Season 7, Episode 20
Original airing: 5/6/2003
My Rating: 63
The Good: The power of this episode is Buffy rediscovering why she does what she does. It’s an excellent circle back to the core concept of the show and the presentation of who Buffy is as a person. Her goodness and sacrifices have always been the core of her character and her relationships. This felt like an appropriate time in the life of the show to lay that out again.
I also thought Spike was the perfect character to deliver this message. I’ve truly believed his story arc from obsessive hatred, to obsessive selfish love, to lost and lonely, to truly selfless love. If anyone’s seen the depth of who Buffy truly is in the good and bad situations, it’s Spike.
All the sex made sense in the context of human behavior before a big, potentially life-ending battle, but it felt very out of place in the context of a house with about 30 people in it, most of which are under 18. Does no one have a sense of propriety??
The Bad: It was disappointing to see Faith and Giles making the same kinds of rash decisions and employing the same “do as I say no matter what” attitudes that they reprimanded Buffy for in the last episode. It was particularly annoying to see Faith stand up and tell everyone to fall in line – exact words from one of Buffy’s speeches. And I have absolutely no clue why Giles killed the Bringer. Nobody even seems to think that was weird!
The Unknown: I’m currently reserving judgment on the discovery of the weapon and the bomb. Both feel like very basic story clichés, but there’s always a possibility they will be used in an interesting manner. The weapon will take a lot of explaining to avoid a deus ex machina presentation. And the bomb cliffhanger feels like an exact replica of Giles’ near beheading from earlier in the season.
Favorite Moment: I love the subtle acting when Buffy asks Spike to stay with her. He showcases his selfless love again by immediately assuming he’ll sleep on the couch, but he also refrains from showing in any way that he is gratified or intends to take advantage of his position when Buffy invites him to the bed.
The Bottom Line: Buffy and Spike carried this episode and I loved those bits. The rest was a bit annoying as I felt Kennedy was too prominent and Faith and Giles seemed to make all the same mistakes Buffy did in the past. But the real deciding factor will be the ongoing situation of the weapon and bomb. It’s a weird double cliffhanger and gives the episode an extremely incomplete vibe which wasn’t necessary.