In the tenth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I AM SO READY FOR THE ROLLERCOASTER RIDE THAT IS THIS SEASON. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.
I am onboard the S.S. Buffy Season Seven AND I WILL FUCKING GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. I have not a single complaint about the direction of this story. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem with this, or that you aren’t entitled to disliking it, though. It’s a matter of taste, and in terms of what I like, I’m so into the callbacks to previous seasons, the use of a Big Bad who seems so huge and unbeatable that it puts the threat of Glory to shame (but does not upstage Glory BECAUSE I LOVE GLORY WITH EVERY OUNCE OF MY HEART), and because Buffy’s and Spike’s stories are REALLY, REALLY GOOD. The thing is, this feels massive. This feels like the final story that this show needs to tell. For six years prior, the Scoobies have been battle evil things or ideas. And now, in their final match, they’re going up against the source. The reason. The motivation. The be-all, end-all origin of everything they have fought against.
I dunno. I guess I like sweeping statements of grandeur at times. And this sure is one hell of a sweeping notion about the source of all evil.
I want a thematic list, and I really want to stick to it this time.
Here Are All of the Things In “Bring on the Night” That I Really Love With Most of My Heart (Given That I Must Save Some of My Heart At All Times For My Super Hot Boyfriend and For Dana Scully)
- The name of this episode is a fucking challenge. I don’t know what the writers or Joss intended with it, but by the time that final monologue rolled around, it felt so intentional. Buffy is telling the force of all evil to BRING. IT. ON. Love. I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS.
- I know it’s not actually Drusilla, but everyone, I missed Drusilla so much, and even if it’s The First pretending to be her, Juliet Landau’s presence just made this episode special to me.
- Dawn and Anya’s utter excitement at interrogating Andrew gives me life. Honestly, it’s so rare to see unbridled joy on this show anymore that I will cling to it like a life preserver.
- Oh god, EVERYTHING WITH PRINCIPAL WOOD. I mean, I hate it because I JUST WANT HIM TO BE GOOD, but now he’s intrinsically involved with this mess, so that means MORE OF D.B. WOODSIDE AND HIS PERFECTLY SCULPTURED FACIAL HAIR. But just in terms of his character, the writers are doing one hell of a job keeping his true motivations ambiguous. Is he evil? Is he merely possessed? Does he have an ulterior motive? I don’t know anything.
- THE ENTIRE SCENE WITH WILLOW’S LOCATOR SPELL. Like, here is a very direct way to deal with the fact that Willow is reluctant to do magic at all, and now I get to see exactly why this might be the worst idea ever. As soon as she turned all dark, I knew that this was probably going to be the last time she used magic for a long time. If the First is as powerful as we’ve seen, then Willow using magic is far too risky.
- Hello, Giles, I have missed you so much. SO MUCH.
- May this day be designated as a holy celebration. I GOT A PREDICTION RIGHT. POTENTIAL SLAYERS!!! OH MY GOD, I WAS ACTUALLY RIGHT. I WAS PREPARED FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE.
- Killing the ENTIRE line of Slayers. Ha. HAHAHA. OH GOD I AM LAUGHING TO KEEP FROM SOBBING. Every single possible Slayer? Oh my god, it’s so fucked up.
- (This parenthetical is me acknowledging that while my brain did call FOUL at this plot because how have we never known that the Watchers Council knew who could become a Slayer and also, if you spend five seconds thinking about this, it’s kind of a mess (WHY ARE ALL THE POTENTIAL SLAYERS THE SAME AGE), but as I said, I am willing to see this through. Personally, I enjoy this idea, and it entertains me. However, I am about 0% willing to defend this plot to anyone else. If you don’t like it, I totally get it.)
- Three Potentials! All with different personalities! I like Kennedy. She is sassy. MORE KENNEDY.
- “AMENDS.” That’s the episode I couldn’t remember! Those robe guys, the Harbingers of Death, were from that story. Oh my god, I NEVER THOUGHT I’D SEE THEM AGAIN. Exactly four seasons ago, The First were actually named. My head can’t cope with this. This isn’t even some terrible retcon. THEY WERE THERE THE WHOLE TIME.
- So, I’m terrified of the Turok-Han? Like Glory, they’re a villain who seem unbeatable. Later, they’ll provide Buffy with the motivation to give that tear-inducing speech, but what makes the Turok-Han we see here so scary is that I don’t feel like Buffy has much of a chance. We don’t know if these original vampires even have a weakness. I imagine they must, since they died off. Something must have killed them, right? If it’s not staking, will Buffy have to trick it into the sunlight? Cut off its head? I DON’T KNOW.
- While I certainly enjoy Juliet Landau’s return to Buffy, I was just as intrigued by her scenes because of Spike’s story. If anything, his torture at the hands of The First provided me with a chance to see what effect having a soul would have on Spike. It’s not that the old Spike wouldn’t have done something for Buffy, but his choice – and the existence of free will, to choose something moral and good – is the centerpiece of this plot. If Spike really wants redemption for what he’s done, then he has to constantly choose to do something good. Whether that’s out of love for Buffy or the desire to be good (it’s probably both), this is the only way he’s going to do it. Plus, now I get to see what Buffy’s offering of faith did for Spike. IT GAVE HIM HOPE AND A REASON TO PRESS ON. This is fantastic. I love it.
- JOYCE TOUCHED BUFFY. JOYCE TOUCHED BUFFY. I’m calling it. She’s corporeal. SHE IS NOT THE FIRST. She can’t be at this point, can she? Unless that was a mistake, which… ugh, maybe I just want there to be a spiritual force for good, and it pains me to think that the image of Joyce is being used to manipulate Dawn and Buffy. HEEEELLLPPP, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ANYMORE.
- Of all three Potential Slayers that Giles brought with him, Annabelle was the last one I thought would run away. WELL. That sucks.
- Buffy’s battle with the Turok-Han visually reminds me of the final battle with Glory. It’s brutal, it takes place in an industrial setting, and the entire time, you never feel like Buffy can win. I kept waiting for that moment when Buffy would find a weakness to exploit, and I thought CRUSHING IT WITH STEAL BEAMS would work, but nope. Yeah, that’s scary.
- (An aside that clearly doesn’t fit in this list, but when have I ever stayed on topic? Why doesn’t the Turok-Han kill Buffy? It just leaves her there. Huh?)
- I just… everyone. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You know this. But I fucking love Buffy Summers. After all the shit she has been through, all the pain and misery, after facing perhaps the most unbeatable evil in all of existence and getting her ass kicked, she comes out of the shadows of her own house, covered in bruises and cuts, and tells her friends that SHE IS DECLARING WAR. There will be no waiting around until the final moment. No hiding. No running. The time is now.
I love this episode so much. Oh my god, I can’t wait to see more.
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