Jeff Jensen says the Slayer's fight atop a speeding Winnebago was like something out of ''The Road Warrior''

By Jeff Jensen
Updated May 10, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Randy Tepper/The WB

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

  • TV Show

”Buffy” and the gang battle a Medieval army

”Spiral,” the May 8 installment of ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (its third to last on the WB before next season’s move to UPN) was a rollicking, rock solid outing — and the first to take the entire cast on the road. The heroine and her friends stole a rickety Winnebago to flee archvillain Glory (Clare Kramer), only to face an angry army of crusading Knights in the California desert.

And though I’m STILL no fan of Glory, the show finally cleared up some of the muddled mysteries about her. We already knew that she once ruled a demon dimension with two other devious deities; now we know she lost a turf war and was banished to our lowly plane of existence, exiled (part time) in the handsome body of the Buffy smitten doctor Ben (Charlie Weber). We discovered that the Key that Glory’s been searching for — the one that her enemies hid from her by turning it into Buffy’s sister, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) — can open a door back to her dimension. Using it would end life on Earth, not that Glory would care.

Ben can rid himself of Glory if he can destroy the Key — that is, murder Dawn. And wasn’t it a nice bit of suspense when we thought he was going to do just that in ”Spiral”’s last act? (How much you wanna bet that Buffy will have to kill her sister to save the world? Now THAT would be some dramatic choice!)

”Spiral” deftly interwove a season’s worth of loose ends and dangling subplots to create a truly epic hour — the relationship between Glory and Ben, the mission of the Knights of the Pretty Key; those brain scrambled vegetables in Sunnydale’s hospital’s psych ward; Willow’s ever increasing witch power; Spike’s genuine, risk taking love for Buffy; and the Slayer’s own crisis of confidence.

”Buffy”’s fight choreography is always a kick, but that chase sequence, in which the Knights lay siege to the gang’s Winnebago, was big screen material: part ”Road Warrior,” part ”Raiders of the Lost Ark,” it was thrilling.

”Buffy” has always managed to elevate itself beyond dumb, basic cable level fantasy by being a rich allegory for growing up. As the finale approaches, the series has again showed its deep, meaningful cards: the old ”why do bad things happen to good people” and ”how can there be a God if God allows stuff like this to happen” questions. Theologians like to call such concerns ”the problem of evil,” and while I think it’s quite a heady territory for the show, for me, it did cast a provocative light on the entire season.

But I do have one quibble: Hasn’t Dawn seen Ben transform into Glory before? If so, why didn’t she warn Buffy when she asked him to tend to the wounded Giles (Anthony Stewart Head)? Can anyone help me out here?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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