Guest Starring: 
 Anthony Stewart Head: 
 Danny Strong: 
 Tom Lenk: 
 Steven W Bailey: 
 (Cave Demon) 
  22. Grave.  
  Willow, unable to control the dark magic she has released, fights off all the Scoobies and tries to destroy the world.  
  Great quotes:  
The magic box is destroyed.
  • Giles: "Sometimes the most adult thing you can do is to ask for help when you need it." Buffy: "Now you tell me!"
  • Spike: "Well that was a bloody doddle and a piece of piss."
  • Willow: "Willow doesn't live here any more..."
  • Willow: "You're [Buffy] always saving everyone. It's kinda pesky."
  • Anya: "Giles... thank a lot for coming, it was good of you to teleport all this way. Though with retrospect it would have been better if you hadn't come and given Willow all that magic and made her, like, 10 times more powerful. That would have been a plus."
  • Willow: "Is this the master plan? You're gonna stop me by telling me you love me?" Xander: "Well I was gonna walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil, but that seemed kinda cartoony."
  Fantastic moments:  
  • Giles' return to the magic shop, and his hugging of Buffy and Anya, is a beautiful moment. Giles then displays one of humanity's greatest traits when, after Buffy tells him of all the hurt and pain that's gone on this season (Dawn's kleptomania, Buffy sleeping with Spike, Anya and Xander's wedding failure, Buffy's rubbish job), he bursts out laughing.
  • Buffy
    Buffy and Dawn fight side by side.
    and Dawn get trapped in a crypt and are attacked by some kind of animated tree-root monsters. Buffy prepares to defend her sister, but then hands her a sword and asks for help. Finally Buffy affords Dawn the respect and responsibility she has always craved, and she responds in kind by pulling some class acrobatics and taking out a monster with cunning swordplay. "What? You think I never watched you?"
  • Dark Willow uses the same knife-throwing spell on Giles that she used on Glory last year. That spell is way cool!
  • After all is said and done, it is the power of love that saves the day. As Xander tells Willow that he loves her she is slowly brought back from her megalomania, she collapses in tears and he holds her in his arms. Now who can say fairer than that?
  • We all think the episode is done and dusted, but then we cut to Spike for the final scene. He has passed all the tests the demon has thrown at him and demands to be given what he went there to earn; "Very well, we will return your soul!" What!! Great plot twist.
  Duff Bits:  
  • Giles asks Buffy how Willow will be able to live with herself after killing someone. It's a good question, one that might be put to Giles given that he killed Ben in last season's finale.
  • The season finale has - as I have already pointed out - the sour taste of the big bad being 'bigger, badder and eviler' than last year's just for the sake of it. Even Dark Willow points this out when she says "... it's like no mortal has ever had this much power before." Yawn!
  • Alyson Hannigan does very well as evil Willow, but I would have preferred her to play Willow's dark side more like her evil vampire dominatrix self of season 3 instead of this 'I am all powerful' near godlike version we see here.
  Dean's comments:  
All you need is love.
After all the heartache, pain and despair that the sixth season of Buffy has wreaked upon the lives of its characters, the message that emerges is - in this world of cynicism - a brave one; as a Scouse working class hero once said, 'all you need is love'. Despite problems - as discussed above - with Willow having to be the biggest, baddest baddie yet; 'Grave' is all about humanity, love, hope and how these abstract ideals give everyone strength in times of dire crisis. Anya finds her humanity after thinking Giles has died, Buffy and Dawn finally realise their mutual love and respect despite all the cosmetic mother / teen feuds, while greatest of all is the loving friendship that Willow and Xander have. In 'Grave', Willow has reached the same conclusion about the world that Buffy had at the start of the season, that being that she would be better off without it. By the end of the episode both characters have, because of their love for another, had their worldview turned on its head. Buffy cries as she tells Dawn she wants to share the world with her sister rather than hide from it, Willow cries as she begins to experience the human pain of Tara's death for the first time. As Buffy and Dawn climb out of the crypt the sun rises on a new day, signifying hope and expectation of better things to come. Compare this to the last time Buffy clawed her way out of the ground with her bare hands. 'Grave' is by far the most open-ended season finale there ever was on BtVS, each of the characters having reached a turning point in their lives in which they are almost in a limbo state. Season 6 is, as a whole, the most thematically consistent and engaging of the 7 BtVS seasons. Even if the individual episodes are no where near the standards of second and third season classics, the issues dealt with are darker and therefore require more care and guts on the part of the production team in order for them not to appear corny in this science fiction setting. Thankfully Joss and the gang had everything under control, at no point could anyone accuse the series - which used to have more of a teen soap feel about it - of getting out of its depth. One last point, Xander - the carpenter - saves the world. A subtext of Christian mythology perhaps?
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