Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
May 29, 2004
Comments on the "Buffy" series finale.
Category: Serious … TV, Film, & DVDs

Nothing new tonight, but since Tina commented on the "Angel" finale entry and wanted to know the extent of my grievances with the "Buffy" series finale, I popped over to a Buffy board on which I've been posting for some time and looked up my old comments on it. In case it doesn't come out as well in these older reviews (though I think it does), I'll preface these remarks by noting that my dislike of the series finale was the logical end of my immense disappointment with the final season as a whole. And, of course, I'd been upset with the series since the beginning of Season 6, since I felt then and still feel to this day that Buffy should've ended with Season 5. In addition to Buffy's ultimate sacrifice and the rather triumphant ending despite her death, it was pretty much driven home that while there might have been fun from time to time, the life of the Slayer must ultimately be an unpleasant one, fraught with conflict... and that the Slayer's fight never really ends until she's dead.

So while with Angel it made perfect sense, I think, for the series to end with him still alive -- being an immortal vampire and all -- "Buffy" was always a show about mortals and finite lives, so I do think it really should've ended with her dead. Not that it needed to be depressing, and I don't think that the end of Season 5 was depressing at all. She gave her life; death was her gift; and finally, for her, the fight was over. And it looked like everyone was going to be okay in the end, so I wasn't particularly sad or fearful for them... Though I was pretty excited about Season 6, because I didn't think Buffy was going to be around as much. I've got some comics which detail some of the adventures that the gang had following Buffy's death, and they're really good -- Buffy appears in them in flashbacks, but for the most part she's not there. Season 6 could've done with eight or so episodes like that before they even thought of resurrecting Buffy. (I had the same problem with Season 3 -- Angel came back way too quickly. We didn't even have time to miss the guy, and we had even less with Buffy.) And when they needed to do so, there should've been some big reason, and there should've been a several episode "descent into the underworld" or something arc involved in her resurrection. Kinda like what they did on "Angel" when Cordy became a higher being...

Anyway, here are those comments. First, some of my thoughts on the season as a whole:

Buffy (as a show) used to be witty, somewhat campy, at times exhibited surprising depth, and moreover, for the scholars, actually drew upon some interesting concepts from actual mythology and themes from great works of literature and presented them in a fresh new setting. Now? We get some half-assed plot about THE FIRST that is full of things that make no sense, like the potentials storyline (bleah) and why the ABSOLUTE EVIL with all of its harbingers OF DOOM would need peions like Andrew and Jonathan to do its bidding. Also, since this bugged me, since I liked Jonathan, why the hell should bleeding him to death not be enough to open the seal, while it was about to open with Xander's blood and he was barely hurt at all? Now you can posit all of the stupid explanations you like for any of the holes in this season -- if you really worked hard you could explain the potentials thing (but since the whole point of calling Slayers was, I thought, the randomness of it, and the destiny of ONE, not the potential destiny of many, but it's really one but somehow it could possibly be from all of these people, blah blah), and maybe ALL of the bringers were away on potential killing duty (this might have made more sense when there were only 3-6 of them, but, in any case, why THE FIRST EVIL, THE BIG NASTY EVIL, would waste time with ANDREW AND JONATHAN is still up for grabs, when I'm sure there are more capable nitwits out there), and I'm sure you could say that the seal needed more blood to open the first time than subsequent times. Also, it doesn't make a lick of sense that there would be information pertaining to the seal of THE FIRST on the internet, since THE FIRST EVIL is supposed to be shrouded in lots of mysterious shroudy misty mystery, but new info and new websites are popping up all the time, right? Explain away all you want, but in all honesty, you shouldn't bother -- the writers sure as hell didn't give any thought to it.

This isn't to say that the plots to seasons 1-5 were completely hole-free, but the holes weren't so massively gaping that they pissed me off like this. Moreover, there WAS some attempt to explain the nuances of the situations, and generally a plausible one within the context of the Buffy universe, which really wasn't that much different from the world in which we life. The ritual of Acathla had a backstory, explaining this and this. The mayor needed to eat a box of spiders because of this. Adam was programmed for this. Glory wanted to return to her dimension because of this. Again, a backstory. But THE FIRST? No backstory necessary, because THE FIRST is THE ABSOLUTE EVIL, but you'd think that THE ABSOLUTE EVIL would be so fucking efficient and powerful that all of these bullshit hoops the writers have been making us jump through just to get a crumb of the explanatory cookie would just melt into a pile of multicolored plastic on the floor under its ABSOLUTELY EVIL POWER. Why the hell should THE FIRST only be able to assume the forms of dead people? Why the hell should Willow be able to record it by making Andrew wear a wire? If he's the only one able to see it, why should anyone else be able to hear it? Why the hell shouldn't THE FIRST know EVERYTHING THEY BLOODY TALK ABOUT BECAUSE IT IS THE ABSOLUTE EVIL AND EVIL IS EVERYWHERE? When THE FIRST showed up before, it was kinda neat. You couldn't fight it. You didn't know what it wanted. It didn't matter whether Angel killed himself or not, because either way the evil purposes of THE FIRST would be served. THE FIRST represented...ahhh why am I going on? My point was that Buffy sucks now and the writers have their heads too far up their asses to pay attention to its decline. But it's UPN. What the hell did I expect?

And now, my comments on the finale in particular:

Garbage in, gargage out, and how well can you build a house on top of quicksand? I can't say a whole lot good about it, actually. The Kaleb coming back thing was stupid -- just another cheap pop before the commercial break. While Anya's sacrifice was noble, I disliked that we didn't really see her saving Andrew -- it looked to me like she was chopped from behind and that she didn't do much of anything for Andrew. I also don't like that my favorite of the potentials went down (so I like the goofy skinny ones, you know me and my Freds), and I can't say she really deserved it either. You can say, "Who does?" but still, I'd rather that one of the no-names had bit it. My favorite wasn't that significant, so it might have had the same effect. I'm just bitching about minor issues, being drunk with the crappy senior week activities and all. Maybe in some parallel universe she and I are drinking together, although in a parallel universe 'I' would denote a completely different person/entity, so none of what I'm saying would improve my situation in any respect nor is it helpful on a purely speculative level. Oh well.

Things I disliked:

1. The Buffy/Angel thing was too quick and filled with bs -- just a quick way to get Angel out, and the cookie analogy was kind of dumb and obviously there just so they could work in the 'eat' joke, which Wes (in this particular universe) did not find very amusing.

2. Speaking of bad jokes, the "he had to split" thing was the worst. Really.

3. Speaking of morbid humor, I liked the "surprise" gag with Principal Wood, but I think it was a bit much. More reprehensible/frightening than comical, although I burst out laughing. I suppose he surprised us all with that one, but still...

4. The thing with "some men" deciding that there should be "one in each generation" and the speech that followed -- I found that very problematic. Not only did it seem like a shallow representation of (a certain brand of) feminism -- especially with the emphasis on Willow as "this woman" -- but it's important to note that "some men" were the ones responsible for the Slayer's power -- one or many -- in the first place. If they really wanted to fly in the face of archaic 'male authority', they should've abandoned the power of the Slayer and tried to fight the Ubervamps as mere humans. Which of course would have been a losing battle. I also found problematic the idea that all potential Slayers would be Slayers -- while not only does that leave a bunch of superpowered girls running around (with no Watchers to guide them, I might add) but it also leaves room for a bunch of vicious girls to run around mucking up things with their super strength. If Joss had thrown in a scene with some woman working as an assassin who suddenly got Slayer power and broke the necks of a room full of people, I might have been a little more satisfied there.

5. Why the heck did they have to be in the ubervampland when Willow did the spell? The way it looked to me, they could've performed the thing at home and then gone into it all. Bah.

And of course you have lots of continuity issues and other bullshit. Given the way the first ubervamp royally kicked Buffy's ass, you'd have expected a better fight from them. At the very least, none of the humans should have survived. (Even though they were fighting apparently fighting Bringers -- but where the hell did they come from?) ...

Another thing I found particularly repulsive was the Wood/Faith sex bragging talk. Faith saying, "I got mad skills yo!" and then going for her zipper was a true 'ugh' moment as far as I'm concerned. "You gotta learn some respect!" Bleh.

And it's not that important -- I don't much care for special effects if the story is good (which it wasn't) -- but those shots of Buffy leaping from the rooftops were really pitiful.

You know, I'd forgotten about the Wood/Faith sex thing... the reminder alone is enough to make me gag. "I got mad skills yo!" Weren't you supposed to be in jail repenting and growing as a person and learning to be virtuous or something, honey? The way the "Buffy" writers handled Faith in late Season 7 -- like a frat groupie returning to her boys after summer vacation -- irritated me to no end, especially since I thought they did a pretty good job with her on "Angel". Seriously, after seeing what she saw happen in L.A., you'd think that "respect" would mean a lot more to her than prowess in the sack. Ugh.

Alrighty, that does it for this post. Ja.

-posted by Wes | 3:02 am | Comments (0)
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