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My thoughts on season 6

Mehansa

Townie
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
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40
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UK
Tbh with everyone, season 6 to me is utterly boring. Episode 1- 5 held my interest only because of the journey and character development Buffy was going through. I thought it was incredibly selfish of the scoobies to even bring back Buffy because they think she is in hell. Which basically comes across as they don't care for Buffy but what can Buffy do for them.
I loved 'once more with feeling' because all characters reveal what each of them have been hiding deep down. Which was really interested. The other episodes that I enjoyed in this season was 'double meat palace' & episode 16 to 19.

For me at beginning I liked Spike until he attempted to rape Buffy. He was really understanding in the beginning and he was the only one who knew that she from heaven until 'Once more with Feeling'. However, he used Buffy's depression to manipulate and basically assault her through the season.

I used to love Giles all the way up to season 6. He basically gave Buffy money and told her that her feelings doesn't matter and dipped. I always saw Giles as Buffy's father figure, but he proved himself to be exactly like her actual dad.

Willow's arc in season 6 was pretty stupid too cause she basically get high and gets dawn almost killed. I feel like the writers handled Willow badly.

Xander, I absolutely hate Xander for what he did to Anya. It wasn't right. However, I do like Xander's character development throughout season 6.

Finally, the Big Bad were just some nerds without a life trying to hurt the one person that has looked out for them. The trio shouldn't even be considered a big bad. Warren just used a gun to try and kill Buffy, but couldn't even do that properly cause he misses and kills Tara instead. In the beginning the trio was playing childish pranks on Buffy. All I say is set Angelus on the trio and lets see who is the best Big Bad.
 

fauxindigo

Scooby
Joined
Feb 6, 2017
Messages
704
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34
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New York
I love love love Season 6 but I'm kind of emo. I think you're point is fair that Willow & Xander's desire for Buffy being alive again overshadowed their consideration that she might be at peace in heaven.. If Willow really wanted to investigate where Buffy's essence/soul went after she jumped into the portal, she very well could have astral projected or traversed dimensions I'm sure.. but she chose instead to just resurrect Buffy. And the fact that they buried Buffy's body; it did not disappear through the portal also should've tipped them off that she probably wasn't stuck in some hell dimension.

Your points about Spike & Giles are also fair. However, I think both of their plot lines about Giles leaving Buffy in order for her to grow more independent and... falling into an abusive "relationship" with Spike tell important and timeless stories. They're not pleasant but they're realistic and moving. And anything but boring imo.

Willow's storyline was also very hard but poignant however I agree it could've been drawn out much better, especially in the final three episodes.

Xander leaving Anya at the altar is probably my least favorite element of the season (close to the Trio), even if I do love the idea of Anya becoming a vengeance demon again, that still could've happened down the line if Xander & Anya fell into the marriage=hell metaphor that I always WISHED the writers did. There could've been some demon temptress (maybe another vengeance demon) that got Xander to cheat on Anya, which led to Anya turning evil again. The way they fell apart just seemed very haphazard.

For your final point, I'd love to see Angelus snap Warrens neck and bite/drain Andrew.. and let Jonathan get away.
 

Btvs fan

Scooby
Joined
Feb 11, 2019
Messages
1,118
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38
People always talk about how deep S6 is. Even Joss to this day says he loves it, yet to me its got some of the most juvenile writing Iv seen. Magic is crack I mean common !!!

Joss going into full gas lighting mode with some of the stuff he does in this season.
Fans make excuses for him because he wasn't on set as much but he still had say on scripts and inserted scenes into episodes when he wanted like the Balcony scene in Dead Things.

His blatant moaning in OMWF about still doing Buffy (going through the motions etc) loses stuff as it was his choice to move to UPN for 2 years and pick up that pay check.

I also find OMWF to be grossly overrated on 2nd viewing. Essentially a bunch of actors are trying to sing with mixed results. And why does Xander summon Sweet again and why does he not feel any remorse for the people Sweet killed ?

Normal Again is a true ego driven failure of writing. At the time of airing the writers had to go online and assure fans that no it wasn't all in Buffys head. That is a writing failure no to ways about it

You've also got As You Were a straight up character fan fic by writers.

While Double Meat Palace was both juvenile (oh look a penis monster) and quite nasty with the Middle class writer mocking of Fast Food workers.
And stuff like joyless sex in an Alley, I mean commin what is the message they are trying to say here?

There's also stuff like Gone where you've got Invisible Buffy fighting Invisible needs, so all the audience sees is a blank screen. I mean that's just lazy TV making.


Willows 5 year arc was ruined to make her the victim so she is no longer making her own choices. And if rumours are true its due to Alyson Hannigan asking and getting things changed. The Mind rapes by Willow never get addressed.

Buffy brutally beating Spike to a pulp and leaving him in the street. This more than anything else made Buffy unsympathetic or made Spike more sympathetic anyway.

Spike character is incredibly inconsistent albiet its pulled off by James Marsters fantastic performance. God knows how he came back from the AR but he did.

Dawn had no plot or role past the Gift. This season her whole role is to provide Michelle Tractenberg a payday.

Giles left because ASH left. He was tired of being exposition guy. But like Hank Summers it was easier to write him out than in.

Anya up until Hells Bells has been comic relief since S3. Vengeance Demon Anya is the Anya we needed.

Xander ... meh I'm guessing Brendons real life issues were starting to take effect on screen by the end. That said up until then he's just a douche bag.
 
fauxindigo
fauxindigo
I highly disagree with so much of this.
DeadlyDuo
DeadlyDuo
I agree with most of your points.

Athene

Scooby
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
2,375
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20
Sineya
Yes - I think season 6 is the worst season. I deeply care for Buffy and it was hard for me to watch how Spike treated her when she was clearly struggling mentally. When Spike found out he could hit Buffy, he hit her and told her there was something wrong with her. That's clear manipulation. Not to mention when he told her she belonged in the dark with him and started touching her while she stated into space and looked like she wanted to kill herself. Buffy didn't say no but it looked like she wanted to. And the fact that it's framed as empowerment for Buffy is the worst thing about it.
I get what the show was going for with life as the big bad but it wasn't written well enough for such a big topic.
I like Dawn and Xander's part of the story, I love Once More With Feeling, Hells Bells and Normal Again. But overall you have the trio which lack any sort of art and the episode 'All The Way' which is probably the most forgettable episode in the show.
 

AstridDante

Potential
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May 4, 2020
Messages
200
Age
41
I enjoyed Season 6. It was dark and dealt with issues that face young adults, depression, addiction, unhealthy relationships. Wasn’t a huge fan of musical episode as I generally just find that a bit out of place or kooky but I can respect what Joss was going for. Hated doublemeat palace, I always think of that as a filler episode. I thought the Spike and Buffy relationship was well handled, it was painful and a learning process and changed them both forever. They both treated each other like sh*t which is disappointing when you see the friendship they were starting to build in early Season 6. However, I don’t think Spike assaulted Buffy throughout. It was consensual and they both invariably used each other up until Seeing Red where it is clearly assault. He did play on her weakness/vulnerability but not out of malice, I think so he could keep her with him but he was definitely hurting her. She used him for sex knowing he believed or hoped it would turn into something more and knowing he was in love with her. I agree on Giles, in his defence however, I think he thought he was doing right by her by letting her stand on her own and not be dependent on him. However she still needed him and he was a pseudo father figure and he effectively abandoned her when she needed that the most. I don’t think their relationship recovered. Willow’s arc was ok. I thought the magic/drug addiction was a bit heavy handed. I liked Dark Willow as a result of losing Tara. The nerd trio, I actually liked as they juxtaposed against a heavy dark season about growing up. However Warren I felt was a good character while on the face of it seemingly a nuisance and harmless, he demonstrated lack of empathy, ruthlessness and misogyny and ultimately caused a lot of damage
 

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
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I really like S6 and disagree with most of the criticisms levied against it. It is easily the strongest of the UPN seasons. Bargaining is my favourite episode ever. People forget how funny, playful and vibrant the season is. Of course, there is a lot of sad and depressing stuff, but I think that is very well done. Unlike the previous season (and season 2), season 6 ends with a switch towards optimism.
 

Athene

Scooby
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Sineya
For me the thing that stops me saying it was both ways is the fact that Buffy never leads Spike on, she never says okay Spike I love you that's why I'm having sex with you and I'm going to treat you right and show you to my friends. Anytime that Spike asks in so many words if she cares for him, Buffy says in so many words that she doesn't e.g. "Do you even like me?", "Sometimes" "Do you trust me?", "Never" and "Why won't you sleep with me again?", "Because I don't love you". And that's the catalyst of their confrontation in Seeing Red- Spike is telling Buffy she loved him when they had sex. But in reality that's 100% Spike reading into Buffy and her actions (incorrectly imo). It's basically blaming Buffy for not living up to expectations that Spike created in his mind, Buffy never really offered it he was just an escape.
 

Faded90

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For me the thing that stops me saying it was both ways is the fact that Buffy never leads Spike on, she never says okay Spike I love you that's why I'm having sex with you and I'm going to treat you right and show you to my friends. Anytime that Spike asks in so many words if she cares for him, Buffy says in so many words that she doesn't e.g. "Do you even like me?", "Sometimes" "Do you trust me?", "Never" and "Why won't you sleep with me again?", "Because I don't love you". And that's the catalyst of their confrontation in Seeing Red- Spike is telling Buffy she loved him when they had sex. But in reality that's 100% Spike reading into Buffy and her actions (incorrectly imo). It's basically blaming Buffy for not living up to expectations that Spike created in his mind, Buffy never really offered it he was just an escape.
I agree, Buffy is painfully honest with Spike that it’s just sex and that’s all it ever will be. We even see him surprised that they’re even having a conversation at one point. Buffy emphatically tells him on multiple occasions that she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t love him. He has full knowledge of all of this and is capable of ending it if it isn’t enough for him

I think the problem is some want it to be a romantic relationship and believe that Buffy wants to be with him. She doesn’t, Spike isn’t entitled to her and isn’t entitled to a full relationship. She makes it clear all she’s offering (sex) and it’s up to him whether he accepts that or not
 
Athene
Athene
I think a lot of the time things that Spike says (particularly about Buffy) are just taken to be fact when in reality it's kust Spike's opinion.

AstridDante

Potential
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I agree she doesn’t lead him on that what they had was going to turn into something more but at the same time she knew he wasn’t coming from the same page, she knew he was madly in love with her and ultimately treating him that way, sleeping with him under those circumstances is not really fair to him and it is not in keeping with her own moral code. If they were both just looking for fun, that would be different. I also think Spike sadly deluded himself in some ways in thinking that sex/passion equals love and Buffy clearly corrects him on this that while she does have feelings for him, that is not her definition of lasting love
 
Athene
Athene
Yeah I see why Spike- as a soulless being- couldn't register with what Buffy's telling him plainly but that's still on him at the end of the day.

Faded90

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I agree, Buffy is painfully honest with Spike that it’s just sex and that’s all it ever will be. We even see him surprised that they’re even having a conversation at one point. Buffy emphatically tells him on multiple occasions that she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t love him. He has full knowledge of all of this and is capable of ending it if it isn’t enough for him

I think the problem is some want it to be a romantic relationship and believe that Buffy wants to be with him. She doesn’t, Spike isn’t entitled to her and isn’t entitled to a full relationship. She makes it clear all she’s offering (sex) and it’s up to him whether he accepts that or not
@Athene i agree. There tends to be a lot of ‘Spike understands Buffy’ when most things he projects on to her ends up being proven to be wrong. She finally sets him right on this in Never Leave Me

The same as the ‘death wish’ thing seems to be taken as fact and that’s why he beat the other two slayers as Buffy had ties when they didn’t. We know that actually they DID have ties and they didn’t have a death wish and wanted to lose, the Chinese slayer wanted to live for her Mother and Nikki wanted to live for Robin
 
Athene
Athene
Yeah the death wish thing and Spike speaking for Nikki by telling Robin she didn't love him really bothers me when it's taken as the truth.

Taake

Keeper of the Continuum Transfunctioner
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Black Thorn
I actually think Spike has a point about the death wish, because I think that kind of comes full circle in The Gift. Not that either of these Slayers were suicidal or in any way trying to lose a fight or didn't have anything for live for, I see it more as a battle fatigue kind of thing. In OMWF Giles sings "wish I could lay your arms down, and let you rest at least" which is kind of weird/sad as that is death for a Slayer (sad especially since Buffy is literally just back). You fight until you die. There is no rest. No vacation. You are active or you are dead (pre-season 7 obviously). When Buffy sacrifices herself for Dawn it is her way out. Again, not to be understood in a suicidal fashion, more as a way of giving up the burden of being a Slayer which - as after several years of being an active Slayer - Buffy by then knows will always be an existence crowded by difficult, impossible choices that take a lot out of you. Death, in a way, becomes a gift to a slayer-weary Slayer.

Post season 7, with more Slayer's active, the singular burden on the one active girl obviously lessens and she can share the responsibility, which changes the death wish theory significantly.

Anyway, season 6 is definitely not my favorite, but it is partly because I thought the show got so corny (like invisible rays, Willow's 'magic night' with Amy at the Bronze and stuff like that), it was always campy, but this felt different to me and I think of it as more or less separate from the rest of the show. It wobbles between dull and corny for me, but with moments of greatness (like Tabula Rasa).

- I like Willow's arc with the resurrection, the break up with Tara, and Dark Willow. But the actual addiction became weird and corny after that

- I hate the Trio. They should've been a 3-4 episode arc villain at most. I doubt I'll ever grow to like them. So yes, set Angelus upon them. Please.

- I'm not really fond of how Spuffy happens or rather, I'm not fond of how much focus it is given, and though I don't like watching the AR I've come to think of it as necessary, I just wish the aftermath in season 7 had been handled better.

- I like the Xander and Anya arc. I feel like they build up their fears and worries throughout the season and when he leaves her at the altar it makes sense. It is very sad, but I like it.

- Dawn. Dawn Dawn Dawn. Wasted potential Dawn. The klepto story was weaksauce. They should've given her a lot more plots showing her growing independent of Buffy. All the way was a good start, but it was also the stop of what could've been Dawn's blossoming into an interesting character.

- Giles. I hate that he leaves but honestly, *shame face* I Don't really miss him when he's gone. It is nice to have him back at the end though.

- Since I hate the Trio I'm not sure how Dark Willow could've happened without them, but I do like the Dark Willow plot.
 

Priceless

Scooby
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I adore season 6, but I understand it is very polarising and not to everyone's tastes. Of course I love the Spike/Buffy dynamic, how they are drawn together and repelled at the same time 'You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same' is just a perfect summation of their relationship.

There is a lot of negative emotion this season, and I enjoy seeing people go off the rails. Willow threatening Giles? OMG, just wonderful. Her becoming addicted to the power of magic has been coming almost from the moment Willow told Cordy to press that deliver button in season 1. Xander leaving Anya at the alter, Anya sleeping with Spike, Xander finally realising he has to grow up, all just great character growth that the show needed. Tara's death, Spike attempting to rape Buffy, Giles leaving, Buffy's depression; the scoobies are not children anymore.

I do see that there can be a monotony in misery and that' not what most people watch tv for. Season 6 is different from the previous 5 and fans can be forgiven for thinking the show has spun 180 degrees from where and what it had been.
 

TriBel

Scooby
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Jun 25, 2017
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I kinda enjoy S6...mostly for the reasons other people don't. 🙄 For that reason, I'm bouncing off what's been said above.

Tbh with everyone, season 6 to me is utterly boring. Episode 1- 5 held my interest only because of the journey and character development Buffy was going through.
Season 1-5 fail to hold my interest for exactly those reasons (scratch that - I like S5). 🙂 With the exception of a few episodes, they only become interesting to me retrospectively - that is, seen through the prism/perspective of S6&7 (when, as the Master warns in Lessons, I "go back to the beginning").

I used to love Giles all the way up to season 6. He basically gave Buffy money and told her that her feelings doesn't matter and dipped. I always saw Giles as Buffy's father figure, but he proved himself to be exactly like her actual dad.
I don't disagree but that's a very telling statement. I think it's a thin line between paternal and patriarchal (what psychoanalysis calls "the loving and the severe father". We see the ambivalence in Lessons).

Normal Again is a true ego driven failure of writing. At the time of airing the writers had to go online and assure fans that no it wasn't all in Buffys head. That is a writing failure no to ways about it
I don't think it's failed writing...and while they might have needed to assure some fans, I'm guessing not everyone who watched it was confused (I wasn't nor were my sons who were in their early teens when it first aired). It depends on what you're used to in terms of politico-aesthetics. I happen to like postmodernism.

BtVS was often cited as an example of postmodern television but initially it used devices associated with postmodernism in a playful way (for example, the constant reference to popular culture). The later seasons are much more in keeping with the other, more pessimistic, side of the postmodern coin - the ontological/epistemological/existential dilemmas associated with late capitalism, with living in a society at the end of history (and with being a woman poorly served by previous truths).

There's an article on NA - "Nothing Normal about the Monsters: Postmodern Monstrosity in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Normal Again” - here. I haven't read it but I can probably guess what it says. I did skim the first few pages though and found this:

"Patricia Pender discusses Buffy’s postmodern approach as defying resolution of debates over the series’ politics, in particular with regard to the question of whether Buffy should be read as a feminist or anti-feminist text. Pender concludes that, “instead of considering Buffy as a political blueprint for either feminist transgression or patriarchal containment..., we might more usefully identify Buffy as a site of intense cultural negotiation in which competing definitions of the central terms in the debate—revolution/apocalypse, feminist/misogynist, transgression and containment—can be tested and refined” I'd agree with this, and I think S6/7 (and much of 5) is the terrain on which the debate takes place. It's not everyone's cup of tea but I like it.

Joss going into full gas lighting mode with some of the stuff he does in this season.
I'm not a fan - I rarely give him (or actors) a second thought. Is he "gas lighting" or is he (&Noxon) merely pointing out that society is, and always has been "gas lit"? (even the term itself is interesting, given that much of S6/7 are about light/enlightenment). Honestly, he's not doing anything that literature, film and theatre hadn't been doing for about 20+ years - he's just doing it through a mass medium and on a mainstream platform

People always talk about how deep S6 is.
And I think they're (possibly) wrong to do so. It's clever in the sense it knows its theory but IMO, S6 belies the idea of depth (S7 clarifies this). As with most texts of its type, its truths are on the surface (there are lateral connections). I don't think Gone/DMP etc are perfect but I find them philosophically engaging. The problem with criticizing 6&7 is, like most decent pomo, it's self reflexive and it carries its own critique with it. Hence it's difficult to call it "ego driven" when, in its self-indulgence, it actually deconstructs self. Similarly, it's difficult to complain about the lack of coherence in the story of Buffy's life when Buffy herself tells us life "isn't a story".

'All The Way' which is probably the most forgettable episode in the show.
It has its moments but it's not my favourite episode either. And yet it's talked about...a lot

Because I don't love you
I think (genuinely can't remember) she says "I can't love you" more often (I'm sad - I checked - one of each I think). There's a different causality implied...causality is unpacked in S7 (which I think draws on chaos theory. It's what the cool kids were doing at the time).

The same as the ‘death wish’ thing seems to be taken as fact and that’s why he beat the other two slayers as Buffy had ties when they didn’t. We know that actually they DID have ties and they didn’t have a death wish and wanted to lose, the Chinese slayer wanted to live for her Mother and Nikki wanted to live for Robin
Not sure it's that straightforward. In theory (and BtVS knows its theory), what you're describing (the child being tied to the mother/the mother being the centre of the child's world) IS the death wish (the tie between mother/child needs to be broken in order that the child can develop an identity of its own. However, there's always an unconscious desire to return to a state of oneness with the mother - that's Thanatos). That aside, Nikki didn't want to "live for Robin" - she had the opportunity to walk away but she put slaying before him (that's NOT a criticism of Nikki and it doesn't mean she didn't love him). It can be inferred from LMPTM but I think Robin acknowledges it in S9 (?). The significance of the mother/child bond for desire and the (love/hate) paradox it involves gives psychoanalytical feminists sleepless nights. @Taake articulates it from "the father's perspective". TBH, I think Buffy's stuck between a rock and a hard place: between the nothingness of the mother and the relentless motion associated with the father.

season 6 ends with a switch towards optimism.
Agree...

So yeah...perhaps perversely, I "enjoy" S6 (Trio and all). I can ignore its shortcomings...I think it's strengths outweigh them. What I don't know is whether I actually like it...

@Athene - yes - I found that. It's "I can't love you" in As You Were. At the same time, I'm not making excuses for Spike in relation to Seeing Red.
 
Last edited:
Athene
Athene
I'm thinking when Buffy walks away from Spike in the cemetery she says "Because I don't love you".
B
Btvs fan
Regards Normal Again very recently Marti Noxon had that as her one big regret of the season. So no it wasnt just a few fans.

Priceless

Scooby
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[B]Btvs fan[/B] Regards Normal Again very recently Marti Noxon had that as her one big regret of the season.

I thought her one big regret was killing Tara?
 

Priceless

Scooby
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UK
They both came up in the same interview
Don't most shows have an 'is this real or all in the characters head' episode? 'St Elsewhere' ended with the hospital being just an image within a snow globe. I'm sure X Files must have had several of these type of episodes.

As for killing Tara, I assume Marti Noxon just wanted to placate the LGBT etc. anger that gay characters are always killed off. Tara had to die because that was the only thing that would turn Willow suicidally evil.
 

TriBel

Scooby
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@Priceless - Queen were asking the same question - "Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?" in 1975. Didn't seem to hold them back...
just an image within a snow globe.
...nor Orson Welles. 😄

Seriously, I think it's part of what's called "the cultural dominant". Postmodernist texts tend to adhere to an "ontological dominant," in contrast to modernism's "epistemological dominant." Put simply, modernism asks "how can we know this world?" whereas postmodernism asks "which world is this?". We see it reflected in the modes of genre fiction - modernism favours the detective novel; postmodernism favours science fiction (crude rule of thumb but it works for me). It's simply the fact that the world's become more complicated and rather than a single "truth" there's a multiplicity of truths (which seem to have culminated in no truth and "fake news" 🙄 ). It's a theme running through BtVS - as Buffy gets older, the world becomes more complicated, the truth more difficult to ascertain - it probably comes to a head in Empty Places.
 
Priceless
Priceless
I'm definitely a modernist them :) Gimme a hardboiled detective and a juicy murder case and I'm happy.

Anyanka Bunny Slayer

You gotta go be gay for that poor, dead intern...
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Black Thorn
There's a reason why my S6 (and S7) dvds are in such good condition...they're barely touched. With the exception of Dark Willow, S6 did nothing but depress me. I liked the show because it was enjoyable, entertaining, and lots of fun. That can't be said for S6. I did NOT want to see characters I cared about suffer. I did NOT want to see the Buffy/Spike sleaze fest...those sex scenes grossed me out.

In addition to Dark Willow, I did enjoy All the Way and Tabula Rasa. (Plus, Amber's singing in "Once More, With Feeling" was beyond beautiful!)
 
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