Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dark Willow Saga

After watching the fourth season premiere of Doctor Who this evening, I finished off the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD with the episodes comprising the "Dark Willow Saga".

I think the sixth season as a whole was cleverly constructed to hide the identity of the Big Bad. Oh, sure, there was the Trio, but their role was to usher in Willow as the real Big Bad. In retrospect, it worked well. At the time, watching the episodes as they were broadcast, it didn't seem to work because the Trio seemed to be nothing but inept geeks, but it paid off by the end of the season.

I have to admit, I liked the Trio. Geeky wannabe villains driving around in a van that honked the Star Wars theme and arguing about who the best James Bond was? Good comic relief at a time when Buffy became a much darker show, and Warren's turn to real evil was nicely set up during the season. It seemed inevitable rather than tacked on for narrative convenience.

The season also brought some more of creator Joss Whedon's famously cruel treatment of fans. Willow and Tara got back together in episode 6.18, Amber Benson (Tara) was added to the main credits for the first time in episode 6.19 and then Tara was murdered at the end of that same episode. Damn you, Joss, for getting our hopes up!

Dark Willow. Awesome character development. It's easy to see her emergence as a result of Tara's murder, but it's clear from some of the things she said that sweet, shy Willow had been holding in a lot of anger and resentment, which as any geek knows leads only to the Dark Side.

Favorite line of dialog from the "Dark Willow Saga": Andrew describing Willow as "like Dark Phoenix up there!" I so love that reference.

Now isn't it too bad that Joss didn't make the third X-Men film with its Dark Phoenix storyline? This story arc from Buffy handled the concept so much better than the mess that X-Men: The Last Stand was.



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