‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: The Dark Willow Arc

10May07
“Villains”

  • HATE the Dark Willow storyline. And what a boring start to the mini-arc this episode provides. Thanks a lot, Marti Noxon. I really tend to dislike the episodes that you write. Oh, that’s right. I went there.
  • I hate the mislead of Buffy’s shooting that allows Willow not to tell Xander and Buffy about Tara’s death until 20 minutes into the episode. Everyone knows that Buffy won’t die — all the shooting does is prevent someone from sharing significant information with their friends, as all television characters tend to annoyingly do.
  • I really like post-“Hell’s Bells” Anya, and I love that she shows compassion and tries to dissuade Willow from draining the black arts books.
  • I hate that Willow shows up at the hospital to heal Buffy and that she changed into more appropriately evil clothing. (She uses her white, blood-spattered shirt later in the episode to find Warren. Why couldn’t she change then?) I would find Dark Willow, um, darker and more convincing if she had immediately pursued Warren. She could have saved Buffy when she walks out of the Summers’ house as Buffy is being taken to the hospital and then went on her merry, “I’m going to kill Warren” way. But, again, ideally Buffy would not have been shot because, hello! We know that she won’t die.
  • And speaking of inappropriate hair and wardrobe changes, Buffy takes the time to curl her hair when she knows that Willow is trying to find Warren to kill him? I hate how Buffy, Dawn, and Xander sit around and discuss the ethics of murderer killing and where Dawn can hide when, again, Willow is trying to find Warren AND KILL HIM.
  • I’m sorry to say it, but I hate Alyson Hannigan’s acting choices as Dark Willow, especially in this episode. She was so great as Vamp Willow in season three that viewers expect a lot from an evil Willow. But I think that she did not want to retread Vamp Willow’s gleeful, sexy evilness. Because Willow finally relinquishes her dark magic with an outpouring of emotion caused by connecting with her humanity, I suspect that Alyson chose to play Dark Willow as suppressing all emotion. But she comes across as lifeless and boring rather than menacing. I like her portrayal better in “Two to Go,” but all the characters keep saying that Willow is running on fury and I think the fury would have been a lot more interesting. We rarely get to see Willow really angry.

“Two to Go”

  • I hate that Dark Willow chooses to go after Andrew and Jonathan. They didn’t do anything to her, and I really doubt that Willow would care. I know I don’t. Well, about Andrew at least.
  • I hate the incredibly useless and inept Sunnydale police who wave their guns at a woman tearing bricks from the side of their building and then wave their guns around again when she levitates above their heads. And why didn’t Willow just walk up to Jonathan and Andrew’s cell? Is she that big on the showmanship?
  • I hate the car chase. What exactly was Willow’s big plan? Bump them to death?
  • I hate that Buffy doesn’t let Jonathan help translate the anti-magic spell, especially since he helped her in “Seeing Red.” And what motivation would he have to screw himself over?
  • I like the scene with Dark Willow and Rack. Rack? So creepy. The sexual tension between Rack and Willow is palpable and Rack’s repeated line about Willow tasting of strawberries implies that he uses her like a drug dealer uses a “strawberry.” That she reverses their roles and “rapes” him ups the creep factor considerably.
  • I love the scene in which Dark Willow threatens to turn Dawn back into energy. Alyson Hannigan is at her creepiest and I actually buy Dark Willow as a threat.
  • I love the fight between Dark Willow and Buffy, mainly because I am a champion of all things Willow and Buffy gets on my nerves. A lot. And Sarah Michelle Gellar seems like kind of a diva.
  • I hate the “get off, super bitch” line. I suppose Doug Petrie is trying to recall Warren calling Buffy “super bitch” in “Seeing Red” to…I don’t know. Draw a parallel between murderer and victim? Maybe.
  • I hate that Anya is hiding in such plain sight doing the anti-magic spell. The Magic Box has a basement, you know, Anya. You who co-owns the shop.
  • Anthony Stewart Head is so sexy.

“Grave”

  • I hate that Xander, Dawn, Andrew, and Jonathan’s strategy to elude Dark Willow is walking sorta quickly.
  • I hate that Xander derides himself for usually being so good at running. What? Xander never runs away to an almost irritating extent. He is idiotically brave.
  • Like “You’re always saving everyone. It’s kinda pesky.” Hate the “Fly, my pretty, fly” and “See what I did there?” lines. Who wrote this crap for Dark Willow? Why did the writers make her so chatty? Didn’t they learn from Adam and Glory that talky villains just aren’t that menacing? Oh, yeah. The First. I guess not.
  • Uh, why did Willow’s green blobs of whatever energy she fires at the temple have to come out of her boobs?
  • Oh, and the yellow crayon speech? Aly and Nick do some good acting, but how trite is that crap? And really, Joss? The evil lesbian has to be stopped by heterosexual man-love?
  • And the maudlin continues with Buffy promising to show Dawn the world and the montage under “Prayer for St. Francis.” The dulcet sounds of Sarah McLachlan worked at the end of “Becoming, Part Two,” but they ain’t working here.
  • Man. The only two characters who don’t annoy me in this episode are Anya and Giles. If only they had made out!
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