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April 30 2010

The Perfect Episode to End With. TWOP says: The Gift, in a series of slides discussing perfect ending episodes for various shows.

season 6 and 7 were two of my favourite seasons.. so I disagree.
I loved many things about S6 and certain episodes of S7 and wouldn't wish those seasons away, for sure - I am always on the side of More Buffy, please! But I do think The Gift would have been an amazing series-ender.
But I have to agree with catherine, I think the full season arc style of storytelling lends itself to terrific season finales. The end of The Gift was easily my favorite and could have been a great series finale...but not at the cost of losing S6 and S7. (Maybe the next time I watch, I'll put them in the "correct order.")

Has any other show ended with the death of the main character? I'm sure it must have been done before. Anyone know?
Well, I don't know of any shows that ended with the main character's death, but Supernatural Season 3 ended with Dean dying and going to hell and then crawling out of his grave Buffy style in the Season 4 premiere.

I wouldn't trade Seasons 6 and 7 for anything, despite some of the issues I have with them; I still love them. So many great eps! I think I prefer Chosen as a series ending anyway, though I LOVE 'The Gift' aswell.
@alexreager The only show I can think of, off the top of my head, is "Blakes 7", where the majority of the remaining cast are killed before our eyes, leaving one survivor, who is almost certainly taken down by the hail of shots which then sound over the final credits.
Yeah, they're right. Seasons 6 and 7 weren't Buffy, despite OMWF. Season 7 in particular is so bad it's unwatchable, except for the finale and 2/3s of "Conversations with Dead People".
The Gift would be an amazing series finale, it's true. But there's too much I love about season 6 and 7...I do think the overall quality of the plot suffered in those seasons, but there's excellent episodes, character arcs, and Chosen does some great stuff. Some of my favourite episodes are in those no.
dispatch, you didn't like any of the early eps (at the very least, Anya's ep, "Selfless" ?), or "The Killer In Me", in Season 7 ? (only issue I have with "The Killer In Me" is the lack of exploration or understanding of how/why Amy went bad. A lot of good fan speculation on the turn, most of it having to do with crazy-from-too-much-time-spent-as-rat and rejection-by-Willow, or the "darker magic" getting the better of her some time off-screen and making her a prime candidate for First Evil recruitment, but even Season 8 hasn't provided any solid info so far, despite featuring her as a main, recurring villain). I'm normally the last person to defend Season 7, but it does have its good points.

No issues with Season 6, aside from magic-addiction-Willow and elements of the 2-part finale.

I wouldn't end the show at Season 5, would barely change a thing about Season 6, but Season 7 could've gone better.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-04-30 16:01 ]
I definitely had some issues with Season 7, but that is NOT to say that it shouldn't have ever aired. There were some truly great episodes and some wonderful storytelling. Season 6 I loved, despite of, and sometimes because of its darkness. I think that the entire series has merit, as a cohesive whole, although I might omit bits of Season 4, myself. ;)
I could never understand how you could finish a story about, among other themes, growing up, killing the central character. This is it, boys; you grow up and then... ups. Its like a joke.
Love season 6 and found season 7 to be very enjoyable, particularly after a rewatch. So, like others, I wouldn't want them to have ended the series at 5. It is a really great finale, but I also found that the Season 7 finale to be fantastic. The message of the whole piece, to share your power, is one of the most moving and powerful endings to a show I have ever seen.

As for a couple of other things on their list, I got very little hate for BSG finale. The only element I would like to have seen more of was the Kara story, which was left very unresolved (I expect the whole seeing dead people/angels story may well get more attention in Caprica though.) The other elements I really don't see why there is such hatred. Abandoning tech? Well, not exactly the most realistic ending, but it served the symbolic purpose, same goes for the closing montage. I also loved the scenes between Adama and Roslin. The "this has happened before and will happen again" element played out well with the revelations of who Hera was too.

I completely disagree with their dig at the 'Seinfeld' finale. Easily one of the best endings to a show ever. To really highlight how nasty and unpleasant these characters we had all been rooting for was a real masterstroke. The 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' reunion episodes were brilliant though and I'm not sure whether another season could live up to that.

Is season 5 of 'How I Met Your Mother' not very good? Currently in the middle of watching season 4 (just had the episode were Barney and Marshal are texting Ted, pretending to be a girl he met in the bar,) and it really is one of my favourite US sitcoms. Hope the piece is exaggerating the dip in quality.

@alexreger - It is odd, but I can't really think of any, bar the already mentioned 'Blake's 7'. I'm sure there must be loads.

The only other one I can think of is 'Life on Mars', where it ends with Sam Tyler jumping off the top of a building, as he decides to live in the imaginary world instead of the real one. You do see him back in the past at the end, but it is left unclear whether he is dead or just in a coma in the real world. I can't really remember how 'Ashes to Ashes' explains it, but he is dead in both timelines at the start of the spin-off.
What about Six Feet Under? They kill off the main brother like 3 episodes before the series finale. And then we get to see all of our beloved characters die with Claire biting the dust at the end.
I love S6 almost more than any other - such astonishing, brave work and amazing performances. S7 may have the annoying Potentials, but who would be without LMPTM? No, The Gift is wonderful, but thank Joss he didn't stop there.
@alexreger-Xena:Warrior Princess ended with the death of Xena. And it's ambiguous but Vorenus may have died in the last episode of Rome. Can't think of any others off the top of my head.
Wow, couldn't disagree more. I love S6, after S5 it's my favourite. S7 does have some serious flaws but it's certainly not all bad. And as ends of series go, I much prefer Buffy smiling, full of hope and possibility, to Buffy killing/sacrificing herself.

ETA: Also disagree with The OC, but to a lesser extent as S4 is great but then again S2 & 3 were terrible after a perfect S1.

As for HIMYM, I'm also watching E4 pace and in the middle of S4 and have found there has been a decline in quality so bit worried about getting to S5 now.

[ edited by Leaf on 2010-04-30 19:03 ]
S6 and S7 together are my favorite years of btvs, so there's that reason for me to disagree that 'the gift' is a better series finale. but there's also: the way S5 ends is so hopeless, which even according to joss on the S7 commentaries, is not the point of the show (hence the core 4 surviving through S7).

obviously, whedon and camp were perfectly able to do S6 and then S7 in comic book form if the need had been, so it's not like the story line would not have continued as it did anyway. but i for one am so happy that we are able to see the final battle in live action form, complete with giles doubting the fate of the world, goddess willow, buffy telling the first to get out of her face, kennedy getting use to it, vi slicing and dicing, rona fighting one handed, anya getting juiced by the thought of bunnies, andrew's swimmer's ear acting up, xander and dawn sunlighting uber vamps, faith using the scythe, hundreds and hundreds of turok-han, spike's incineration and wood's surprise, all to the beat of robert duncan's, 'chosen'.

good, post season five, times.
I seem to remember joss coming on whedonesque and actually posting about the season 5 finale a few years ago, as we were having a disagreement about its dramatic intentions on this fine website... I can't fully remember what he said, but it was along the lines of Buffy's a hero, it wasn't suicide death, and heroes never die.
I remember being out of the internet loop during season five and I reacted to the final scenes of "The Gift" as though it was the series ender (I think I truly thought it was because we saw her grave. How could the show go on after Buffy died? Evidently, I hadn't caught on to her penchant for returning from the dead). Sitting alone, I cried my eyes out for a solid hour or so after that and was depressed for days, but came to the conclusion that it was a superior series' ender and I was satisfied with the reasons for Buffy's death.

Somewhere along the line (though I don't remember how soon after) I saw an ad on UPN for Buffy's return and I rejoiced but still couldn't figure out how they would be able to bring her back! I love many episodes in season 6 and most all of season 7, but I can certainly see arguing for "The Gift" as the perfect series' ender.
From a Marti Noxon interview conducted in 2001.

We have said, I think, that Buffy would never go beyond five seasons. Originally Jossís plan was that at the end of Season Five, Sunnydale was going to get sucked into the Hellmouth and that was going to be the end of it.

Odd. I was talking to a friend about this yesterday.
I would have greatly preferred the show end with The Gift. There were some great episodes afterwards in season six to be sure (and even season seven had one classic in Conversations With Dead People) but the overall character arcs just went off the rails for me after season five. (Not to mention that we got two really mediocre Big Bads in "Snark Willow" and "The First of a Long Series of Annoying Speeches".) Just about every major change that happened for the main characters in seasons six and seven felt forced and artificial, and for me at least, seasons six and seven destroyed Buffy Summers' character. In season six I found her self-absorbed and tedious; in season seven I actively disliked her and just wanted her to please go away. (In Season eight I think I might actually enter the comic book and join the bad guys and try to find a way to kill her.) And she had once been my favorite character from the show, bar none.

And of course, we lost Tara.

[ edited by Hellmouthguy on 2010-04-30 21:23 ]
I never found Tara that interesting. I thought her scenes with Buffy in season 6 were great but I always considered Anya to be the better later Scoobie.
I really enjoyed Anya's character development and while I agree that I felt less close to Buffy in the last seasons a) I mean...did you see all the shit she went through? and b) a lot of people at that age can get pretty self-absorbed. It's part of finding yourself and becoming adult. See: Willow.

Also, I didn't find Tara incredibly interesting but I did care for her a great deal, which I thought was a great trick by Amber and the writers. She was always somewhat distant but I loved every time she interacted with Buffy.

[ edited by marvelknight616 on 2010-04-30 22:00 ]

[ edited by marvelknight616 on 2010-04-30 22:00 ]
IMO, Tara, a character I really cared for and enjoyed, was horribly underwritten much of the time. She had some terrific moments, including some great scenes in one of my most favorite episodes, "New Moon Rising," but far too often she was consigned to the Season Three Oz role of either echoing what other characters had already said (especially Willow) or, occasionally, asking a key question that would provoke some exposition or action. You couldn't have given her Anya-type one-liners, sure, but her dialogue could have been a little less generic, and a little more "what's unique about Tara," I always felt.

As for "The Gift": for me it's almost a perfect episode of the show, but I'm awfully glad it didn't end there.
Considering that not only is season six my favourite year (though, yes, it has big problems) but I think season five (and four) had huge, huge amounts of foreshadowing and setup building to season six and seven--I'm thinking the darkening of Willow, the lightening of Spike, the setting up of Xander/Anya as both a genuine and a "convenient" relationship, and Buffy's growing disconnect from her humanity--I think "The Gift" would not only be not a great place to end but emphatically the wrong one. I would still love the show if it had ended with "The Gift" but there's patterns and arcs that would be incomplete there, and while season seven stumbled a lot in bringing characters to their conclusions it at least gestured to where those conclusions really should be. But yeah--I love the story so much more for bringing the characters to the dark place, and while, yes, there were a few punches pulled in season six, I still feel that all the characters' arcs (well, not Dawn's--I love Dawn but she's most useful in season six as an appendage to Buffy, and a missing one) hold together overall. (Yes, even Willow's. But that's a looooooong argument.)

"The Gift" is near-perfect for what it is (well, blah blah blah plot holes blah blah blah *I don't care*) but it's a heroic ending begging to be subverted by the genuine difficulty of real life. Buffy, like us, can't quite get out that easily, and the fact that she's a genuine hero doesn't mean she should get to. Plus, season six is where Tara really came alive for me (though she has spark in Joss' season five episodes and season four as well).

ETA: On their other choices, I actually tend to agree about Veronica Mars because season three didn't work for me, but there are people who prefer season three to season two. I have big problems with "Daybreak, Part II" even before the last hour (BSG), but definitely excising the coda would let me feel more favourable towards it. Ending The Office at the end of the Michael Scott Paper Company arc strikes me as premature, though I too have been disappointed by season six. (At the very least, I would absolutely want to keep the last few episodes of season five, which were wonderful, and I liked the wedding and childbirth episodes in S6.)

The advantage about all these though, is that in a sense you can always perform personal surgery on the show you love. It makes it difficult with discussions for other fans, the memories are still there, and you may lose respect for the creative team. But...I'm willing to accept the existence of Veronica Mars' third season if it means that other VM fans who enjoyed it can have it, while I can just stick to seasons one and two.

Oh, right, and "Chuck vs. the Other Guy?" Really? I've never been a big Chuck fan, and watch the show only for mild amusement, but I found the episode poor and silly. Oh well.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-05-01 01:01 ]
WilliamTheB, I should have known as soon as I started reading that comment and thinking, "Wow. This person is articulating exactly how I feel about S6!" that you were the one writing it. Thank you!

And what do you know--I agree with you about VMars, too. S3 didn't work for me (though I actually did like the finale, because in so many ways, the show had come full circle...though that would be a legitimate reason to dislike it as well), so I would have been okay with it ending with S2, but I'm glad the rest of it exists for those who love it.
Ha, Lirazel, it's cool that we can be each other's Whedonesque fan clubs.

Up until about halfway through the VM series finale (spoilers, Whedonesquers), I was thinking, "Bad, bad, bad." I didn't care for the Veronica/Piz or Logan/Parker scenes, and I was annoyed by the big pictures of Duncan and Lily because I thought they were exploiting parts of the show's emotional resonance and history to little actual effect. And then around the midpoint, Veronica got Wallace and Mac and Weevil to help, and then Logan got his moment of quasi-redemption in Veronica's eyes ("You're a dead man!" "Yeah, some day"). And then the moment in the rain at the end, with "It never rains in Southern California" on the soundtrack.... Yeah. So yeah, I approve of your finale-like.
It's quite fun, isn't it?

I'm exactly with you on not liking it halfway through. But then things changed. And just think of the many ways it came full circle--(it's implied that) Keith has lost his job as sheriff in a scandal, Logan and Veronica are back to being "enemies" (though that look they gave each other in the cafeteria hints at things to come, which is as it should be, as I don't think those two will ever get over each other), Veronica is once again the subject of sexual rumors (that's one thing I didn't like, though it does add to the cyclical nature of the episode) and something of an outcast herself, Jake Kane and Clarence Wiedman are back with those pictures of Lily and Duncan, and Veronica's got Wallace (plus bonus Mac and Weevil). It's very "This is where we started from."

And that final shot with the soundtrack is fantastic.
Re: Veronica Mars--I kind of wanted to see that "Veronica in the FBI" show they did a mini-pilot for. Looked like fun. Plus it had Walton Goggins.
I was told not to bother with S3 of VM, so I didn't -- but I was still intrigued. So I went ahead and spoiled myself here. Makes me kinda want to see the finale, just to polish off. And I heard about the pilot for the new show, and that sounded cool too.

I pretty much knew Logan and Veronica would break up, again, epic love being what it is... but yeah, they'll never be totally done with each other.

On the subject of BtVS: we can, and shall, argue forever over S6 and S7 -- epic love being what it is. I've said it before and I'll say it again, however: Buffy in S6 is going through classical, straight-up depression. Self-absorbed? Well, yeah, anyone who's been that traumatized (and it's not just her death that did the damage) has to get a little self-absorbed just to stay intact. It's not pretty because depression isn't pretty. But the story shows us how she gradually comes back from it. And that's a story a lot of people needed to see.

A lot of gay and lesbian kids needed to see Willow and Tara, yeah? Well, I needed to see Buffy go through all that shit and survive.

S7 is about slayers. Faith had to come back. Potentials had to be explored. And we all needed to hear Buffy ask that still-amazing question: "Are you ready to be strong?"
The problem with seasons 6 and 7 wasn't the events, it was the execution. It was totally off, starting with the very first episode of 6, the two-parter. When Buffy came back from the grave, they all stood around and looked at her and talked amongst themselves. Huh? The characters I knew would have run and hugged her.

That was the first sign that the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer was no longer Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Joss may have approved the plot points but they were not executed in a genuine way. It was not the same show from then on. All the parts existed but they no longer made a whole.
Buffy spent the previous seven years feeling pummeled by the fact that she was the Slayer--it cost her lovers, friends, family. She had to watch people die. She was suicidal over it for awhile, catatonic once, even. As late as season six she nearly killed her friends because the fantasy of actually being a normal girl to whom the Slayer was merely a delusion was still so enticing to her. Being the Slayer robbed Buffy of a normal life and she spent most of seven years trying to get away from it, or at the very least to find a way to peacefully coexist with it. She never did manage it. She eventually stopped trying to live a normal life. She eventually stopped trying to date normal men and settled for vampires. She stopped attempting to widen her circle of friends outside of the people who shared the fight. Being the Slayer, to Buffy, wasn't a blessing but a burden she bore. And then one day, at the end of season seven, Buffy decided to force that burden--that burden which had made her so unrelentingly miserable for so long--on 2000 other girls who were not only not given a choice in the matter, they weren't even consulted. The statement shouldn't have been "Are you ready to be strong?" It should have been "Ready or not, I am forcing this on you." Instead of Buffy finally coming to terms with who she is, which is what the previous seven years of the show were actually about, she copped out and passed the buck. I don't think the First Slayer, as she was being brutalized by the First Watchers, felt particularly "strong". I think she felt like something was being forced on her. And that's exactly what Buffy did to all those potentials, no matter how cute they looked hitting a baseball. It was an inversion of the show's central theme. At the very end, when Faith asks Buffy how it feels to not be the one and only Slayer anymore and Buffy smiles, I couldn't help but get the impression that she was thinking, "I finally managed to give this burden away to someone else. Let them carry it."
A world of no, since season 6 is my favorite and Season 7 is really under-rated, IMO.
The entire series would have been diminished, without the dark journey of season 6 and the redemption journey of the final season. Sure Buffy got irritating, that was part of her ongoing character development. It wasn't as easy as she thought it would be, after the trials of season 6. Ongoing excellent character development all around in season 7 - especially Spike, Faith, and Dawn growing up (I've never understood the Dawn hate).

There were some problems with execution, but I loved the actual story arc - the whole idea of the power sharing, the revelation of the origin of the first slayer and especially, the activation of the scythe and how it was linked to Willow's redemption through re-connecting with positive magic. The most distinctly feminist season - which may not matter to everyone, but definitely does to me.

As for BSG, the two part series finale is my favorite of any series, ever. I can't imagine losing the last half of the final ep. And I really believe that a lot of people took a lot of it way too literally. I mean "This has all happened before and it will all happen again" - what more do you need to understand that this was about epic myth and not "religion", per se.
I liked the season 7 finale better than the season 5 finale so I will have to disagree. The moment when the potentials become slayers, and the scoobies looking at a destroyed Sunnydale, are 2 of my favorite moments from Buffy.
@Helmouthguy Being the Slayer, to Buffy, wasn't a blessing but a burden she bore.
Being *the* Slayer was a burden but if S7 shows us anything it's not the superstrength and the ability to save people from unspeakable demons that's the burden part, it's being the only one. It's being the one to whom all the life and death decisions devolve to, the one whose failure means the world goes to hell, the one girl in all the world to know what that means. Separated from all who went before her and any who might follow her. Then you have the potentials doomed to dream the dreams but never realise them. Buffy changed all that. The newly called Slayers won't be alone, they'll have each other. No single one of them will have to be just a Slayer, they can share out the burden, live other lives as well, not be defined by their duty. I think Buffy smiles not because she won't have to slay any more but because no one girl will be forced to ever again.

[ edited by hayes62 on 2010-05-01 23:40 ]
As for BSG, the two part series finale is my favorite of any series, ever. I can't imagine losing the last half of the final ep. And I really believe that a lot of people took a lot of it way too literally.

I'm not sure whether I agree that it would be my favourite ending to any series - I would have to watch it a couple more times along with the series as a whole to really come to that conclusion - but I do completely agree that people take it far too literally. Coming into the final episodes, I was expecting the ending to be actually offensive in someway, the hatred I had read on it had been so much. People were saying that the ending destroyed the series they had previously loved and that they wouldn't even bother trying Caprica because of it!

What it actually came down to was some of the questions not being answered in a nice little package. People wanted to know whether everything that was happening was happening due to "God", whether that be an alien force or an actual omnipotent power; they wanted know whether that was actually Kara. Instead, they got an ending that didn't answer these questions and got angry about it.

There is this strange thing about sci-fi fans that they seem to demand logic in their programmes, and yet the strongest aspect of sci-fi is its ability to work metaphorically. The reaction of fans to Lee's decision to abandon tech at the end Daybreak is a perfect example of this.

I think I made this comment somewhere on here a few days ago, but I'll say it again, if you really think the ending to BSG is inconclusive and a spit in the face of the fans, then take a look at the final episode of the original series of The Prisoner. Pretty much none of that whole episode makes any kind of logical sense and caused a completely uproar when it originally aired, so much so that the writer and star, Patrick McGoohan, had to go into hiding. Suffice to say, I loved that ending too.
dispatch, our heroes had lived in Sunnydale for years before Buffy crawled out of her grave... and they'd be naturally leery of anything that does that. Especially in light of S5's "Forever." And my memory is a bit patchy, but I seem to remember one of them (Xander?) trying to hug her, and her reacting badly.

Hellmouthguy, I think that hayes62 put it well, but there's more. Of course there are some problems with handing power to a whole bunch of girls, many of whom may not have wanted it, but the whole point of the show was the empowerment of women. There may have been other possible endings for the show... but only until Joss & Co. dreamed up the ending we got. Once someone envisioned the empowerment of not just one girl but lots of them, there was no other conceivable way to end the show.

No one asked the girls in the montage if they wanted to be strong. No one asked them if they wanted to be weak, either, but that's probably what they'd gotten before.
dispatch - When Buffy came back from the grave, they all stood around and looked at her and talked amongst themselves. Huh? The characters I knew would have run and hugged her.

I believe that's the point. Watching them fall apart. Watching them all hit rock bottom. Watching them all drift away from each other, like what often happens in real life once you move on from high school or college. It was heart-wrenching because it was supposed to be. I love that the show had the guts to go there.

Now, I think the show could have done a slightly better job in S7 rebuilding those relationships after they fell apart--I thought it did do a good job with Xander and Buffy, and an okay one with Buffy and Willow, but there should have been more focus on Xander and Willow and on Giles not acting in such a way that it made me sort of hate him where he'd been one of my favorites earlier on.

But those are S7's problems, and even though there are a lot of things I love about S7, I'd be the first to admit that it's got loads of problems.

ManEnoughtoAdmitIt, thank you so much for your comments. I've watched the majority of my close family members struggle with clinical depression, and with the intense history of it in my family, as well as my own personality type (I'm introverted and struggle with connecting with people, just like later-season!Buffy, and I tend to have very extreme emotions), there's no doubt in my mind that one day I'll struggle with it, too. The fact that Buffy, my hero, has been there and done that and made it through does bring me a lot of strength. And Joss has said that he wants his stories to be about bringing people strength. For me, at least, in S6, Buffy's story accomplishes exactly that.
ITA with hayes' comment re: "Chosen," so I won't bother repeating it.

Re: "the characters I knew would have hugged her," I think the characters I knew would be scared out of their minds to see Buffy, their hero and driving force, basically traumatized, especially when they had just been convinced that the resurrection didn't work. They're simply scared out of their minds by Buffy and what she represents right now, and they are for the entirety of season six, hence the distance, the failure to connect. And for their part, the Scoobies are scared out of their minds with regards to Willow's magic, and the car crash waiting to happen of Xander & Anya, etc. It's all very out of mind, out of sight, never more obviously than in "Gone," where Willow getting rid of any trace of magic in the house to try to pretend her problem can be resolved this way (it blows up in everyone's faces in "Seeing Red") and Buffy goes to Spike's crypt because she knows no one can see her there, and Xander ignores evidence right in front of his face because Buffy and Spike together is too scary to deal with. If you're attached to a view of the Scoobies as heroes who don't screw up (or, if you wish, as heroes who screw up but not on the level they do this year), then yes, the year is awful; but for me this season makes them all so much more human and, by extension, that much more heroic for what they are able to get past.

And again, Lirazel, yes--personal experiences are often the key. I understood and connected with season six/seven Buffy (and season five Buffy, which I see six-seven as an extension of) way more than I had before. That Buffy could get through that means I can too, etc., etc., etc. (And I agree on the "full circle" business with VM--I hadn't thought about how the sexual rumours were a connection to the pilot and not just a retread.) And how I wish S7 did a better job of rebuilding all those relationships, but, well, if wishes were horses....

ETA: Re: the BSG finale, I'm not clear on what the metaphor is supposed to be of the final decision by Lee. This isn't snark, I don't really get it. The robot montage at the end of the episode seems to suggest that at least on a surface level the show is espousing the "technology BAD!" view which seems to be the weakest and simplest of the series' messages.

[ edited by WilliamTheB on 2010-05-01 18:28 ]
but for me this season makes them all so much more human and, by extension, that much more heroic for what they are able to get past.

Yes, I do tend to see S5!Buffy as an extension of S6/7 Buffy, especially in retrospect: nearly everything she's going to go through in the later two seasons, emotionally-speaking, is laid out in S5 (I'm now thinking particularly of "Spiral," with her in the RV--getting impatient with the complaints of the Scoobies, going back into the back by herself, etc. It's definitely deeply connected to S6/7). The first time through, I didn't see it as much because I was watching really, really quickly and it didn't hit me in the face as blatantly as it did in S6.

I think one of the most interesting things for me in Buffy's arc all through the series is watching her become more of an introvert. It's been a while since I've watched the earlier seasons of the show all the way through (as opposed to scattered episodes here and there), but I wouldn't describe her as an introvert at the beginning. She seems to me to be on the line between, neither one of those people who must be around others all the time or one of those people who craves solitude. She seems to me to be someone who gets different kinds of energy from company/solitude, though I'd probably lean a bit towards the extrovert, meaning one who gets emotional energy from being around other people.

The later seasons, starting in S5 particularly and going through to the end, show her becoming more and more introverted. And I'm not really talking about isolation, really, though that certainly has a lot to do with it. I'm talking about needing solitude in order to energize, as well as the realization that she is most herself when she is alone (when she tells Spike, "I can be alone with you here," for me as an introvert, that's one of the most powerful and important things you can tell another person: what it means for me is, "I can be myself with you here."). It's something I can relate to, as someone who finds being around other people I like (usually) enjoyable but deeply draining, who has very close friendships but doesn't feel the need to be around those friends constantly in order to maintain those friends, and who feels most like myself when I'm alone.

Some people might think of that as a regression. I don't think that's necessarily the case. Introversion and extroversion are not moral judgments: one is not better than the other. (Though our society tends to tell us that extroversion is better because 75% of people are extroverts.) The introversion itself is not Buffy's problem. How she reacts to it is. But wanting to be alone, not going out and making loads of new friends, only wanting to spend limited amounts of time with people she does love: those aren't bad things. I understand Buffy's reactions to the Potentials, for instance: it seems to me as though she cares about them very, very deeply, but she can't often be around them, she can't make small talk, she can't be warm with them. Should she have learned more of their names? Well, yes, probably. But she's willing to give her life to protect them, and that, I think, is far more evidence of love than if she'd been weeping over their plight or making early-Scooby kinds of jokes with them, which I think a lot of people seem to want.

I wonder if perhaps the people who can no longer relate to her in the later seasons and feel that she becomes a bad person tend to be extroverted and don't understand her anymore? Just a theory, and not one I'm married to.

Oh, and I totally agree with you, WilliamTheB, about the "technology BAD!" thing. I thought that was stupid. A decision like that would only last until the first winter or the first outbreak of the flu or something--you're going to want heaters, you're going to want medicine, and to deny that seems really dumb to me. Technology is just like anything else: it can be used for great evil or great good. It's all about how people use it.
Yay introversion talk! (Sorry that you and I seem to have seized this thread. Introverts like to talk lots.) I definitely saw myself in the Buffy of later seasons, not quite able to deal with the pressure placed on others to be happy with them. The feeling that because she doesn't always want to be with the Scoobies, there is something wrong with her, is something it takes Buffy a very long time to get across, and indeed the Scoobies take a very long time to accept it.

Somehow, I was thinking about the Buffy & Willow ending scene in "Same Time, Same Place," as a way Buffy can best relate to her friends in season seven: quietly, without words, but with great love.
Yeah, we're going on, aren't we?

...I...may be working on a massive piece of meta now called "Buffy, Solitude, Isolation, and Introversion," inspired by my rambling thoughts in this thread. Ha! We'll see if anything comes of it!

I definitely don't think that the Scoobies understand that A) she's clinically depressed and B) she's also become an introvert who needs a lot of healthy alone time. I think they come to accept it to a degree in S7, and that's good. I wonder if they address it any in the comics?

I also think that no one in her life ever quite understands how much Buffy is not comfortable with expressing things verbally. I feel like everyone wants her to. Perhaps not Giles, but he's definitely introverted as well. Riley definitely does; I don't remember Angel doing so, which is a point in his favor, probably because he isn't much of one for long bouts of conversation himself; Spike is perfectly fine with the silence during S5 and the beginning of S6--it's only once they start having sex and everything goes downhill that he demands more. Interestingly, when he regains his soul, he's more comfortable with it again.

As Quinara recently said, Spike and Buffy's relationship in the latter half of S7 can be summed up thusly: "I need to sit in the quiet - do you need to sit in the quiet? - let's sit in the quiet." Which sounds positively divine to me. ;D But again: I'm an introvert.

Buffy's always been best when she communicates through her actions. While her linguistic gymnastics are loads of fun, they rarely convey her deeper meanings, especially in the later seasons. It's her actions that tell people how she feels. I kind of love that for a show that was so renowned for its dialogue, it's the character's actions that tells us so much.

And now I need to go watch that Buffy and Willow scene again! Thanks for reminding me of it!
I'd like to read that! Yes, one of the amazing things about Giles & Buffy is that he knows intuitively that Buffy doesn't always need to talk, or, if she does, it won't come out just in a simple conversation. His behaviour when she comes back from L.A. in early season three is beyond reproach, to my mind--he simply smiles in "Dead Man's Party," and in "Faith, Hope & Trick" he tries to get Buffy to talk about Acathla and her trauma without cornering her or forcing her. (OK, so he's being a bit manipulative there, but I think this is one of those times where that's appropriate.) Unfortunately, in season six and seven he misjudges her badly, and perhaps his inability to talk (or see her as not being that same girl from seasons two and three) gets in the way. He seemed to know what Buffy needed, re: Acathla, and so probably figured he knew what she needed re: her return from the dead in season six, or Spike in LMPTM.

Another great moment for the Scoobies acceptance of intra-Buffy: the hand-holding between Buffy and Xander in "Chosen," walking down the corridor.

Also, one scene that's always gotten to me is the Willow/Buffy scene at the end of "Get it Done," where, right after Willow has had Kennedy basically say that things are done between them for now, Willow takes a moment, leaves her angst behind, and goes to see how Buffy is doing. I recommend revisiting it, or whatever, but in the key moments Willow is supportive, listening to what Buffy says but not pressuring her for more. It impresses me hugely in terms of the growth of their relationship: not only is Willow not burdening Buffy with her problems (a huge step forward from the girl who was utterly devastated by an argument, let alone a temporary breakup, circa "Tough Love"), but she doesn't hold Buffy's difficulty communicating except through an "everyone sucks but me speech" (thanks Anya!) against her. If it weren't for the "Empty Places" throwing-out-of-house bit, I'd say that things were okay between them after that, or at least as okay as they can be from people who have tried to kill each other. But neither Xander nor Willow seems to get how deeply Buffy is hurt by Xander's eye-loss, which is deeply sad for all three but especially Buffy and Xander.
Re: the BSG finale, I'm not clear on what the metaphor is supposed to be of the final decision by Lee. This isn't snark, I don't really get it. The robot montage at the end of the episode seems to suggest that at least on a surface level the show is espousing the "technology BAD!" view which seems to be the weakest and simplest of the series' messages.

Not at all: it links the whole series to our current state of technology where humanish robots are being developed & leaves open the question of whether we're destined to repeat it or whether the early marriage of human-cylon is taking it on a different course or not.

[ edited by bluegrrl on 2010-05-02 20:01 ]

[ edited by bluegrrl on 2010-05-02 20:02 ]

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