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How could Willow's arc have been altered this season?

slayer730

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This season for Willow is arguably feels like her biggest and gives her the opportunity to shine with one of her most defining arcs. On paper, the arc hits a lot of interesting points, but as far as execution certain things seem disjointed.

For example, magic was written as a metaphor for drug addiction rather than a neutral substance that should be used responsibly. Because of this the writers wrote a relapse moment with her powers coming into a halt in episode 10 out of a 22 episode season. It wasn't until 9 episodes later she cut loose again and really gave us a taste of something interesting with the infamous Dark Willow finale arc.

With all of this in mind, how do you guys think Willow's arc could have been edited to make it so her ultimate climax didn't happen so early in the season but instead at the very end? The obvious change that would have to take place would be getting rid of the metaphor, but from there Willow would have to have something to do between episodes 9 -18. Any thoughts?
 

thrasherpix

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Rather than magic = drugs, I think they should've written it so that there was A magic drug that could increase magical power, but at the cost of addiction (which also means that her innate abilities are weakened, needing the drug to function, causing her to want more of the drug). She'd still be introduced to this drug by Amy and Rack. (Amy would use the drug in part to match Willow, but might introduce it to Willow once she realizes the long term detrimental effect it has, even as she fights her own addiction to it. That is, jealousy could motivate her actions, much as they did in season 7. That Willow left her a rat for so long would also annoy Amy.)

Tara would lose a lot of her preachiness (though Willow altering her memories fits and could be a separate issue that Tara calls her out on). Once she realizes how the drug is weakening her rather than empowering her, she could work to rebuild her abilities without the drug, but when Tara dies, she loses it all, no longer caring about her long term future.
 
AnthonyCordova
AnthonyCordova
That's a thought

DeadlyDuo

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Given that magic was used as a metaphor for the growing relationship between Willow and Tara in Season 4, it was a bad idea to then use it as a drug addiction metaphor in Season 6 as it retroactively makes it look like Tara was the one who got Willow into heavier magic/drug use then was hypocritical by getting on her high horse about it. Also an addict has to stay away from their addictive substance for life, not just jump back in as and when it is needed.

The issue was that Willow was constantly using magic because she was too lazy to do things the non-magic way. Becoming too reliant on magic is one thing and could still fritz out from overuse but to make the magic a drug is just bad writing.

I like the idea @thrasherpix said.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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I think if Rack had been given an wizard gimmick, like Willow is trying to get forbidden knowledge or spells from him, or he's one of Buffy's enemies, it would have felt more like a story rather than an after school special.
 

slayer730

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Rather than magic = drugs, I think they should've written it so that there was A magic drug that could increase magical power, but at the cost of addiction (which also means that her innate abilities are weakened, needing the drug to function, causing her to want more of the drug). She'd still be introduced to this drug by Amy and Rack. (Amy would use the drug in part to match Willow, but might introduce it to Willow once she realizes the long term detrimental effect it has, even as she fights her own addiction to it. That is, jealousy could motivate her actions, much as they did in season 7. That Willow left her a rat for so long would also annoy Amy.)

Tara would lose a lot of her preachiness (though Willow altering her memories fits and could be a separate issue that Tara calls her out on). Once she realizes how the drug is weakening her rather than empowering her, she could work to rebuild her abilities without the drug, but when Tara dies, she loses it all, no longer caring about her long term future.
I actually like this idea a lot because its a pretty simple edit. The concept of "magic" as a neutral entity that is good or bad dependent on the person's usage rather than magic itself implied to be inherently bad. At the same time you could still maintain the general idea of addiction via magical "power boosters"

I'm a little confused as to the role you're saying Amy and Tara would play during Willow's journey though at certain points. I'm all for Amy staying longer in the season, but i'm not sure what would make Amy jealous of Willow? her natural gift to where she's much better than her at magic? The motivation for Amy being against Willow always never made sense to me because she turned herself into a rat and its not Willow's fault she couldn't find a solution.

As far as Tara being less preachy i'm not opposed to that, but what would she be doing in between her breakup time with Willow? I know it would give Willow extra motivation to go on a rampage once she died if Tara was the one who started to help Willow become not addicted to darker substances.
 

thrasherpix

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I'm a little confused as to the role you're saying Amy and Tara would play during Willow's journey though at certain points. I'm all for Amy staying longer in the season, but i'm not sure what would make Amy jealous of Willow? her natural gift to where she's much better than her at magic? The motivation for Amy being against Willow always never made sense to me because she turned herself into a rat and its not Willow's fault she couldn't find a solution.

As far as Tara being less preachy i'm not opposed to that, but what would she be doing in between her breakup time with Willow? I know it would give Willow extra motivation to go on a rampage once she died if Tara was the one who started to help Willow become not addicted to darker substances.
Amy was shown as jealous of Willow's power in season 7, which is why she cursed Willow (having her turn into Warren, more or less). She could start off jealous in season 6, and realizing she's losing her power to the drug could make her even more desperate to knock Willow down a peg by dragging Willow down with her. Amy could be mad at being a rat so long because Willow, with all her power, COULD have found a way to turn her back rather than waiting until Willow got bored and lonely. And it's not like people need rational reasons to hate or be mad at someone.

As for Tara, if they keep the mind control in (though a separate issue) then it can still play out about the same.
 

slayer730

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Amy was shown as jealous of Willow's power in season 7, which is why she cursed Willow (having her turn into Warren, more or less). She could start off jealous in season 6, and realizing she's losing her power to the drug could make her even more desperate to knock Willow down a peg by dragging Willow down with her. Amy could be mad at being a rat so long because Willow, with all her power, COULD have found a way to turn her back rather than waiting until Willow got bored and lonely. And it's not like people need rational reasons to hate or be mad at someone.

As for Tara, if they keep the mind control in (though a separate issue) then it can still play out about the same.
I'm going to have to rewatch the Amy episode for season 7 as well as the episodes where she came back in season 6 because the jealousy thing from my memory feels random. Having her start off as jealous in season 6 like you said would make more sense but I think thar emotion could also be a side effect of the drugs.

The mind control issue as the basis for Tara would work, but then I think you'd have to either go back and have her be absent from the resurrection spell or still keep her there and give a justified reason as to why she would participate because a large part of her character had very much been about not crossing lines that violated the natural order. Perhaps Willow could have had a spell similar to the one for mind control where Tara would be more inclined to agree and participate with her
 

Btvs fan

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The original story was Willow falling evil due to a lust for power, which was down to her insecurities /ego making her want more and more.
Instead they turned her from the instigator in her story into the passive. She is addicted to magics, it's not her fault, shes not to blame. It ruined up until a brilliant 5 year development of a character. Basically what Anakin Skywalker shouldve been in the Prequels. Instead we got the cop out magic addiction crap
 

vampmogs

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My biggest change would be to get rid of the magic = drugs storyline entirely. It was completely unnecessary and it was a really poor piece of world-building. We'd seen Willow use magic for 3-4 seasons now and never had it been depicted as if it were a drug (the closest we came to this as in "The Dark Age" where Ripper and Co summoned Eyhgon for a rush - but that was one particular spell) so for it to be all of a sudden this addictive substance was completely out of the blue. I mean, Willow was literally having withdrawal symptoms in "Wrecked", which was just ridiculous. And the way they suddenly depicted Amy as some crack!addict when she broke into Buffy's home was so OOC and OTT.

If they wanted to have Willow go dark, they could have kept her on the same path they were heading in Season 1-5. Show her begin to abuse her power without having to reduce her to an addict. It was unnecessary. Furthermore, I thought it was really unfair to her how they were encouraging her to do big powerful spells in "The Gift" and then a mere 3 episodes later they act as if she's being irresponsible and dangerous because she wants to do a locator spell to track down whoever sent the M'Fashnik demon after Buffy. I mean, using a locator spell to track down The Trio could have literally put an end to their plans right there and then and would have actually been a perfectly valid and responsible use of magic, but Giles glares at Willow disapprovingly and they subsequently shoot themselves in the foot by sitting on their hands and doing nothing.

I don't have any problems with a storyline wherein Willow went dark. I do think Season 6 as a whole was borderline character-bashing, though. You can't just switch up the entire mythology of magic and then start criticising Willow because she's continued to use magic like she always has for the past 4 seasons. Sorry she didn't get the memo guys and didn't realise suddenly magic was like meth and candles "like bongs" *sigh* Someone should've really filled her in.
 

Tank1978

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I think one of the issues with Amy in s7 was that she felt the scoobies were being hypocritical about willow. They all rallied round her and helped her get her life back on track after she killed a human and tried to end the world. Contrast this to buffys reaction to anya after she killed those college kids. After 3 years being a rat and probably being fairly lonely before/after the rat time (she didn't seem to have many friends pre-rat and then was totally out of the loop from season 6 onwards). Amy seemed to imply she deserved more help to readjust after she came back but also felt it unfair how willow and spike both get chances to redeem themselves after killing humans but others don't. Kind of "if your face fits" sort of situation. I may be wrong but turning willow into Warren may have been Amy's way of dispensing justice on willow after what she did at end of s6.
 
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