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Buffy The Vampire SlayerMissed opportunities in season seven
By Fred Topel
Friday 1 August 2003, by Webmaster
was happy with the series finale of Buffy. It wrapped up everything we needed, but left open plenty of possibilities for the future. But not possibilities that it’s like "Oh my God, I’ll die if I don’t know..." just good stuff, like the empowering of all females.
I was a tad disappointed that nobody more significant died. I mean, we knew Anya had no purpose anymore. She was basically waiting to die throughout the whole season. Kind of a surprise that Andrew lived. I thought maybe Willow would die after completing the spell. I’m glad Buffy didn’t die again. That would’ve been lame. Spike deserved to finally be the hero, after all he’s been through. And since we know the full cast of next year’s Angel, we can sleep well this summer knowing everything will turn out okay for Spike too. But shortly after I switched over to 24 (that’s a whole nother issue), I started thinking about all the threads that never really went anywhere this season. When I saw the season seven premiere, it changed my life. I saw Spike go mad, Buffy start training Dawn to go down a similar path, and all the possibilities of a new Sunnydale high.
Well, Spike just stopped being crazy when he went upstairs, Dawn never did anything with her training (nothing significant to any episode plot - she was just one of the background fighters) and there was maybe one episode where students of the high school started acting weird. It made me start thinking that the writers knew the end, but they didn’t know or care how to get there.
I mean, we were left with most episodes filled with long speeches of Buffy yelling at the slayers in training about how they’d have to get in shape and sacrifice for the final battle. Well, they did, but that’s all they did. What about the 20-odd episode in between?
Again, I liked the finale, but I was way more into last year’s finale. Buffy fighting Willow, Giles coming back, that was some gripping stuff. This was just a fitting end to the series, but after a way weak year.
Just imagine if they had really fulfilled the potential of this season. Imagine episodes where Dawn becomes a strong fighter and faces off against some of Buffy’s decisions. Imagine episodes where Buffy had to see a new generation of high school students relive some of her old mistakes. Imagine Conversations with Dead People starring Amber Benson as the false image of Tara. That would have made a lot more sense (otherwise, I loved that episode, second best of the season after the premiere).
And Spike. So, they found Spike’s trigger in a mildly interesting historical episode. Couldn’t there have been more to that? Spend a few episodes on Spike toiling with a soul, succumbing repeatedly to this trigger from his past, and then having to do something a little more dramatic than beating up Principal Wood to overcome it. I will say I’m glad the Spike/Wood rivalry didn’t last long. That was lame. "My name is Robin Wood. You killed my mother. Prepare to Die."
Oh, and if Anya had actually spent time dealing with losing her demon powers a second time, her character might have done more than just waiting to die all year. And how about Andrew? He murders Jonathan and then plays Mr. Innocent the rest of the year? Willow killed the one who deserved it and got all sorts of scorn. Why not let Andrew grow into a real threat? That was the more likely arc of his character.
I know I won’t win people over to my support of the depth of season six. And really, the only reason I’m complaining is to cash in on everyone’s interest in reading more and more Buffy articles in the following weeks. But, I often claimed that any episode of Buffy was better than most of the theatrical features I sit through, and I still stand by that. I just wish the whole last season could have upheld that tradition the way the premiere, Conversations… and the finale did.