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She deserved it

Spanky

Scooby
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
20,004
Black Thorn
Reposted from TMS

One of the fun things that happens when you watch a series years after it’s over is that you can read people’s reactions to certain characters and moments. When it comes to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I agree with a lot of them (season 4 sucks, Riley sucks, Kennedy sucks, Glory is the best, killing off Tara was a national tragedy), and some of them I do not (I love Dawn, Tara/Willow is not my OTP, Spuffy is my nightmare made sentient).

However, there’s always a balance of lovers and haters on most things—I’ve even met one person in real life who likes Riley—but one thing people universally dislike is Buffy getting kicked out of her house in season seven.

Well … I think she deserved it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Buffy Anne Summers. I think she’s a fantastic character; she has been on the front lines of death and danger since she was sixteen years old. She’s died twice! Yet, season seven turns her into someone who is, at best, headstrong, and at worst, despotic, when helping to protect the Potentials.

For those who may not remember, in season seven, Buffy and the Scooby Gang are up against the First Evil, which is also hunting down potential slayers (like Buffy herself before her powers manifested). This leads her house to become a safe-house for the most annoying gaggle of characters ever. Kennedy. Ugh.

Throughout the season, Buffy makes terrible decisions, a lot of them motivated by her relationship with Spike, and she just becomes a colder, meaner person. I don’t know why season seven decided that Spike, of all people, was going to be Buffy’s anchor, but in doing so, it ended up weakening Buffy’s relationships with everyone else. The episode “Empty Places” even has Buffy rail against everyone and say that Spike is the only one watching her back.

Now, the thing about season seven of Buffy is that everyone is their worst selves. I may agree with Giles and the others, but everyone handles everything poorly. No one actually talks to each other; it’s just dramatic declarations, accusations, and just plain meanness. Giles going behind Buffy’s back to kill Spike is one of the worst examples.

Giles teams up with Robin Wood, the series’ 3rd reoccurring black character ever, to kill Spike. Robin wants to kill Spike, because Spike murdered his mother, former Slayer Nikki Wood. That cool jacket Spike wears, he stole it off of Nikki Wood’s dead body. So Robin has a vendetta, that makes sense. I actually find Buffy’s dismissal of Robin’s emotional pain over Spike to be frustrating, but still, it’s Giles who I expected better from.

When Buffy is right about something, it’s clouded by a series of poor choices that make the Scooby Gang, naturally, question her. Instead of exploring that, they just place them as antagonists to Buffy who are “gaslighting” her, which is unfair narratively, because we have eyes and brains.

The thing that’s interesting about season seven, in premise, is that it asks Buffy to be a leader to a group of people who don’t really want to be there. The original Scoobies signed up for the long haul—but for the Potentials, just as no one asked for them, they didn’t ask for this.

Watching “Empty Places” rev up towards Buffy’s ejection from the house is painful, because for every good point Buffy makes, there are several bad ones to cloud it.

Buffy’s plan is to go raid the vineyard where the minor bad, Caleb (played by Nathan Fillion) is lurking. The last time they tried to attack Caleb on his turf, two Potentials died, and Caleb overpowered everyone. Oh, yeah, and Xander lost an eye, too, I guess.

However, Buffy wants to go back because she thinks that Caleb is guarding something powerful there, and they need to get it. Naturally, the group does not want to go back without some solid evidence that it’s worthwhile, not just Buffy’s feelings. When Buffy says that she’s been doing this for seven years and suddenly no one trusts her, that’s a good point. Giles counters with bringing up that Buffy said that Spike is the only who has her back and maybe there is something that needs to be addressed. Buffy then asks if that’s why Giles sent Spike away, to “ambush her.”

Girl, what?

Then it goes into a whole speech about how this isn’t a Democracy it’s a Slay-tatorship, which leads to this exchange with Anya:
Anya: “You really do think you’re better than we are.”
Buffy: “No, I …”
Anya: “But we don’t know. We don’t know if you’re actually better. I mean, you came into the world with certain advantages, sure. I mean, that’s the legacy.”
Buffy: “I …”
Anya: “But you didn’t earn it. You didn’t work for it. You’ve never had anybody come up to you and say that you deserve these things more than anyone else. They were just handed to you. So that doesn’t make you better than us. It makes you luckier than us.”
The group then votes to install Faith as the leader, and Dawn says Buffy has to leave because she refuses to “stay and watch [them] throw everything away.”

It’s an uncomfortable conversation because the show clearly wants to say something about the Slayers and Buffy as a character, and it has purposely written her in a way that she’s being an asshole, but the problem is they don’t stick the landing with this storyline. What happens after this episode, when Buffy is kicked out because of her plan? Oh, Buffy was right all along.

Buffy’s hunch was correct, Caleb was hiding something, and Faith fails to be the leader the group needs and leads the Potentials into a trap. Buffy ends up being reinstated by the group in “End of Days.” Is it brought up that Buffy’s plan could have led to casualties? Nope. Is it brought up that Buffy’s plan was based on intuition and no actual evidence? Nope. Is it brought up that it was Buffy’s Slayer speed and abilities that allowed her to survive fighting Caleb? Nope.

All the valid criticism is erased. Buffy’s lack of empathy towards people and her dependence on Spike are reinforced. It is a big nothing burger of a story, and it infuriates me. It infuriates me because Buffy is being the worst. Her plan is terrible, and why she prioritizes Spike over everyone else in her life is bizarre, but that is a story worth exploring. Buffy is in a vulnerable place so, yes, maybe she does need someone like Spike to lean on, but that’s not brought up. It’s Team Buffy or Team The Door.

Heroes are allowed to be flawed, and throughout the series, Buffy has never actively looked to put people in danger if she could take it on herself. She stood up for Angel, but not at the expense of threatening to kill another person. Buffy in season seven is not the Buffy we know and love, so she deserved to get kicked out of that damn house. I just wish the narrative actually wanted her to learn something from it.
 

Ethan Reigns

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Sineya
As far as leaving the house was concerned, Buffy gave them an ultimatum, they called her bluff and her sister was the one to close the door on her. They did not kick her out.

Once at Revello Drive, their protection had come from spells cast by Willow, not by any military genius of Buffy. Given the stupid choices Buffy was making in Season 7, they were better off with her off-site. The fine general of Season 3 had become a ditz who let Spike run free despite being triggered into running up a body count again. She had his chip removed rather than replaced. He was chained up some of the time but not all of the time and was certainly dangerous when he was not confined. Giles was the one to find the trigger. When everyone in the town left, they raided the supermarket and the hospital. Why not grab a fuel tanker and dump gasoline into the hellmouth? One match = no Turok-Han with no casualties. Maybe add in another rocket launcher (like the one she was going to use in "Him" - we never see that she returned it and she would have gone to Leavenworth if she had been found to have stolen it, so I assume she still had it). Buffy's one genius move of activating all slayers at once should have been done before they entered the hellmouth, not concurrently.

One area where I disagree with the conventional wisdom is that the "Chloe was an idiot" speech was a good one. The potentials were treating this as a sorority party and someone had to wake them up to the fact that they needed to leave their old lives behind.

The two McGuffins of the medallion and the scythe would not have been needed if this season had been written with some planning.
 
K
katmobile
Anya's arguement is completely motivated by misguided spite because she thinks someone else got more clemency than her failing to realise that she committed the acts she was almost killed for if her own free will NOT under mind control

VCA

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What happens after this episode, when Buffy is kicked out because of her plan? Oh, Buffy was right all along.
I completely agree with Buffy deserving to get kicked out. I understand that she's always been calling the shots when facing the Big Bads, but the tension from defeating the First put her in this odd demanding mindset where she saw her plans/ideas as the only ones that made sense. It wasn't that big of a deal at the beginning of the season, but as the threat of the First became more prominent, that attitude ends up alienating the Scoobies and Potentials from Buffy.

And yeah, it did seem a bit contradictory that she ends up being right even after getting kicked out. But in terms of plot development, it makes sense that it played out that way. If Buffy wasn't right all along, then she wouldn't really need to be a part of the final battle and that would have been a very lukewarm way to end such a huge TV series.
 

Spanky

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Black Thorn
If Buffy wasn't right all along, then she wouldn't really need to be a part of the final battle
Sure she would. Her being wrong wouldn't prevent her from leading the troops into battle. In fact that may have given the ending more weight, metaphorically speaking. When Buffy finally learns it's okay to reliquinish power to others is when a slayer army is created thus she no longer HAS to be the one in total control.

Her ceding control in a previous episode would have been a fitting preamble for all of the slayers gaining their own power.
 

DeadlyDuo

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I think the issue with the mutiny against Buffy scene is that 1. Kennedy initiates it and 2. The failed mission to the vineyard (which is the main cause) was at Wood's suggestion for Buffy to "test" the potentials.

Both Wood and Kennedy were characters only introduced in Season 7 and both seemed like they were trying to screw Buffy over. Wood because Buffy wouldn't let him kill Spike, and Kennedy because she wanted a bigger say and Buffy wasn't letting her have it (as she later admits to Faith). There's also the fact that everyone gangs up on Buffy and, since it's her house that they're staying in, Kennedy and Rona come across as extremely ungrateful when they're the main voices of the potentials.

Basically the writers had new characters (that nobody cared about) shit on Buffy (who everyone cared about) then wondered why the audience did not like that scene.
 
DeepBlueJoy
DeepBlueJoy
Amen. Could not have said it better. None of them had a clue. None saved the world or died for it. Giles proved he is a betrayer. Willow sides with a rude a$$ know nothing. Why would she be happy buffy?

VCA

If the apocalypse comes, beep me
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Sure she would. Her being wrong wouldn't prevent her from leading the troops into battle. In fact that may have given the ending more weight, metaphorically speaking. When Buffy finally learns it's okay to reliquinish power to others is when a slayer army is created thus she no longer HAS to be the one in total control.

Her ceding control in a previous episode would have been a fitting preamble for all of the slayers gaining their own power.
Never really thought about it that way and I really like that! Having her transfer that responsibility through struggle and then self-realization gives it a lot more depth then having her just be right all along.
 

Dora

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Only one reason Buffy felt she had to leave and that was so Spike could ride in and then give Buffy that speech , to make Spike more of a hero , every thing from CWDP became about Spike but Spike had no story , he was not important to the plot ! The first capturing and torturing Spike....Yawn ,.Glory any one! Spike's Speech to Buffy ....Riley ? Spike killing again, it's not time yet ...Time for what ? , the whole soul thing ....been done and a lot better with Angel , the whole episode given to how he got turned, great if this was season 3 but 5 episodes from the end of Buffy !
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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I will concede that Buffy's leadership is not unconditional, and that the ... White Hats had the full right to a no confidence vote, and Buffy should go into exile if she was not willing to accept that. Having said that, nothing about Buffy's exile felt organic to the story, and it really had no lasting consequences anyways.
 

white avenger

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I might possibly agree that Buffy's plan about returning to the vineyard was bad if we ever did get to know the details of it, but we never did. "We're going back in," gives no details and no strategy whatsoever. It doesn't even necessarily mean that she ever had any intention of having the Potentials deal with Caleb again, since he was actually in the wine cellar, not the actual vineyard itself. I can imagine quite a few scenarios in which the Potentials would be at the vineyard, and never even come close to the wine cellar, beginning with, Buffy, Faith, and Spike taking on Caleb while the ubervamps are led into a trap elsewhere.

I can understand why the Potentials would feel frightened and discouraged after what had happened on what was their first combat experience. Some of them were injured, others had died, and Xander was maimed for life. The world in which they had been thrown into was scary dangerous, and they had just seen first hand a perfect example of the worst case scenario. These were children, and they didn't want to die. Who could possibly blame them?

Maybe someone who had been confronted with a similar choice when she had gone to meet the Master, knowing that she was going to die trying to stop him, but also knowing that, if she didn't go, others would die in her place.

Or maybe someone who had given their life to protect her sister, when a far simpler strategy would have been to kill her before Glory could use her to destroy the world, despite the fact that her friend, mentor, and father figure had more or less proposed that very thing.

And, as for whether Buffy was thrown out, or she left voluntarily, have we lost sight of the simple fact that they, the Potentials, the Scoobies, Giles, Wood, and even Dawn, were guests, and mostly uninvited guests, at that, in a house that she owned? They were free to leave at any time, but forcing, or even allowing, Buffy to leave her own home was wrong in every single way. Not even Dawn had that right, any more than I would have had the right to throw my parents out when I was 15, just because I didn't like how they were running the house. By that time, Sunnydale was full of abandoned homes, some of which would have almost certainly been more comfortable and better suited to accommodate a large number of occupants. They should have been the ones leaving, not Buffy.

Buffy was never portrayed as the perfect leader, or even, by some standards, even the perfect Slayer, though she was probably the most successful one up to that point. She made mistakes, and she wasn't always the only one to have to pay for those mistakes. That, unfortunately, is the world that she lived in, and the circumstances under which she had no choice but to live. Her life was bad enough without having to be saddled with a bunch of whining, ungrateful Potentials and a Watcher who first insisted that she take responsibility, and then undermined her authority by trying to kill the most powerful fighter on her team.

I think that it says a whole lot about Buffy's character and strength of personality that she came back after getting the Scythe, and I think that it also says a whole lot about the character of the others there that not a single one of them ever even acknowledged that she had been right about believing that there was, in fact, something there in the vineyard worth returning for.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Also, this wasn't really addressed, but, humans using melee weapons against the supernatural was bound to have a pretty high mortality rate.
 

The Bronze

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Black Thorn
She didn't deserve it. I've posted a long version of this before so I'll go for the short version. Buffy shouldn't have started discussing the plan in front of everyone. However there were enough other adults in that room to call the whole thing off. Take Buffy aside and actually discuss things amongst senior members of the group rather than have a massive fight in front of the rank n file.
 

thetopher

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Of course Buffy deserved it since she insisted on having the meeting in front of all the Potentials and then escalated things when people simply started stating their concerns about her plan, her reasoning, her judgement, pretty much everything.
Then she seemed to think that some kind of conspiracy had been cooked up between Faith and Giles to send Spike away and 'turn' the Potentials on her or some crap.

Then she gives an ultimatum and gets called on it. Because she is too prideful/stubborn to take a back seat she walks off only to come back when the plot- not logic or reason- proves her correct; apparently The First is stupid enough to lead them all to the one place they don't want the slayer behind.

Buffy had been behaving out of character for weeks and she'd never done the whole 'I get my ass kicked and then go and try the exact same thing again.' before. When Buffy gets defeated, she regroups and comes up with a new plan/new tactic. That's how she's defeated other Big Bads previously but plot contrivance was making her head all oogy and she wasn't thinking clearly.
Empty Places/Touched is her low point as a character, even taking into account 'Get It Done' and 'LMPTM'.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Of course Buffy deserved it since she insisted on having the meeting in front of all the Potentials and then escalated things when people simply started stating their concerns about her plan, her reasoning, her judgement, pretty much everything.
Then she seemed to think that some kind of conspiracy had been cooked up between Faith and Giles to send Spike away and 'turn' the Potentials on her or some crap.

Then she gives an ultimatum and gets called on it. Because she is too prideful/stubborn to take a back seat she walks off only to come back when the plot- not logic or reason- proves her correct; apparently The First is stupid enough to lead them all to the one place they don't want the slayer behind.

Buffy had been behaving out of character for weeks and she'd never done the whole 'I get my ass kicked and then go and try the exact same thing again.' before. When Buffy gets defeated, she regroups and comes up with a new plan/new tactic. That's how she's defeated other Big Bads previously but plot contrivance was making her head all oogy and she wasn't thinking clearly.
Empty Places/Touched is her low point as a character, even taking into account 'Get It Done' and 'LMPTM'.
Buffy did try and open the floor to discussion on how to go about returning to the vineyard but Kennedy didn't want to hear it. She wanted Faith in charge so that she would get a bigger say in things (as she later admits to Faith).
 

white avenger

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Of course Buffy deserved it since she insisted on having the meeting in front of all the Potentials
It was a huge, HUGE mistake on Buffy's part, when she failed to isolate herself and her key team in order to hear their objections, iron out details, and have all of the answers when Wood and the Potentials started objecting. Just as bad, if not worse, was her timing, making her announcement right after Xander returned from the hospital. Granted, time was of the essence, but still, a little time could have been spared, especially since it would have given Spike time to return and make his report, which would have pretty much added more validity to Buffy's plan.
 

DeepBlueJoy

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Buffy was right. It was her house. They did not have to stay or follow her, by rights they should all have left and let bringers kill them bc they were useless. But buffy is generous. She shares the power SHE GOT from the vineyard and saves them and faith (the only person who did not try to undercut Buffy btw)

If buffy had done the logical thing and left them to figure it out, sunnydale would have fallen, and the world might have been forfeit - giles didn't even go to the vineyard with the brand new leader faith. No magic either. They had the cluelessness of three five year olds.

Just remember if buffy was what you say - cold or incompetent - the PLANET would be forfeit.

If she had kept walking or demons overrunning Sunnydale had eaten her or she had slit her wrists, the WORLD would have ended.

They were frightened, ungrateful and incompetent. And they betrayed everything they claimed to value. Friendship, loyalty AND saving the world.

Only Spike and Faith shot straight and played fair.

Buffy, her scythe and that terrible vampire. With help from They. Saved. The. World.
 

thrasherpix

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I couldn't help but contrast how differently Buffy handled Glory and Adam, and how she needed her friends (and even got into an argument because she wanted her friends nowhere near Adam as it's "too dangerous") to how she is in season 7. It's just one of the many ways she's different. They carried her as much as she carried them, and hell, she wasn't even the one to save the world in season 6. Some call it growth, but I call it regression--or would if Buffy had ever been that bad.

And as one mentioned, the writing was not organic. After the first few eps it just didn't flow the way previous seasons did (other seasons had similar events, from the Scoobies turning on her to Buffy thrown out of her house, and also Buffy the General as in Graduation Day, but those felt right to the story, unlike the terrible writing of season 7). I was not surprised to read an interview in which a writer of season 7 said they were just exhausted with Buffy and wanted it over with, and would've had a Lady in the Lake give her a mcguffin if it helped them end it. Buffy getting thrown out of her house was too contrived, and the only reason I accepted it the first time was I was sure some magic or other supernatural influence was going to be revealed to be behind it.


The ONLY thing I will say in Buffy's defense on her getting thrown out is that it was her house, and the others should've left her instead (that would actually be more dramatic). But this was all about making Buffy a martyr because that's how bad romantic fiction of that nature gets written, to prove her man will stand beside her no matter what just as she will him.

Well one more thing...Giles bringing up Jenny was just stupid, but then so was the vast majority of the dialog around it, and one more reason the writing feels forced and lazy to me.
 

thetopher

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Buffy did try and open the floor to discussion on how to go about returning to the vineyard but Kennedy didn't want to hear it.
Oh Kennedy certainly contributed in a fairly obnoxious way, but its Buffy who escalates things. As soon as Faith's name is mentioned in terms of leadership (and even when Faith stresses that she doesn't want it) Buffy gets nasty and quickly turns on Faith (and so then Faith turns on her).
Ultimately its still Buffy who drives this whole group breakdown her her stubbornness and paranoia.

Granted, time was of the essence, but still, a little time could have been spared, especially since it would have given Spike time to return and make his report, which would have pretty much added more validity to Buffy's plan.
It really beggars belief why Buffy didn't wait one day until Spike returned from his information-gathering mission before jumping on was- at best- a vague hunch that relied on the bad guys being thundering idiots (or- generously- incredibly overconfident to the point of comic arrogance).
Why didn't The First just monologue the solution ala Harmony in 'Hash Light Of Day' 'Caleb can defeat anyone, anytime, and as soon as we dig up the slayer-scythe from beneath beneath the wine cellar- Ah, crap! I didn't mean to tell you that part! ...I...uh, I mean, come, come and die looking for the 'super-weapon'...yes, hehehehee *stage whisper* is she buying it?')


Point- if Spike had returned and confrmed Giles' research about Caleb's goal, that would've pulled everybody- apart from perhaps the Potentials- on side; Giles would've been content that they had more info to go on, so would Faith who would have a reason to fight, and the whole thing would've at least looked like a team effort. But instead it becomes 'everyone else is wrong and Buffy is right'.
Maybe if Buffy had stayed at the house and not let her pride get in the way then Spike would've stayed to tell everyone what he'd learned.

The ONLY thing I will say in Buffy's defense on her getting thrown out is that it was her house, and the others should've left her instead (that would actually be more dramatic). But this was all about making Buffy a martyr because that's how bad romantic fiction of that nature gets written, to prove her man will stand beside her no matter what just as she will him.
This is the more OT thing in the entire scene; the fact that Buffy storms out and that only Faith goes after her. Okay so Giles and Buffy are on the outs and Xander is seriously injured and can't run after Buffy, but I expect a lot better from Willow. That, as I see it, is Kennedy's influence right there, and I don't like it.
But again, like you said; lonely, sad martyr, romantic lead to the rescue, nothing about what the show had ever been about.

And can we mention how Buffy goes to actually kick a guy out of his house? After taking his only form of defense and raiding his fridge with a lame joke.
Oh, but that was played for laughs I guess and not 'a massive betrayal'. Urgh, what Buffy did to him was worse than what happened to her, and yet we're supposed to find her antics funny.
It actually makes it look like Buffy just stopped caring utterly about innocent people in general, the people she used to fight for in those early seasons, the people she would sometimes mourn.
Now its all 'what can you do for me/give me. It makes my sad that that's the way they chose to develop her character.
 

white avenger

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And can we mention how Buffy goes to actually kick a guy out of his house? After taking his only form of defense and raiding his fridge with a lame joke.
This never made any sense whatsoever to me. Sunnydale had, by that time, been pretty much abandoned by all of its human residents and most of its demons, there are obviously any number of empty homes to choose from, and Buffy chooses to toss out what might very well have been the last civilian in town. Almost certainly, she was saving his life by convincing him to leave, but that was something that was never mentioned or considered. As you say, it was mostly just a lame joke, unnecessary, and out of character for Buffy. It would have been a far better scene if she had just happened to be there when he was leaving of his own accord, and moved in because he had left the front door unlocked.
 

thetopher

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This never made any sense whatsoever to me. Sunnydale had, by that time, been pretty much abandoned by all of its human residents
That's where some of the writing falls down for me; people are fleeing in droves and yet the Bronze is still open and booking bands?
The writing here should've been more gradual over multiple episodes, with the exodus not being as jarring, until finally- in 'Touched' - we get the shock of seeing Sunnydale as a ghost town; with multiple shots of Sunnydale locals we're familiar with (school, mall, high street, coffee shop) all eerily deserted. That would've been really great.

Almost certainly, she was saving his life by convincing him to leave,
I guess, unless he got killed by a random Bringer or demon-a-thing. She should've let him keep his weapon and explain that 'its dangerous out there, point this thing at somebody who might actually want to harm you'.
I mean, that's what a good guy would do, right?

As you say, it was mostly just a lame joke, unnecessary, and out of character for Buffy.
It wold be out of character for Buffy in S1-6, who would've warned the guy about staying put and then firmly told him that he needed to get himself (and any family) out of town. They still could've played it a bit lighter, and emphasized the big coming evil, and not have Buffy be such a bitca.

My anger at Buffy in the last half of this season comes mostly from disappointment because I always root for her and yet here she is acting like a jerk in the service of a plotline I don't care for or even believe in.
 
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