Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 7

Dirty Girls

Empty Places


End of Days


Dirty Girls

The Metaphysics of "Dirty Girls"

Warning: this page contains info about episodes up through season 7 BtVS/season 5 AtS. If you're in danger of being spoiled, proceed with caution.

What is Caleb? Caleb is a disciple of the First Evil, and he is responsible for coordinating the actions of the Bringers and blowing up the Watcher's Council. He's even killed a few potential Slayers himself. Caleb implies that he is human, but then takes on Buffy, Spike, and Faith and sends each of them flying across the room. Plus, he's still standing after a direct kick in the groin from the Slayer. There's more to this bad guy than meets the eye.

Caleb's mark: Caleb wears a ring with a tiny raised cross on it. He heats up his ring with a cigarette lighter and burns a Potential in the neck just to let the Slayer know he's been there.

Evil in "Dirty Girls"


"All these girls. They followed you willingly. You tricked them."

If you were an incorporeal evil bent on wiping out the long line of teen-aged female warriors who defend humankind against malevolent demons and other Bads, who would you get to lead your team? How about a misogynistic psychopath who blames his victims for his own homicidal urges? According to Caleb's pseudo-religious diatribe, women have no souls. Their primary desire is to tempt men to iniquity. Caleb uses masculine charm and a priest's collar to lure them to their deaths, and like the serial killer that he is, later re-enacts the deeds to recapture the "high" of the kill. The latest Potential to come to Sunnydale survives an encounter with him, but only because he wants to use her to send the Slayer a message: "I have something of yours."

Caleb ...is a perversion of what "good" is about. He is the ultimate teachers pet in that he doesn't need any teaching, any seduction from the First, he is a more or less completed work. He represents a fallen angel of sorts in that his dress indicates that he was a cleric.... His fall from good, how ever it happened, is an ultimate feather in the First's cap. What better to represent the First but a fallen preacher, who has become a most favored, degenerate, son (Rufus 4/19/03 2:17).

The FE is amused by Caleb because he is so easily manipulated into accomplishing the FE's goals - destroying the slayer (and potentials), who also happen to be girls. The FE is not a misogynist, but is happy to have one available to do its bidding (crgn, 4/16/03 10:56).

Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Dirty Girls"

Though Xander has changed a lot in the past few years, some things about him haven't changed. Xander still has sex on the brain, and he's still loyal to Buffy. When the Potentials question Buffy's plan to lead them in an attack on Caleb's vineyard, Xander reminds them that Buffy has defeated every foe she's met since he's known her. Later, Xander proves his own bravery when he saves Rona from a Harbinger's knife, and runs back into the fray to rescue Kennedy. But his deeds catch the attention of Caleb. "You're the one who sees everything, aren't you?" Caleb says. He gouges Xander's left eye.

Faith is back in Sunnydale, and she's a little miffed that the others neglected to inform her about the First's attack on the Slayer line. But she learned long ago that Sunnydale is Buffy's town--Faith is not their priority. She will always be the "other" Slayer here. Still, she's had a long while to consider her own priorities, and she's willing to join Buffy's team and do her duty. But Faith's past isn't that easy to shake. While Buffy accepts Faith's help, Dawn is wary of her. And Andrew weaves a story for the Potentials about how Faith "the tragic hero" went evil. He warns them that she is a killer not to be taken lightly (over-identify much, Andrew?) The part about Faith's reformation in Los Angeles and prison is conspicuously missing. But by her deeds you shall know her, and Faith is fighting for the good guys now--as a soldier, not the leader she became in L.A. When Spike asks Faith why she isn't imparting Slayer wisdom to the very green Potentials, she replies: "That's Buffy's thing."

Buffy: Things have been quiet in Sunnydale for a while now. The gang knows that war is coming, but so far, The First Evil has done little more than try to scare them or make aggravatingly isolated plays for members of Buffy's team (e.g., Spike, Chloe, Andrew). Everyone wants something to be done about their situation, but the First Evil isn't the kind of enemy you can just "take the battle to". The pressure of the wait has caused dissension amongst Buffy's strongest fighters. Then there are the Potentials, girls who might someday be called to be the Slayer, but who are today really only teen-aged girls with a little more speed and strength than their peers. Most of them are still untrained. Most of them are still more in need of protection than protectors. Naturally, Buffy has taken the entire situation as her personal responsibility. She feels the pressure of everyone looking to her for answers.

Enter Caleb. The First has sent an enemy that Buffy can hurl her fists at. So of course she takes the bait. Xander and the others point out the many ways in which Caleb's lure could be a trap--but it's the sort of trap Buffy has fallen for more than once. Giles tries to argue that they are unprepared, but Buffy isn't taking his advice anymore. Despite the fact that Buffy knows very little about the enemy she is fighting, she takes her strongest soldiers into a direct assault on Caleb's lair. She's hoping that Caleb won't be expecting an attack so soon. But he is ready for her. The Potentials hold their own against the Harbingers, but no one has the strength to defeat Caleb. Caleb kills two Potentials and wounds Xander and Rona before Buffy's army manages to retreat.

The finest moments of Spike and Willow

Philosophies Represented in "Dirty Girls"

Misogyny = hatred/fear of women, but more so of the power that women seem to have over men because sex/connection can break men out of their rational self-interest. Sex/connection can make a man do what his rational self tells him is not in his personal interest - care for another beyond caring for himself. Xander doesn't fear sex/connection with women - he wants it, he values it. He knows it doesn't diminish him but empowers him. Connection to other people enhances his own humanity, his heart.

Caleb's anger and fear of women is that of the man who thinks the sexual climax is the ultimate loss of power.... He thinks the girls who come to him, influenced by the power of his words, are there to take his power through sexual temptation (crgn, 4/16/03 10:56).

Empty Places

The Metaphysics of "Empty Places"

The Hellmouth's increased activity is being felt all over town. Demonic activity is on the rise. People are leaving the city in droves. The citizens of Sunnydale have finally gotten over their chronic denial--but that's because the evil that's come to town is more powerful than it's ever been.

Caleb: Giles and Dawn look through police reports of incidents of violence and vandalism committed against California religious institutions over the past ten years, trying to find information on Caleb. Dawn finds a particular incident where there was no vandalism, only a monastery mysteriously abandoned. In one of the police photos, Giles sees Caleb's "mark" embedded in the wood of a wall. He sends Spike and Andrew to investigate. A monk shows them a secret room inside the monastery. He tells Spike and Andrew that upon discovering the room, Caleb was excited, talking about his destiny. But then he read an ancient inscription in the wall, written in Latin. He grew angry and killed all the other monks. The one remaining only lived because he hid. Spike reads the inscription: "It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield."

The Turok-han

Anya's information on the Turok-Han seems dubious. Buffy's stake penetrated its chest in Bring on the Night and didn't kill it, and her bottle of holy water burned it in Showtime (dsample, 8 May 2003 21:35).

Evil in "Empty Places"

Caleb: Buffy encounters Caleb in the empty halls of Sunnydale High School. He overpowers her like before, but he doesn't kill her. He is there to "lay the groundwork"--to lure her, and the potential slayers who follow her, into a trap. But what exactly is the trap? He talks to Buffy about the "great things" that are to come at the Hellmouth and the Seal of Danthazar. It gives Buffy pause. If the final battle is to happen there, why are Caleb and the Harbingers spending all their time at the vineyard? Buffy suspects that the source of Caleb's power isn't at the school at all. She tells the others that they are returning to Caleb's vineyard to find it and take it away from them.

Moral Ambiguity and Ethical Quandaries in "Empty Places"

Challenging the Slayer

For years now, Buffy has been the leader of the forces for good in Sunnydale. She made the plans, she lead the missions. And she saved the world. A lot. Long before she rejected the authority of the Watcher's Council, Giles deferred to her judgment. But even Buffy isn't immune to the pressures of life under the threat of the First Evil. In fact, if anyone feels it the most, it is her. She has tried to stay strong against it. She has tried to do her job. But the burden has lead her to make mistakes, and the others are no longer willing to follow where she leads them simply out of loyalty.

Buffy's friends have always felt free to question her, to suggest alternatives, and to make decisions in her absence. And even now, Buffy says she is willing to listen to what they have to say. Faith and Giles tell her they are not willing to return to the vineyard with out some proof that it is the source of Caleb's power. There's too much to lose going in without knowing they'll get something out of it. Rona accuses Buffy of being reckless, of seizing upon any plan she finds in her desperation to defeat the bad guy.

But Buffy is resolved in her plan. She tells them the final decision rests with her. She is the Slayer. Rona points out that Faith is a Slayer, too. Kennedy suggests they take a vote over which Slayer they will follow. Buffy's friends and the Potentials fall in line behind Faith.

Buffy believes in her plan, and fears that if they follow Faith, Faith will lead them into disaster. But she steps aside. "Don't be afraid to lead them, whether you wanted it or not" she tells Faith. "Their lives are yours. It's only going to get harder."

Fan speculation on the motivations being the gang's "mutiny":

The First Evil has been trying to split up the good guys from the beginning. It appeared to Willow and tried to get her to kill herself, thereby removing a very powerful potential adversary. It did the same thing with the potential Chloe, with better success. There is some question as to whether the "Joyce" that Dawn saw in "Conversations With Dead People" was a friendly spirit or a manifestation of the First. I believe it was the latter. By telling Dawn that Buffy would not "choose her," she was sowing the seeds for Dawn to distrust Buffy. Later, the First appeared as Eve to the Potentials and tried to stir up a sense of hopelessness and distrust for Buffy. There was, of course, Spike's trigger, which was designed to use another very powerful potential adversary for its own nefarious purposes. When that wasn't working out to well, it appeared to Wood as his mother and gave him the identity of his mother's killer, who just happened to be that same potential adversary. ...Then Caleb, the First's chief agent, lures Buffy and the others into a trap and does some major damage to them. ...Xander and Willow won't trust Buffy because of the horrible injury that Xander sustained. The potentials won't trust Buffy because they are scared to death of Caleb and don't want to fight him again. ...The First's plans came to fruition and the heroes are divided (That Which Devours From Beneath, 6 May 2003 13:32)

[W]e have seen the First Evil manipulate individuals in the past (Angel, Spike, Andrew, the bringers, and maybe others). The characteristics of such manipulation has been different in each case, but the end result of getting each to do the bidding of the First Evil was achieved. I think that the First Evil has been pulling Buffy's string for some time now. Caleb's message to Buffy two weeks ago and his message to her last night are strong indications of such.

...What Buffy has learned in the past 6-1/2 years is to trust her instincts, her intuition. These have always served her well. Now however, they are failing her. I believe that the First Evil has done its research very well and knows how to turn Buffy's strengths into her weaknesses. [Buffy] is caught between irreconcilable forces. Her instincts tell her that only she can keep her charges safe. Her morals and ethics require that she do everything within her power to keep them safe. Her instincts are, however, putting her charges in the danger she desperately is trying to keep them safe from.

I do not see the actions of the Scooby Gang and Potentials as mutiny, rather as relieving Buffy of her command, due to incapacity. They can do this and still love her at the same time. Buffy is not a stupid or hateful person. She knows that she cannot lead her people at this time. She does not yet understand why this is the case. But, she is still able to think past her fear, frustration and (most importantly) [her] hatred of Faith to empower Faith with the authority and responsibility for leading the troops (Robert 4/30/03 10:03).


Wood: "Why didn't you fight back?"
Faith: "Other things matter more."

When Faith takes the potential slayers to the Bronze to blow off a little steam, she has to face the music, both with a group of apocalypse-crazed Sunnydale cops and with Buffy. Buffy is angry with Faith for undermining the discipline she has been trying to instill in the Potentials; the Potentials are her soldiers. Faith reminds Buffy that she got two of those "soldiers" killed in the vineyard. Buffy hits her. Faith is angry. She has long resented Buffy's superior attitude towards her. But she isn't going to fight Buffy over this. There is a much more important battle to be won, and Faith is content to be another soldier in the war against the biggest evil they have ever faced. Then the Potentials and Buffy's friends put the responsibility for leading them into Faith's hands.

Faith once complained that Buffy stole her birthright, that she made her feel like an outsider in what should have been "her town". Well, here's your chance, girlfriend. Be the Slayer.

Willow the witchy hacker


The Metaphysics of "Touched"

The Turkish conjuration was a spell used by the ancient Turks used to communicate with the dying. It allows people who can no longer talk to speak through another. Dawn suggests using the spell on the mute Bringer, and Willow reads the incantation:

Kendinizi çok uykulu hissetmeye bashliyorsunuz.
Çok uykulu, çok uykulu.
Gözlerinizin önünde sallamak için cep saatim yok ama, sizin de gözleriniz yok.
Konusun bizimle.

Andrew serves as the conduit for the Bringer.

The Bringers are not only eyeless and tongueless, their individual identities and wills are part of a larger corporate mind that serves the First Evil (think the Borg and the Borg Queen, or the body Jasmine). Through the Turkish Conjuration spell, Andrew is briefly brought into this group mind. He tells the gang about an arsenal of weapons the Bringers are building "at the edge of town". Since the other Bringers are surely aware of the capture of this Bringer, it is likely the First uses this Bringer to lure Faith and the Potentials into a trap.

The First Evil doesn't just take on the appearance of people who have died. It takes on their personality traits as well. It knows intimate secrets about the lives of the people It mimics. It becomes, in essence, the dead person It is depicting, but with the motives of the First in tact. This not only makes it easier for the First to manipulate people, it makes the First very dangerous, because Buffy's death in Prophecy Girl allowed the First to take the form of the living Slayer, to know what she knows, and to understand her vulnerabilities.

The Scythe: According to stone tablets found in the Gilroy monastery, the First has a weapon It is trying to keep out of the hands of the Slayers. The weapon is buried in rock in the sub-basement of Caleb's vineyard. The Bringers work to remove it. When Buffy returns to the vineyard, she discovers the sub-basement and the weapon.

It's Fray's SCYTHE... it's the scythe Fray will find in the Fray Comic books in the future. For people who are not aware of it... Joss Whedon created a comic book character named Fray, who is a Slayer in the future, who finds this weapon which is odd because we never saw Buffy wield it... and now we have (Jane Espenson, BtVS Writer, May 6th, 2003).

The invitation to vampires: Buffy enters a Sunnydale house to find a place to rest. A man still lives there. She tells him to leave town like everyone else. He does. But he will never be able to return to that house. He will never be able to return to this town. The First Evil has claimed Sunnydale. So although the man is still alive, Spike is able to enter what used to be the man's house without an invitation.

Evil in "Touched"

The First Evil has been equated with "the evil that lies in everyone's hearts", as if this pervasive evil was able to take the form of a single being. Regardless of whether this is true or even makes sense, the First Evil is an ancient entity of great malevolence, one whose incorporeal state has relegated It to manipulating the hearts and minds of living beings. The First Evil gave Caleb his extraordinary strength so that Caleb could be Its "vessel", Its means operating in the world of physical beings. What does it hope to achieve through Its vessel? It wants to destroy the Slayer line. It wants Power. And it wants destruction.

Good and Moral Ambiguity in "Touched"

The Scoobies/Potentials: After Buffy leaves, the gang is in chaos. Everyone wants a say, but not everyone agrees what to do. Faith realizes that Buffy is right. They need one voice giving the orders. She steps up to be that voice. She formulates a plan to capture a Bringer. The Bringer tells them about an arsenal the Bringers are building for "the coming war". Andrew informs the gang that the First is hiding a weapon from the Slayers and suggests an arsenal might be a place to find such a weapon. Giles and Xander locate a subterranean space large enough to house an armory. Faith leads some of the Potentials to the sewers. The Bringers attack. They fight them off. Kennedy finds a locked metal box. Faith opens it. A bomb is inside.

Buffy: If there is one thing that defines Buffy as a human being, it is her intense belief in the value of individual lives. She has never been able to reconcile herself with inevitable human cost of battle--"casualties". She cut herself off emotionally from her friends and the Potentials, she tells Spike, because she knew that some of them would die. In another leader, this might be necessary to help them focus them on their responsibilities. For Buffy, however, it disconnected her from the very thing that made her a good Slayer--the mutual support she shares with those she cares about. Handing the responsibility of leadership over to Faith--even temporarily--frees Buffy to focus on the task of uncovering Caleb's secrets. Buffy returns to the vineyard by herself and does not let Caleb bait her into a fight. The new tactic makes Caleb careless. He accidentally reveals a trap door that leads to the very thing that Buffy seeks.

When Spike returns to Sunnydale to discover that Buffy has been removed from command, he concludes that the gang are traitors. He accuses Giles of jealousy because Buffy has surpassed his wisdom. He accuses Faith of stealing the mantle of Slayer. He tracks Buffy and finds her wallowing in her perceived mistakes. Spike tells her how much he admires her strength and caring, then holds her while she finds the courage to face another day.

Buffy admitted that she had been doing things wrong, that her "GeneralBuffy" attitude was off the mark. And Willow and Faith both admitted that they weren't sure that they did the right thing in sending her away ...it's an "enough blame for everyone" sort of situation. Buffy couldn't lead in the way she was trying to. And Willow and Faith were right - she needed sleep. Once Buffy got a good night's sleep, she was able to re-arrange her tactics.

And I think Faith did a decent enough job of leading. She was given the assignment; she didn't ask for it (any more than Buffy did). She worked out, with some input from the others, a reasonable enough plan. Yes, it was a trap, but I don't know that, if, say, I were in that situation, I would have considered it a trap. "Here, Slayer - I've got something of yours!" screams trap. Catching a Bringer, finding a spell that allows them to communicate with a mute, using the information gained from that spell, and planning a well-armed daytime attack - doesn't scream trap. In hindsight - sure it's a trap. But I don't think the situations are exactly equivalent.

...Buffy IS right about the winery. But if she had attacked before she had time to work out the evasive-action approach to Caleb, it probably would have been disastrous. Everyone's a little right; everyone's a little wrong (dream, 5/07/03 11:26).

Faith: The First appears to Faith to play on her insecurities. But It does not try to make Faith doubt herself as a leader. It tries to make her doubt Buffy. It tells her that Buffy will never respect her, that to Buffy she will always be a murderer. Why try to erode Faith's trust in someone who is no longer the leader of the team? Why try to divide the Slayers if they are already divided?

Willow: When Kennedy arranges for her and Willow to finally be alone in a busy, bustling household, Willow is hesitant. She has been keeping herself restrained whenever possible. She fears that "losing control" will lead her down the path of darkness again. This fear is not merely about the use of magic. She is afraid that sexual activity will have the same result. Kennedy assures Willow that she will be safe with her. Willow lets herself trust that, and they make love.

End of Days/Chosen

| Metaphysics | Good | Moral ambiguity | Philosophies Represented |

The Metaphysics of "End of Days/Chosen"

| The First Evil | The Guardians | The Scythe | The crystal amulet |

The vehicle: When Caleb's super-human strength begins to wane, it is time for the First Evil to fill him with power again. Caleb and the First stand with their arms out. The First takes on Its horned skeleton "true form" (also seen in Amends and Bring on the Night) and "dives" into Caleb's body. Caleb's eyes go black. He once again has the strength required to carry out the First's wishes. Caleb kills the Guardian who is instructing Buffy on the Scythe, then goes after the Slayer. She guts Caleb with the Scythe, but he gets back up. They fight. Buffy buries the blade between Caleb's legs and cuts him in two with an upward swing of the Scythe.

The First Evil has amassed an army of Turok-han that It hopes will soon outnumber human beings and tip the scales on Earth from good to evil. At this point, the First believes one or both of two things will happen. (1) It will be made flesh. (2) It will be able to enter "every man, woman and child" on Earth the way it now enters Caleb. We are not given the metaphysical details about how (or why) these outcomes might happen. But in the end they are moot. When the Slayers and Spike obliterate the army of Turok-han, they destroy any hope of the First reaching Its goals.

[T]he First has lost its army and its power, and further, now, there is not only one girl preventing the evil in all of us taking over the world, but ...an entire army of Slayers who will stand up and fight. ...the First Evil will never be destroyed, but it will never win, either (Rob 5/21/03 11:45).

The Guardians: Willow and Giles discover a non-indigenous pagan tomb in Sunnydale that may be connected to the Scythe. In the tomb, Buffy encounters a woman who calls herself a "Guardian". The Guardians are an ancient group of women who made it their job to help and protect the Slayers. Long ago, they forged the Scythe and buried it in a rock. Over the millennia they have kept an eye on the Shadowmen, who eventually became the Watchers Council, and did not let them know about the weapon. Now only one Guardian remains. She implies that she is very old. She has been waiting for the time when the Scythe would once again be wielded by the Slayer. She appears to be human, so it is not clear how she has survived to see this time.

The Scythe is a weapon with a mystical connection to the Slayers. Both Buffy and Faith get a strong feeling when they hold the Scythe. Each knows it belongs to them. The weapon was forged by the Guardians halfway around the world then brought to the land that would one day be called Sunnydale. There, it was used only once, to kill the last pure demon that walked upon the Earth. Then the Scythe was buried in rock. The land where it was hidden eventually became a monastery and then Caleb's vineyard. The Guardian tells Buffy that the re-emergence of the Scythe is a sign that "an end is truly near."

An end to what, exactly? The Scythe's importance goes beyond its use as a weapon. Its mystical connection to the Slayers allows it to be used as a talisman. Buffy asks Willow to use the mystical aspects of the Scythe to alter the magicks put into effect by the Shadowmen. She wants to end to the rule which dictates that a new Slayer can only called when the previous one dies. She wants all the Potentials to have the power of the Slayer now. This also means that, from now on, girls with the potential to be Slayers will have the power of the Slayer, likely from birth.

Altering the Calling of Slayers: The essential step in Buffy's plan is Willow's ability to tap into the primal mystical forces of nature and of talismans like the Scythe. Willow sits on the floor in a circle of candles and ritualistic totems. She places her hands on the Scythe and chants. The Scythe flares bright white. Its power flows into Willow's hands until she glows as well and her hair turns white. Potentials of all ages all over the world become Slayers. Soon, the glow fades. Willow's hair returns to normal. However, according to the shooting script, Willow has been altered by the spell as well, in ways that are not yet clear.

Kennedy the Vampire Slayer takes the Scythe down into the depths of Hell.

The Hellmouth: The gang goes to the abandoned high school. Buffy slashes her palm with Andrew's Tawarick knife and bleeds on the Seal of Danthazar. It absorbs her blood. Faith and the Potentials do the same. The Seal glows and opens. Spike and the women descend into a Hell dimension, leaving the Seal of Danthazar open for their escape. This dimension is full of Turok-han, waiting to ascend to Earth to battle for the First Evil.

The crystal amulet: It is unclear what Lilah Morgan of Wolfram and Hart intended by giving Angel this amulet, but it proves to be the decisive weapon in the war against the First Evil. This powerful and dangerous talisman has the ability to cleanse an area of vampires (or possibly, most beings) when worn by a supernaturally strong champion with a soul. The talisman seems to be fueled by the energy of the soul of whomever wields it. When Spike first puts the amulet on, it doesn't do anything. But in the middle of the fight against the Turok-han, it begins to glow with the power of (according to the shooting script) "pure solar energy".

This energy surges through the dimensional cavern, destroying Turok-han by the thousands. It then rockets upward and brings the ceiling and walls of the cavern crashing down. Some of the energy enters the Earthly plane through the Seal of Danthazar. The school and the surrounding buildings and streets collapse. The opening in the Hellmouth widens and the city of Sunnydale is sucked down into Hell. In the chaos below, the energy of the amulet consumes Spike from within. Spike disintegrates. The remaining power of the amulet then seals the Hellmouth shut, possibly obliterating this wall between the Earth and the demon dimensions forever.

Good and Moral Ambiguity in "End of Days/Chosen"

| Buffy | Willow | The Slayers | The Scooby Gang | Spike | Faith |

After Buffy escapes Caleb and saves the Potentials from the Turok-han in the sewers, she returns to the fold. Not all the girls are glad that Buffy is back, but none of them questions her return. Defeating the First is once again Buffy's responsibility. With the information Angel brought her about the First Evil, Buffy tries to come up with a plan. When the First appears and taunts her about the Potential Slayer's powerlessness, Buffy realizes what she has to do.

She asks the Potentials to chose to become real Slayers. Her plan is to use the girls as an army to make a preemptive strike at the Hellmouth. The Potentials say "yes". Buffy and Faith lead the Slayers into battle wielding the Scythe. In the heat of battle, a Turok-han stabs Buffy through the abdomen with a sword. She falls. The First appears to taunt her again, but Buffy just turns the First's taunts on Its incorporeal ear again. She stands up and returns to the fight despite her wound.

Willow's magic skills are essential to Buffy's plan to defeat the forces of the First Evil. But Willow is not sure that she is emotionally stable enough to do the job. Tapping into the essence of a talisman as powerful as the Scythe will require a total loss of control. Willow is afraid she'll revert to the dark place she went to the last time she experimented with such powerful magicks. But Buffy believes in her, and so does Kennedy. Willow puts her faith in the power of their love and takes the risk.

"No matter how smart you are, or how ready, war is about death." -Buffy

The Slayers

When Buffy's army first engages the horde of Turok-han, most do so as brave, but (almost) normal girls. Then Willow's spell kicks in. Suddenly they are Slayers, fighting with the strength and skill of Buffy and Faith. Vi, Amanda, Rona, Kennedy and the others kill Turok-han with fists, feet, and weapons, including the Scythe. They are powerful, but not powerful enough to evade injury and death. Buffy watches as Amanda falls before her, and Chao-Ahn is attacked by a Turok-han. A few of the girls are able to escape back up out of the Seal of Danthazar before Spike's amulet brings the hell-cavern crashing down on them. But some, like Rona, are severely injured. Willow's spell has awakened women warriors all over the world, but the power and responsibility that comes with being a Slayer is always a mixed blessing.

The gang: The battle between the Slayers and the Turok-han drives dozens of the powerful vampires up through the Seal of Danthazar and into the basement of Sunnydale High School. But the gang is ready for them. They have blocked off sewer access, forcing the vampires above ground. Dawn, who refused to let Buffy send her away from Sunnydale, joins Xander in the fight in the school atrium. Xander drives the Turok-han under the covered skylight. Dawn removes the tarp, flooding the atrium with light and incinerating the vampires.

The Turok-han are joined by the Bringers.

Anya and Andrew take up positions in the abandoned hallways of the school, swords at the ready. Andrew has been ready to die for the cause since he helped Buffy deactivate the Seal of Danthazar. Anya, on the other hand, is unsure whether to join the fight. For the most part, she is unimpressed with "screwed up and selfish" human behavior. But she has noticed that they fight hard when things are important, so she will fight, too. Anya kills several Turok-han, saving Andrew, then stabs a Bringer. Another Bringer slips up behind her and slices her in two. She dies instantly. Andrew survives.

Wood and Giles also fight in the hallways of the school. Wood gets wounded by a sword. Giles guides the ex-Principal and other survivors to the get-away bus when the school starts to collapse.

Spike watches when Angel gives Buffy the crystal amulet and explains how it is to be used. Spike knows Buffy will need someone to wield this weapon against the First. But he doesn't claim the amulet and the job of using it to impress Buffy or to make her love him. Spike is already convinced that Buffy will never love him in the way he wants her to. In claiming the amulet, Spike is making a choice to do good for the sake of doing good. He isn't sure if he has what it takes to be a champion, but he's ready to find out. Spike descends into the caverns of the Hellmouth wearing the amulet. When it starts its destructive glow, he realizes what the amulet does, and what wielding it will likely do to him. Buffy doesn't want him to die, but Spike insists on seeing the job through. He proves himself worthy.

A champion is one that is willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good of everyone else. Hero, champion... each Scooby and each member of Angel Investigations is in their own way a champion, a hero. ...We may watch a show about heroes and champions, but we get them warts, amulets, souls and all (Rufus, 5/21/03 3:09).

More on what the amulet does

After Faith recovers from the explosion in the sewers, she blames herself for leading the girls into the trap. But Buffy defends Faith's choice. Faith had to make a difficult decision about how to battle the First Evil. Faith has now learned the loneliness of being the Chosen One, the one everyone looks to for leadership. But Faith already knows something about loneliness. All her life, she has kept people, especially men, at arm's length. Robin Wood would like to get to know her better. He believes her dismissive attitude comes from being a Slayer--she shares the tendency he's seen in Buffy and his own mother to emotionally isolate themselves from others. He asks Faith to give him a chance if they survive the coming battle. There are many nice men, like him, that would surprise her. After the battle, Wood pretends to die from his injuries. Faith realizes she cares for him. Wood opens his eyes. Surprise!

The moral ambiguity of Angel and Spike

Philosophies Represented in "End of Days/Chosen"

Feminism and Power

Buffy has tried to combat the First by cutting herself off from everybody else, stifling her emotions, making herself cold and hard. ...she is preparing herself for the deaths of her friends and the Potentials. ...How will Buffy get over these feelings of separation and loneliness? The answer ends up being so pure and beautiful in its simplicity: Buffy will share her power with others. She doesn't need to be the only one bearing the weight of the world on her shoulders. ...This idea ...makes perfect sense with the mythology of the series, allows Buffy to finally reach the peace she's always longed for, and speaks to the themes of female empowerment that have always run through the series. ...Buffy has never been one for prophecy and has never been willing to play by the ancient rules. She is the first slayer to fire the Council, ...and now completely overthrows any patriarchal hold and control the Watchers and Shadowmen ever had on the Slayers. She uses the Slayer power that the female Guardians had harnessed to protect the Slayer and shatters the old rule that a bunch of old men made up, that there could only be one Slayer in the world (Rob 5/21/03 11:45).

Buffy has decided to find a way to give the potentials the choice she never had....the choice to fight but on a more equal footing that their potential status has never allowed a girl to fight before. I've seen posts on other boards arguing that Buffy was being just as bad as the Shadow Men but I disagree....one thing Buffy can't change is the fact that all over the world certain girls have already been chosen to be a potential slayer. Earlier in the season we saw that each girl was being murdered as they had no chance to fight back. Buffy wants to change that. It's all about power, and power is something that people can feel protective of, want to keep to themselves. Part of the problem between Buffy and Faith was not the fact that they were Slayers but just girls who allowed jealousy and fear keep them isolated from each other. Faith said that perhaps the reason they couldn't get along was that there was only to be one Slayer....but Buffy finally figured out that sometimes to be powerful you have to be willing to give away some power to become better than you were before (Rufus, 5/21/03 3:09).

More thoughts on Feminism in "Chosen"

Buffy: identity and destiny

Buffy has long tried to create a stable relationship with a man, but so far hasn't succeeded. It was tempting to conclude that there was something wrong with her--but now she believes that isn't so. She simply isn't ready for that kind of relationship yet, and there's nothing wrong with not being ready. Buffy is still trying to find out who she is as an individual. Defining herself in relation to an ever-present somebody else--Angel, Riley, Spike--only complicates that personal discovery. Buffy believes she will be ready for a long-term relationship when she's done her journey of self-discovery.

And the journey has only just begun. Willow's spell has changed the realities of Buffy's life. Now Potential Slayers are born with their slayer powers already activated. Buffy is no longer the Chosen "One". She has the freedom to discover who she is beyond her responsibilities as "The Slayer". And she's looking forward to this new adventure.

Are you ready to make choices, rather than having your destiny thrust upon you? ...it's pretty much the same old question Buffy has been tormented with since Prophecy Girl. Sacrificial lamb, Iphigenia, Andromeda.the sacrificed girls. ...the theme of Buffy's constant loneliness was taken away. Finally, it's not just one girl in all the world. The world doesn't revolve around her anymore (literally, BtVS is finished) and what a relief it is. It finally relieves both Buffy's superiority complex, and her inferiority one (Rahael 05-29-2003 16:11).


Thanks to Joss Whedon for seven wonderful seasons!


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This page last modified 10/02/03


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