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May 22 2003

The end of Buffy - a conservative, Catholic view The National Review, leading magazine of right-wing politics, offers up its thoughts on "Chosen."

There's less analysis of the show's feminist themes than you'd expect - and no mention at all of the way some left-wing magazines have used the show as a metaphor for everything.

As it should be.

I don't get how anyone didn't like "Chosen" - I just thought it was wonderful.
Plot holes you could drive a bus through. Lack of resolution to several key plot points laid earlier in the season.

I could go on...

....and I kinda liked it.
What were the plot holes? I get the lack of resolution to the key things earlier in the season, but that's more a problem with the season as a whole than any one episode within it, in my opinion. Which, as ever, is very possibly wrong.
Plot Holes/Loose Threads:
- Ubervamps have been shown to be a serious challenge for Buffy at the top of her form, but now it seems they are not a challenge for anyone. Even the rest of the Scoobies can hold them off.

- What is that seal? Why did only one Ubervamp come out of it before? Why has it not played any role in the other battles at the Hellmouth? What was the First waiting for before unleashing its armies?

- Why doesn't the First simply use the hellmouth in Cleavland to avoid complications with Slayer resistance? Why, when you are going to overrun the earth with powerful demons, is it important to kill potential slayers? How, in any meaningful way, has the First been defeated? Why was the First moving to attack at this point in time? (The Eye tells us it has something to do with Buffy). Based on what was shown I can only assume at any time in history it could have assembled an army of evil an gotten the Harbingers to open a hellmouth or seal or whatever.

- Why didn't they concentrate their forces at the bottleneck for Ubervamps, the Seal?

- Why didn't they use some explosives or construction equipment (Xander being a construction guy) to expose the Seal to direct sunlight? Are Ubervamps dumb enough to be fooled by filing cabinets blocking doors?

- Where did the Bringers come from in the climactic battle? Were they having coffee in the Quad?

- Why did Willow have no problems with her Magic whatsoever?
"Ubervamps have been shown to be a serious challenge for Buffy at the top of her form, but now it seems they are not a challenge for anyone. Even the rest of the Scoobies can hold them off."

Now they learned about them them and they know how to fight them.

"Why doesn't the First simply use the hellmouth in Cleavland to avoid complications with Slayer resistance? Why, when you are going to overrun the earth with powerful demons, is it important to kill potential slayers? How, in any meaningful way, has the First been defeated? Why was the First moving to attack at this point in time? (The Eye tells us it has something to do with Buffy). Based on what was shown I can only assume at any time in history it could have assembled an army of evil an gotten the Harbingers to open a hellmouth or seal or whatever."

This has been explained, but I don't want to go into details.
Rewatch "Bring on the Night" through "Potential."

"Why didn't they concentrate their forces at the bottleneck for Ubervamps, the Seal?"

They weren't aware how many there were.

"Why didn't they use some explosives or construction equipment (Xander being a construction guy) to expose the Seal to direct sunlight? Are Ubervamps dumb enough to be fooled by filing cabinets blocking doors?"

Maybe they lacked the money for explosives, or couldn't get them in town. Also, I don't think this would expose anything, since it is a hellmouth.

"Where did the Bringers come from in the climactic battle? Were they having coffee in the Quad?"

The bringers are wherever they need to be.

"Why did Willow have no problems with her Magic whatsoever?"

The Scythe.

Most of your questions would be answered if you rewatched this season, or just thought logically about your questions.
It's probably safe to say that the first ubervamp released was merging with the first, ala Caleb.
Lack of resolution? I prefer to think of it as the potential plotlines for a film, in the future...
...manages to consort with even darker magic without any negative consequences.

Spin, much? Whoa -- I'm so conservative that I tape all Buffys and watch them after my kids are asleep, and this article made me twitch. What it lacks in quote-driven accuracy in makes up for in slant, all to come to the conclusion that Whedon certainly lost his touch in the last episode, but that does not diminish the remarkable dramatic achievements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer over seven seasons.

That seems like a backhanded self-serving apologistic insult, so I guess the real issue I have is, who is this person writing to? He seems to be tempting his readers to experience the good that is Buffy, while warning them off with the nastiest combination of images he can loom.

I'll continue to enjoy the recent tribute article-fest, but I won't recommend this article to anyone. Too wishy-washy for my blood.
Invisible Green,

I'm a big apreciator of condescention, but that doesn't mean I accept it as good form in an argument.

1) It wasn't a matter of knowledge, it was a matter of power. The Ubervamp is superstrong, with a nearly invulnerable chest plate. The conditions were just right the first time, I'm not about to believe they found a copy of "Turok-Han for Dummies" in the intermidiate time periods.

2) I, as all of us do, do have convenient access to the relevant episodes. A superficial glance of the episodes (mostly based on a search for "first", gave me no further insight. I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time answering a rebuttal you didn't bother to actualy make, but I really would like to know more about your take on this, if you've got the time.

3) A bottleneck is always usefull to battle an evil army, and indeed the usefullness of it goes up exponentially as the size of the evil army increases. You have no point here.

4) The seal was on top of the hellmouth, in the basement of the school. Unless there was a mystical anti-sun shield, again you have no point. - and where was the seal during prior hellmouth encounters?

5) You may be fine with unexplained - and mostly useless (a ubervamp could have killed Anya just fine) - plot points, but I'm not.

6) I'm so glad all of the trepidation Willow had over magic - and her displayed problems with it - were completely ignored to be explained away with a your theory that while plausable was not demonstrated in the actual show. Of course, the actual logic of being able to change the slayer lineage was also left out. I've managed to also infer something sensible out of what we were given, but I find needing to fill in the blanks myself one of the problems with the show.

Conclusion: Until its in repeats or on DVD, how can I rewatch the season? An unfair request on your part. I look forward to watching this when it comes out on DVD to see what pieces tie together better than I remember on first viewing. But doing a poor job at tieing together the pieces and just plain leaving things out are nearly equivalent in my view when it comes to critiquing this season.
My long-winded comments started in reply to a question: How could anyone not like "Chosen"? And you know what, I *did* like it. But at the end, an evaluation of Season 7 gets attached to it by association. It was the punctuation to end the sentence.

So I would like to say that Chosen was a super-fun episode to watch. Lots of great and touching things.
I'm with Invisible Green on pretty much all points...I find it amusing that so many Buffy fans love every season except the one they happen to be living through...my wife and I taped every episode of season 7, and will begin watching the whole saga this weekend...I thought Chosen was spectacular, as a season ender and especially as a series ender..."We changed the world"...not just saved it, changed it...extremely satisfying...
Like Chris, I always tape the season in whole and then re-watch it in the summer. I find it absolutely essential in understanding the densely woven themes & plot points that make up a Buffy season.

I guess Joss could take four or five minutes out of the finale to come on screen and explain every plot point or theme that may have confused any random viewer but it would be kinda boring.
Most of my points were merely speculated ideas or logical explanations. I tape every episode so I can rewatch. The dialogue is often so quick and witty that even after four times viewing, I still haven't picked up on every line. But on the most confusing or illogical-seeming episodes, it is very helpful to watch twice. In fact, I simarly missed out on plot points in "Chosen" until I reviewed.

Hopefully, your questions will be answered in reruns or transcripts.
Apotheos- The Cleveland hellmouth thing was a reference to "The Wish"
Firstly: I don't understand the reference with this article to Catholicism.

Secondly: Has this guy ever watched the shows? Or just the TV Guide synopsis?
He says,"BtVS has always been about unanticipated consequences, about limitations, cost, loss, sacrifice, and atonement."

WRONG!
I always believed BtVS was about friendship, love, support, trust, teamwork, etc. By the final episode Buffy finally got it. Buffy realizes she never was alone (the Guardians AND her friends & past-lovers & new-found slayer-hood)and did not ever have to feel alone again.

Thirdly: I don't understand why viewers look for plot holes. Its Fiction! It can be whatever our imaginations let it be. Do you need every detail spelled out? Exercise your imagination! Try reading a book, maybe.
If every question was always answered it would never be a continuing story.
If you want a compact show with conflict and resolution tied up neatly in 30 minutes or an hour try the Brady Bunch or Father Knows Best.

Finally: The show was never a window to reality. Example: In the real world Buffy would have seen a doctor and taken meds for her post-resurrection-depression, rather than just waiting to be happy again.

I worry about that "dark place" that Joss Whedon says this all came from. I will continue to pray he finds peace. I thank the Great Creator for Whedon who created this hour/week of unique, entertaining & empowering program. I also kinda pray he writes a mini-series about BtVS first!
Sincerely,
Another Conservative Catholic, in complete disagreement with the author of the above mentioned article.
"I don't understand why viewers look for plot holes."

I don't think viewers LOOK for plot holes. Viewers see a story, invest in it, and want to see the outcome. When it doesn't come, they're disappointed. Ultimately, the mythology of BtVS lent itself to extreme devotion (more than ordinary TV) - and viewers end up caring as much or perhaps more about it than its creators.
Prolific

While I agree with you in principle, I do think a number of fans seem to exhibit little to no imagination when it comes to the storytelling. These fans always take the view that something they don't immeadiatly understand (sometimes simply because they can't seem to remember previous episodes) is wrong or a mistake and procede to beat there chests about. I don't think Apotheos is guilty of this above but we have all seen it quite often.
Another conservative Catholic here (!)...two, actually, counting my Ph.D. economist wife...and we are regularly amazed by the Christian imagery that percolates throughout the Buffyverse...here's just one example...in the final episode of season 5 (the Glory saga)Buffy goes to her death...a death she freely accepted...so that the world might be saved...and as she launched into her perfect swan dive off the tower, her body forms a perfect cross...and she dies, so that others might live...there's lots and lots and lots more...Joss may not profess to any faith, but he sure does seem to understand at least one pretty well...
I didn't go looking for plot holes, they found me. Thats rather the problem with this season on Buffy. I don't think I've ever seen criticisms relating to plot devices before - its always been about preference. (Not liking what Dawn is doing, not liking how Buffy is behaving. All very subjective). I'm feeling there are some objective things here.

I'm a well educated, easy going, non-addict, never-would-archive-a-TV-show, kinda guy. There are some logical problems here that beg discussion, and perhaps someday resolution. While I can enjoy the pure fun-factor for "Chosen", that doesn't mean I don't want to discuss, and perhaps discover new things, about these "bumps" in the road.

But perhaps that is a discussion for another time and place.

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