She saved the world a lot.
May 22, 2003
(If you haven’t done so already, do check out my farewell to Buffy article.)
I don’t know about you, but here’s the moment that did it for me. As we zero in on the Fantastic Four, the Scooby core that’s about to mount a perilous, audacious plan to save the world, they begin talking about…footwear. Shoes. Shopping. Essentially, what they’re going to do tomorrow. As Buffy, Willow and Xander stroll off down the halls of Sunnydale High, much like we saw them do countless times back in the early days, Giles turns and murmurs: “The Earth is definitely doomed.”
It’s a callback to a specific moment from Buffy‘s very first appearance on our television screens, and it manages to encapsulate what makes this series so appealing in the space of a few words.
While this scene may be the gem of the episode, there are plenty of other grace notes and nuances to qualify “Chosen” as a breathtaking, poignant send-off for our dear Slayer and Co. After reuniting with Angel, Buffy makes out with him a little and then kills Caleb, cracks wise and giggles a little at her own joke. She also sends Angel packing, warning him that she’ll need a second front if she fails to defeat The First. Before he leaves, he gives her a shiny amulet meant for “a champion.”
Back at Casa Summers, Buff and Spike share a few moments and Buff receives her own visit from The First, which prompts a Big Idea. Buffy decides to have Willow perform a spell on the scythe that will share Buffy and Faith’s Slayer power with all the Potentials of the world, making them better equipped to fight the Turok-Han. The gang sets up at Sunnydale High, Willow successfully performs the spell, and Slayers and Slayerettes open the Hellmouth and kick uber-vamp ass and then speed away in a school bus. Spike, who has been gifted with Angel’s “champion” amulet, dies while a bunch of light shoots out of him, dusting the Turok-Han. Anya dies saving Andrew’s sorry ass. Sunnydale is sucked into the Hellmouth. Buffy and the rest of the core four survive. The “grr-argh” guy bids farewell. The end!
And I have to say, I loved it quite a bit. For one thing, Buffy seems more like herself here than she has for a good part of the season. She uses wisecracks on the baddies, she does what has to be done, and she even drags herself to a standing position after nearly being killed for the umpteenth time. And perhaps most importantly, she knows that she needs the able aid and assistance of her friends to save the world. Thankfully, there is a little reconciliation moment for her and Giles after all. On the surface, it’s slight — an exchange of lines, a small smile — but it’s warm and subtle and SMG and ASH convey more emotion with this simple moment than many actors are capable of doing in an entire soliloquy.
Other lovely character moments abound: Giles, Xander, Amanda and Andrew playing D&D; Faith and Wood arguing over who is prettier (their chemistry here, it must be said, does show some promise); Willow saying “That was nifty” after casting her Slayer sharing spell. All of these are nice, distinctly Jossian touches. Also, this episode serves both Angel/Buffy and Spike/Buffy shippers well, I think. There’s an “I love you” and a clasping of hands for Spike, but also the implication that Buffy does think about growing old with the original Mr. Tall, Dark and Tormented. And her cookie dough analogy, which I think would be groan-inducing if it were in another setting or said by another character on a lesser show, is actually sweet and thoughtful. It’s nice to see Buffy finally coming to such a conclusion.
The final, action-infused moments are…well, pretty dang awesome. As I watched Buffy leap over tall buildings and the demon-infested burg of Sunnydale is finally sucked into the ground, the enormity of this series and its story and heroes hit home for me in a big way. Likewise, the concept of Buffy sharing her power with girls the world over neatly highlights the show’s female action hero concept without resorting to hollow girl power lip service.
And if we could just take a moment for Anya…cause really, the part that sent me over the edge for good was Xander’s simple line, “That’s my girl.” Rest in peace, Anya. I’m sorry I thought you were just Cordy Lite when you first appeared on this show. You’ve proven to be so much more.
In the end, “Chosen” conveys the best elements of Buffy, deftly balancing humor with earnest heart. Thank you, Joss Whedon. I’ll be crying for weeks.