Binging Buffy: A fitting farewell in season 7
Well, I did it. I saved the world. Just kidding, that was Buffy. I did, however, finish my Buffy binge which feels like it merits the same amount of praise? But whatever. Season 7 was what I would call a mixed bag, though, in the end, not even close to my least-favorite season. Dare I say that season 7 finally figured out Buffy's series-long struggle with big bads? I just might!
The start of the season was a struggle. There were some okay episodes mixed in there, but 10 episodes in, I still had no idea what was happening. I've never struggled so much to simply follow the season's story. And I still don't fully understand why Spike was a crazy rambling fool living in the school's basement? Sure, he's got a soul now and he's overcome by grief because, you know, he tried to rape Buffy!! But how that connected to him going insane was ... weird.
"Conversations with Dead People" was the first episode where I started to get intrigued by this season's villain, The First. Then I got a little less intrigued until, I'd say, about episode 15 or 16, 16 being "Storyteller," which brings me to the highlight of season 7: Andrew!! When he and Jonathan showed back up, I was less than enthused, but I've never been so happy to be so wrong about something in my life. Andrew was my favorite part of season 7, hands down. What a guy.
Andrew aside, the middle of the season does get a little too invested in the powerful speech. Neither Buffy nor Xander is Coach Taylor, but boy did they try ... repeatedly. But, once you make it to the back-half or so of the season, it's actually one of the series' strongest arcs? In terms of building to a final showdown with a villain, this season finally did what so many before it failed to do! From the introduction of the crazy super-vamp that kicked Buffy's butt — a twist I thought really worked — to Nathan Fillion showing up with one helluva Southern accent, things started to come together!
And that brings us to the finale, which I thought was a solid conclusion to this series. I'll start with the Buffy/Spike of it all. Let me say that how they handled Spike and Buffy this season is how they should've handled them all along. I realize he didn't have a soul before, but allowing them to grow closer and having her rely on him and recognize that he has a place in her heart without all of the weird sexual power dynamics? Magical. I loved that final moment when Spike is about to sacrifice himself — the only way he could fully achieve redemption — and she says, "I love you," and he responds, "No you don't, but thanks for saying it." It didn't discredit their relationship that they weren't madly in love or making out. It made it sweeter!
And yes, I did scream when Angel returned. Him saving her life and then stepping aside so that she could finish her fight is the sexiest thing I've ever seen on TV. And then they had their cookie chat, which was hilarious, and also perfect. Her recognizing that she's young and essentially asking him to wait for her without saying it was a great way to bookend that love story, giving us hope that they'll find each other some day. After all, he ain't getting any older.
Other things I loved about the finale: The final four getting one last moment together in the hallway, before breaking off one by one to prepare for battle. And, most of all, the final shot of the series. Buffy smiling because the weight of the world no longer rests solely on her shoulders is, dare I say it, the perfect way to end it? We've watched Buffy struggle with being the only slayer since the pilot, so for her to still get to do what she loves but also get to share that burden with hundreds of others felt wonderful. When Dawn asks, "What are we going to do now," it's the first time Buffy's ever really had a choice in the matter. Her life is now changed ... for the better.
The one downside of that finale was definitely Anya's barely-there death. Thank god I didn't look away for that split second! To me, if you're going to kill someone that quickly, they need to be one of a few. For example, a montage of Anya, then Xander, then Andrew or Faith dying? That would've worked in a very different, very devastating way. But to have Anya really be the only person to not make it out alive felt like she deserved more than a half-second farewell.
All in all, the final season was better than I expected, once it got going. And I was pleased with that finale. I'm walking away from Buffy feeling satisfied and, most importantly, finally understanding why this show made the impact that it did.
Last but not least, some final superlatives:
Best Andrew line (about the First's hooded minions): "They're very mobile for blind people."
Best Giles line: "You think I'm evil if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and DON'T touch them?"
Worst outfit choice: Buffy showing up to the fight of her life in a blazer and heels.
Favorite episode: That finale. Duh.
- Binging Buffy: Once more with disappointment in season 6
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- Binging Buffy: The highs and lows of season 4
- Binging Buffy: Having faith in season 3
- Binging Buffy: Feeling passionate about season 2
- Binging Buffy The stakes of watching season 1 for the first time
Buffy the Vampire Slayer