Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | October 5, 2013

Cordia’s Review S6, E22 – Grave

Season 6, Episode 22
Original airing: 5/21/2002

My Rating: 50

The end of this episode succeeded in spite of itself. Unfortunately, five good minutes does not unmake 40 icky ones.

The Good: Xander and Willow’s final scene stands head and shoulders above everything else in this episode. It’s well acted and quite emotional. Xander’s speech is perfect to reach Willow and I love how she progresses from magical attack to impotent fist thumping to sobbing. It feels very real and very human. I love the moment when her hair bleeds back to red and she’s obviously herself again. I’ve missed you, Willow.

The Bad: Unfortunately, the moment is underscored by heavy exposition and inappropriate character moments.

I was happy to see Giles, but I felt he was distinctly misused in this episode. His explanation for arriving from the coven was fine, but the idea that the magick he gave to Willow was the only thing that allowed Xander to reach her really undercut the strength of the moment. It was unnecessary and having Giles do nothing but say precisely what had already happened or what was currently happening was boring. A classic rule of any visual art is “Show, Don’t Tell” and this episode broke it hardcore.

I was also disappointed in the cheap and blatant attempt to scare up sympathy with Giles bald statement – “I’m dying” – when he then sat up a bit later and was just fine.

In other news, I have completely lost interest in Jonathon and Andrew. I don’t care that they lived and are now riding in a truck to Mexico. Good riddance.

But what really drove me nuts in this episode was the scene in the pit with Buffy and Dawn. Everything Dawn says is based on her typical teenager angst. She’s 15 so she deserves to know everything and deserves to fight even if she hasn’t been trained and is actually really good at it and suddenly Buffy has seen the light and realizes she’s back in this world not to save it from the darkness but to see Dawn grow up into a powerful and beautiful woman! Ugh. This whole collection of scenes felt very fake and stupid. Dawn picks an incredibly inappropriate time to demand things she hasn’t earned and doesn’t deserve. Buffy seems to come out of her depression almost magically and if she now spends all her time focused on Dawn, I’m going to be very bored very quickly with her character. And the pit seems all for naught when Buffy and Dawn crawl out of it pretty easily at the end.

The Unknown: It’s interesting for Spike to get his soul back. This was a great cliffhanger and definitely makes me want to watch the next episode immediately. I can imagine multiple ways this can affect the show and the Buffy/Spike relationship. I think this is a really cool idea to grow the character. He’s come as far as he can with an inherently and unchangeable evil nature. He needs to have moral choice to progress.

Favorite Moment: See The Good.


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