So finally we reached the end of the wretched mess of a season which was Buffy Season 6 and it really makes you wonder if the series should have just ended with what would have been a fitting ending of season 5? Of course back in the day none of us were ready to say goodbye to Buffy and of course the idea of her being resurrected for season 6 was unquestionably a welcome one. Sadly it seems this was as far as the showrunners got with their planning for what we end up with was a largely forgettable season bar a handful of episodes such as Xander and Anya’s wedding and the much beloved “Once More With Feeling”
One of the big mistakes of the season is the lack of any real big evil, as here we get “The Trio” who outside of Warren’s slow corruption in his quest for power are never really a threat though they do provide many of the season’s high points with their bumbling attempts to take out Buffy largely thanks to the inclusion of Andrew and Jonathan. Perhaps their combination of techology and magical abilities could have made them more of a threat but sadly it was not to be as they main purpose is to pave the way for Dark Willow.
Here lies one of the major downfalls of the season, for not only has Willow continually been an irritating presence since season 4 but here this season it was really cranked up several notches as drunk on her own success at bringing Buffy back from the dead, the egotistical Willow is much like having to deal with a drunk when everyone else is sober. Sure they might be having a good time as we got to watch her and Amy go off on magical benders but no one else really was and the attempts to add emotional weight by having Tara leave her only felt cheap. Now by the time we reach the end game and Dark Willow is triggered by Tara accidental being shot by Warren the chances are you were more upset at the loss of Tara than what it meant for their relationship.
Dark Willow just doesn’t work as a big evil outside of the draw of having Willow and Buffy fight things out which considering the two have been on the same power level for a while on paper just have some minor appeal. However by the time the pair face off its against an overpowered Willow in what is essentially a massively unbalanced fight that Buffy has no real way to win as proven by Giles return in what easily was one of the best moments of the entire season unlike say how she ultimately beaten by Xander of all people which was great in that it gave him a purpose outside of comic relief but an achievement drenched in overworked smaltz.
The misguided attempts to tap into the emotional side of the characters frequently proves to be the downfall of the season be it Dawn’s Kleptomania or the Buffy and Spike getting together a direction for the show which still makes zero sense even now, while his attempted rape of Buffy after their relationship disolves only served to break the character in a way which its hard to redeem him from even though the series ends with his quest to regain his soul.
So were do the issues come from? Well one of the main reasons can be placed with Joss Wheldon stepping down as the show runner to work on “Firefly” leaving Marti Noxon to take over as Show runner and in many ways left the show drifting away from its routes and generally pushing characters in directions which we didn’t want to see. Marti Noxon would continue as the showrunner as we move into the final season which is often viewed as the worst….or is it?
Join me next time we start our look back at Season 7 in which Buffy faces off against The First Evil who are now targeting potential slayers around the world, forcing Buffy to ally with some familiar faces as she battles to save the Slayer bloodline.