Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | March 30, 2014

Robin’s Review – S7, E21 – End of Days

Synopsis: The Potentials drag an unconcious Faith out of the arsenal. They are attacked by some Turok-Han but Buffy arrives with the scythe and kills them. Buffy asks Xander to take Dawn away from town. Spike tells her that last night was the best night of his life. She heads out to a temple where a Guardian explains the Scythe to her. Caleb kills the Guardian but Angel stops him from doing the same to Buffy.

The Good: There was some adequate stuff here. I liked seeing Giles and Willow do some actual research for once. Again they teased with Willow using her magic and I liked the consistency of Caleb becoming black eyed when he linked with the First. That scene also explained the source of his powers.

The Bad: The rest of the episode angered me for its lack of urgency. I don’t want to be thinking about “Becoming” during this and trying to remember if that too had characters standing around having conversations instead of the plot actually moving forward.

Obviously I was disappointed to see Faith, Kennedy and all the Potentials we know still breathing after a bomb went off in their faces. But I would happily have ignored that if they had actually gone on to fight the Turok-Han or at least be involved in the story of the end of the world. Instead Buffy rescues them and they just go home to chat some more.

It’s swell that Faith finally realises what Buffy goes through everyday but do they have to have this conversation now? Shouldn’t they be more worried about the decimation of their army? I’m happy that Anya can admire the human spirit but wounded people need her attention, we don’t have time for wheelchair fights. And after the writers pulled off an ultra-sappy Spuffy sequence last episode, this one felt again like a conversation for another time. And why is Buffy heading out alone? I assume Giles and Willow found out where this temple was but couldn’t they have gone with her. No explanation was given for what anyone else was doing. Nor did any of the Scoobies discuss the fact that yesterday they kicked Buffy out of her own home.

The temple and the scythe have a somewhat cool explanation. These female-Watchers, the Guardians, tried to help their future sisters to slay the one final true demon. It balances nicely with the idea that vampires were formed by the (apparently not) last demon mixing its blood with a human. But it’s a bit late. Couldn’t this have been discovered earlier in the season? It couldn’t help but feel contrived and the conversation Buffy has with the Guardian reflected that awkwardness. The Guardian is talking in deeply serious tones and Buffy tries to joke around with her to make light of the heavy info dump.

Then smiley Angel stands by and gloats while Buffy kills Caleb. Again, where’s the urgency? Presumably he’s here because the Apocalypse requires all hands on deck. I can understand having faith in Buffy but don’t smirk, show some concern, a minute ago you saved her from being squished.

The Unknown: The final shot of the First trying to talk evil into Spike’s ear as he watched Buffy kiss Angel was bizarre. It’s pretty odd that Buffy and Angel are making out but given their history and Buffy’s intimacy with Spike the previous night. But what is the First hoping to accomplish? Does it really think that Spike will be so jealous that he will jeapordise the end of the world over one kiss? Or is this meant to imply that the trigger wasn’t the only hold the First has over Spike and he will suddenly leap from the shadows to attack them both? That could be emotive but seems unlikely given his redemption story. It had better be something important though or I will just be flabberghasted that the end of the world is nigh and the writers thought the best cliffhanger would be a love triangle.

I understand Buffy’s desire to get Dawn away from the big fight. And I understand Dawn’s desire to tazer Xander and go back to be of service. But somehow that moment annoyed me. I think it just fit too neatly into an episode where no plot movement whatsoever occured. Even Dawn’s exile didn’t happen and next week I assume Buffy just shrugs at their return.

Best Moment: Xander chloroforming Dawn was a nice surprise moment.

The Bottom Line: This was desperately disappointing. I don’t know if the writers realise how static and frustrating this season has become. They’ve left everything till the last moment and there’s no way the finale can do justice to both the season and the whole show in just 45 minutes.

43/100

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Responses

  1. I have always thought of the Last Guardian as nothing more than another of Wheedon’s in-jokes—– “okay, I’ll introduce a major new element of slayer mythology in the final two-parter and then immediately kill her off—- haha, aren’t I a kidder?” It would have been a better joke however if it had been…. funny. Which it isn’t, because there is no time to appreciate it between her death and the start of Caleb’s monologuing. And also because it isn’t funny.

    I agree with your general dissatisfaction with Season 7. I think the problem was that Wheedon set out a general theme for the season that goes badly awry.

    In Season 2, I think he made the theme of the season: “Betrayal”. That worked very well as did the theme of “Family” in Season 5. In Season 7 however, the theme is “Feminism” or more precisely “Grrrl Power!” and the Buffy writers makes it a very one-sided argument. As a result there is no dramatic dialectic, no real exploration of the issue, and consequently there is no real sense of triumph when Buffy defeats Caleb.

    This one sidedness, even hypocrisy, is very evident in “Chosen” when Willow empowers the Potentials—— doing exactly the same thing to all Potentials world-wide that the Shadow Men did to the First Slayer, and which Buffy called a “violation”. But when Buffy and Willow do it, it’s all happy golden light falling on baseball players. Not the slightest hint that this might be something other than beneficial empowerment.

    But what about all those Potentials who don’t *want* to have part of a demon’s power grafted onto them? Aren’t they being violated? At least the Shadow Men only did it to *one* woman.


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