“Thanks a lot for coming. It was good of you to teleport all this way. Though, in retrospect, it probably would have been better if you hadn’t come and given Willow all that magic that made her, like, ten times more powerful. That would have been a plus.” – Anya
So here we are finally at the end of season 6 which has been a problematic trudge to say the least from the notable lack of big evil and one off gimmick episodes like Xander and Anya’s wedding and the much beloved “Once More With Feeling” its really been the beginning of the end for the show even as Buffy prepares for one final showdown with Dark Willow.
Originally the finale of this season would have seen Buffy battle the dragon we saw flying off at the end of the last season, but thanks to the budget being largely blown on “Once More With Feeling” we now end up with this disappointing finale which is also noteworthy for being the only one not to be written by Joss Wheldon who himself only put in the one appearance as writer / director on “Once More With Feeling”.
Still having ended on that fantastic cliffhanger last week of Giles making his suprise return to battle Willow and seemingly being the only person capable of stopping her, we do get to see him showcase some more of his new found magical abilities which he reveals were given to him by a coven of witches back in England. Certainly they are used well here as Giles and Willow throw special effects at each other and while the episode (spoiler alert) might be noteworthy for being a finale were none of the major characters die, the same can’t be said for “The Magic Box” which in the ensuing battle is reduced to rubble.
Certainly one of the more annoying aspects of Dark Willow is the fact that there is always a loophole to get her easily out of any situation were it looks like Buffy and the Scoobies might be winning against her, with her using telepathic abilities to use Anya to break the binding spell coming off as especially cheap. More so the ending feels so phoned in with Willow drawing an old satanic temple out of the ground to bring about the apocalypse with no real build up and instead comes seemingly out of nowhere.
The real failing of the finale though comes from Xander being the one who ultimately defeats Willow which itself isn’t a bad thing, but when he does it by appealing to the good Willow by bombarding her with saturnine childhood memories of broken crayons that doesn’t get any better on the rewatch, much like how everyone is happy to forgive Willow despite the fact she’s constantly been a loose cannon and flailed a man alive, bur hey that’s all fine because that was Dark Willow.
So while things are falling apart in Sunnydale, we do get to catch up with Spike who having finally completed the trails being set by the cave demon and as promised ends the season with his soul being returned, but we will have to wait till next season to see how this will effect him.