfold.
Buffy The Vampire Slayer season seven is done and I could not be happier to have experienced it.
Thank you Joss and Sarah.
…is currently reading Watership Down by Richard Adams