A slightly teary and smiling Buffy looks out at what used to be Sunnydale

About:

Title: Buffy S7.E21 “End Of Days” + S7.E22 “Chosen”
Released: 2003

Drinks Taken: 9+
Vamps Dusted: approximately eleventy billion

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

On behalf of the FYA recap team, I want to thank you for joining us for this Buffy Rewatch. We’ve had such a great time dissecting episodes and sharing memories with y’all that we all wanted to add some final thoughts going into the finale.


It’s funny – what changed most for me in this rewatch is how I felt about Buffy Summers, the person. Of course I’ve always loved her, but I guess in thinking back on the series in the years since I first watched it, I always sort of thought of it as one of those ensembles where the most interesting person isn’t the lead, like Dawson’s Creek or Riverdale. And sure, Giles and Oz and Willow and Faith and Spike are all interesting as hell, but this time around I realized that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more like Veronica Mars, where the title character is actually the most fascinating, poignantly written and powerfully performed of the entire cast. Over her seven seasons, Buffy changes and grows, darkens and brightens and deepens, learns and makes mistakes, all in believable, understandable, empathy-provoking ways. She’s strong and compassionate, and Sarah Michelle Gellar gives what I think is now one of my favorite performances of all time. So thanks, Rewatch Project, for teaching me what I should have already known: there is no Buffy without Buffy. – Meredith

Okay, I’m about to say something I never dreamed of saying before our Rewatch: I like Dawn now. Don’t @ me y’all! Sure, she’s exceptionally annoying in her first few episodes, but once the writers decide to develop her beyond Obnoxious Kid Sister, Dawn becomes a nuanced character worthy of the Scoobies. She’s got her own brand of humor, especially in Season 7, and when the adults in the room finally allow her to grow up (14-year-olds do not need a babysitter), she proves herself to be a smart, strong young woman. On a related note, my affection for Tara grew exponentially during the Rewatch. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her before, but I never felt invested in her, probably because I’m Oz 4 Life. But revisiting two key scenes–when she comforts Buffy after Joyce’s death and later, when Buffy admits that she’s sleeping with Spike–showed me that Tara is by far the most compassionate character on the show, and that her empathy is, even more than magic, an incredibly valuable superpower. – Sarah

Buffy hit my life at such a seminal time that it really influenced and shaped so many of my interests over the decades (strong yet emotionally vulnerable women! dialogue super heavy on sarcasm! sexy MLDs!). Sometimes you examine beloved childhood things and realize that…well, on further reflection, that thing kind of sucks. And there are certainly aspects of the show that don’t hold up to today’s day and age, and should be called out as such (so much of Xander’s toxic behavior, I’m looking at you). But, overall, this show is still incredibly relatable and relevant, and different aspects hit me differently now in my thirties versus my teens (sexy Giles, I’m looking at you). Like Sarah, I’d never thought much of Tara before. If pressed, I would’ve said she was one of my least favorite Scoobies, but she really had such an incredible journey of growth, from shy wallflower to the quietly confident and compassionate woman who had the strength to leave a destructive relationship with the love of her life. Tara was a quiet badass. This Rewatch makes me firmly believe that in the future you will find me as a little old lady forcing her grandchildren to watch this old-timey show with bad special effects and still absolutely loving it. – Stephanie  

Like Sarah and Stephanie, I have a newfound appreciation for Dawn and Tara. I also have a renewed appreciation for how much joy can be found in sharing one of my favorite things with other people. The first time I binged Buffy was by myself, so there’s been something really special about getting to talk about it every week with fans who have spent as much time thinking about the show as I have. I’ve enjoyed the different perspectives of the other recappers, as well as the contributions from our insightful commenters – not to mention learning about the wild shenanigans from the subsequent Buffy comics. It’s definitely helped me to see Buffy herself, as well as the other characters, in more nuanced ways. As Stephanie mentioned, certain aspects of the show have definitely not aged well. But I’m so glad we’re able to recognize and acknowledge those points, while still appreciating the things about Buffy that still ring true, like the importance of found family, what strength of character looks like, and that there is sometimes loneliness in heroism. – Kandis


In last week’s rewatch, Caleb the preacher kind of beat the hell out of everyone and [yikes] poked out Xander’s eye. The Scoobies and Potentials had enough of Buffy’s failed mission and kicked her out of the house (which we all agreed was deeply uncool of them). Buffy spent a sweet night in Spike’s arms before she headed to the vineyard and discovered the massive scythe that the First had been trying to keep from her. A newly in charge Faith accidentally led the Potentials into a booby-trapped tunnel that exploded.

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Seven Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Someone uses a cell phone
The First gets up to its tricks
You love Andrew in spite of himself
Someone goes down to the creepy Sunnydale High basement
It’s obvious Spike has a soul again
Principal Wood seems shady

Drink twice every time:

There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a callback to previous season shenanigans
You really miss Giles
A new Slayer shows up in Sunnydale
A new romance emerges (Who dates during the Apocalypse?)
Willow performs magic responsibly

Take a shot every time:

Someone says, “From beneath you it devours.”

And now onto our very last recap! [sniffle]

Buffy and Angel embrace and kiss

7.21 “End Of Days”

Caleb taunts Buffy about not being able to pry the scythe out of solid rock, but she lifts it out pretty easily. Does he know nothing about The Sword in the Stone? He doesn’t want to let her leave with it, but the First as Buffy tells him to let her go rescue her friends and get the scythe back from her later. It makes no sense at all why the First would give her that big of a break, but okay.

Back at the Summers house, everyone swarms around the food Andrew liberated from the abandoned grocery store, and Xander, Willow, Anya, and Dawn come in to report they were unable to find Buffy, despite a locator spell. Giles tells them that Faith and the Potentials she took out haven’t returned and he’s worried. In the rubble caused by the bomb, the injured Potentials help each other up and try to carry an unconscious Faith out of the tunnels, while an ubervamp comes after them. Kennedy reminds them this is what they trained for and they can take one of them. But just as the ubervamp has her by the neck, Buffy busts in through the ceiling and defeats it, before ordering them to gather the wounded so they can get out of there. As they’re trying to patch everyone up back at the house, Kennedy keeps demanding to know if Faith is going to be okay, needing Buffy to assure her that Slayers heal fast. The girls tell Buffy that they think they’re being punished because they followed Faith and it didn’t work out. Buffy tells them it was a trap and it could have happened to anyone. They want to know if this means she’s back now. She says she doesn’t know but she obviously can’t leave.

Giles checks out Buffy’s new scythe while Willow and Buffy share a smirk over Willow’s “scythe matters” joke, and it’s nice to see that all seems to be forgiven there. Buffy tells them that when she holds the weapon, she can sense that it’s strong and it’s meant for her. Giles is appalled that something like that could exist without him knowing about it. But he and Willow agree to find out everything they can about it since it’s the only advantage they have at the moment.

Anya and Andrew use a bottle of scotch and ripped bedsheets to bandage up the girls, while Anya liberally takes some swigs of her own, and keeps freaking the girls out by talking about how many of them are going to die. Andrew decides he and Anya need to go raid the hospital to get some real medical supplies, but he thinks Anya needs to drive since the scotch made him dizzy. While robbing the hospital, Andrew asks Anya if it’s gonna be bad, why doesn’t she just leave. She admits she did that once before a big battle, but she’s learned more about humans since then and she seems kind of inspired by the way they keep fighting, so she guesses she will, too. Then they have a wheelchair fight.

In the kitchen, Buffy is trying to talk Xander into something he doesn’t like, since it will take him out of the impending fight. He doesn’t want to be put out to pasture for his own protection, but she needs someone she can count on. He said he always thought he’d be by her side for the end. She doesn’t like the implication that this is the end. She tells him that she trusts him with her life and he’s the reason she’s made it this far. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Giles and Willow compare research from the internet and books, but are getting nowhere. Willow picks up the weapon, but doesn’t sense anything. Giles gently urges her to maybe consider tapping into some magics, but she’s afraid that anything big she tries will change her. Their research seems to indicate that before the vineyard was a monastery, it might have been a pagan temple. Which, given the previous season finale, just seems like an unlikely number of ancient temples for one Southern Californian town to have.

Xander lures Dawn to the car under the guise of looking for her misplaced crossbow. While distracting her with the one-eyed jokes he’s expecting to hear, he chloroforms her, stuffs her in the car, and drives away. Dawn comes to in the passenger seat, pretty pissed about being knocked out. As Xander drives down the highway, he passes her a letter from Buffy asking her not to blame Xander for taking her away to safety. Before Dawn can even finish reading the letter, she uses a taser on Xander, takes the wheel, and turns the car around. This is the Dawn we’ve been talking about!

Caleb trashes a bunch of casks of perfectly good wine while having a tantrum about having to let Buffy go, but the First assures him that they’ll get her, but that he’s weak at the moment because they haven’t “merged” in a while. Ew. So, the First does some kind of ritual that shares its power with Caleb and turns his eyes black, so that he can continue to serve evil.

Faith finally wakes up after the explosion and Buffy shows her the scythe. Faith confirms she can feel its power and its age. She says it also feels like it’s hers, which must mean it’s Buffy’s. Faith assumes Buffy being back means she’s back in charge, but Buffy won’t admit that. Faith says they need somebody to lead and it doesn’t matter to her who it is. She votes for Chao-Ahn since it’s hard to lead people into a death trap if you can’t speak English. Buffy tells Faith it wasn’t her fault, and that when you lead people into battle, someone is going to die. That’s what war is. Faith tells her that she’s always been a loner and jealous of what Buffy has, but once everyone was looking to her to lead them, Faith had never felt more lonely in her life. And she realized this is Buffy’s life, every day. It’s their best heart-to-heart ever, and I just love how much their relationship has evolved.

GIF via catty words

Faith: Thank god we’re hot chicks with super powers.
Buffy: Takes the edge off.

Spike arrives at the house a little hurt that Buffy ditched him in the middle of the night to go off and find her scythe, and says they don’t have to make a thing of the night before. They make a plan to go after Caleb the next day and when Spike goes to leave, she calls him a dope. She tells him she’s tired of defensiveness and weird mixed signals. She has Faith for that. He has trouble admitting it, but tells her that last night was the best night of his life. Despite everything they’ve done together, he’s never felt that close to her before. They aren’t sure where that leaves them and decide to table the discussion on account of impending apocalypse.

Buffy is out in the cemetery with her scythe (drink!) when she busts into a torch-lit tomb. She’s greeted by a white-haired old woman who was expecting her and comments that she always forgets how young the Slayers are. She tells Buffy that she was one of the ones who put the scythe in the rock. She’s the last of the Guardians who forged the weapon in secrecy to kill the last pure demon that walked upon the earth, and it’s stayed hidden all these years. As she’s telling Buffy about the end, Caleb comes in and snaps the woman’s neck. He and Buffy fight, with her stunt double getting thrown into a lot of walls, and him managing to dodge the scythe blade. Just as he gets the upper hand and is about to kill Buffy with her own weapon, Caleb gets punched out by Angel.

Buffy and Angel look at each other all googly-eyed, and I do love that he knows her well enough to back off to let her finish killing Caleb herself. Then she and Angel kiss, with Spike looking on from the shadows and the First whispering “that bitch” in his ear.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

10

Vamps Dusted

2

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Caleb wears a black shirt and priest collar with baggy dark blue jeans

Caleb is wearing some truly awful baggy early aughts bro jeans with his preacher shirt and collar. He’s like padre on the top, party on the bottom. It’s an inexcusably douchey choice.

Buffy stands in front of everyone, explaining her plan in the Summers' living room

7.22 “Chosen”

After the kissing, Buffy asks Angel what he’s doing here. He figured she needed some help since it’s the First Evil, the thing that tried to convince him to kill himself in season 3. (Fun times. Drink!) As Buffy is explaining that it’s a bit more ambitious these days, raising an army and all, Caleb stands up with black liquid pouring out of his eyes and knocks Angel across the room. I hate it when the bad guys don’t die the first time. Buffy and Caleb fight some more, with him taunting her for being a stupid girl, she ends up cutting him in half from the crotch up and then snickers when she tells Angel that Caleb had to split. Angel has brought Buffy some sketchy intel on The First and a magical amulet for someone “ensouled”, courtesy of his deal with Wolfram & Hart. This is when she realizes he plans to stay to help in the fight, but she tells him no. She’s worried that if she loses and the First gets past Sunnydale, they’ll need a second front. But he knows there’s something else she’s not telling him everything, and he figures it has to do with the fact that he can smell Spike on her. Buffy denies that Spike is her boyfriend, but admits he is in her heart and wants to know if Angel is going to go all Dawson on her every time this happens. And oh my god, Angel is such a Dawson. Buffy tells him that she always figured there was something wrong with her because she couldn’t make it work with any guys. Angel suggests it’s because she’s the Slayer, which makes way more sense to me than Buffy’s analogy that she’s cookie dough and not done baking. She tells him that it will likely be years before she’s ready to think about who gets to enjoy warm cookies. But, as it happens, he’s not getting any older.

When Buffy arrives home, Dawn kicks her and calls her a dumbass for sending her off to safety with Xander. The Scoobs are thrilled that Buffy killed Caleb and she heads down to the basement where Spike is using the punching bag. He admits to having seen her kissing Angel, but she says it was a hello kiss and that he’s gone now. Spike wants the amulet since he figures that he’s the qualified party to wear it. She tells him it’s meant to be worn by a champion, which gives him pause for a moment, but she hands it over. She tries to get an invitation to stay with him for the night since Faith still has her room, but he tells her that she has “Angel breath” and he has his pride, but then he quickly stops her from leaving, admitting he doesn’t actually have any pride.

Sorry, you know there had to be one last good Spuffy moment for the road. But seriously? This has just been an embarrassment of hot vampire riches, Buffy.

They spend the night in each other’s arms again, which is way preferable to when they used to knock buildings down together. Buffy gets up in the night and paces around the basement when the First as Caleb comes to taunt her about his army of vampires and how she’s alone because none of the girls in her army will have the strength and skill to fight unless Buffy’s dead and they become a Slayer. The First disappears when Spike wakes up, but it’s given her an idea of how they can win.

The Scoobies all have varying reactions to Buffy’s big plan. Giles thinks it’s bloody brilliant but Willow is pretty terrified because of the big magic and loss of control. Dawn (referring to herself as “Watcher Junior”) gets sent off to do some research, Giles has to make contact with a couple of dead friends, and Anya and Xander go off to assemble the cannon fodder.

Xander: That’s not what we’re calling ’em, sweetie.
Anya : Not to their faces. What, am I insensitive?

Uh, oh. It’s Buffy speechifying time again. Luckily, this one is less steely-eyed gloom and doom. Buffy tells the Potentials that she hates that she has to be there, that there’s evil, and that she wishes she wasn’t chosen to fight it. She knows some of them wish that as well. (Everybody looks at Kennedy.) But she says this isn’t about wishes, it’s about choices. She’s going down into the Hellmouth in the morning, and she’s going to open the seal and finish this once and for all. She knows that they’re all wondering what’s different this time, what makes this any different than the other times they’ve been picked off, since none of them have the power that she and Faith do, but here’s the part where they get to make a choice.

Down in the Sunnydale High basement (drink!), Faith and Robin move things around to block the sewer access so that the ubervamps won’t have anywhere to go but up into the school. After talking about strategy, they end up discussing how Faith has been blowing Robin off since they got “bouncy” because that’s pretty much how she rolls. He figured it was the usual defensive, isolationist, Slayer crap, and whoa, someone has been to therapy, and it’s definitely not Faith. Then he expertly negs her into being up for another round, which he negotiates for a time after they win this thing. 

GIF via buffy the slayer

Faith: No way you’re prettier than me.
Robin: A little bit, yeah

That night, Willow is working on her spell, and Kennedy promises that she’ll be there to keep her grounded. But Willow says she may end up needing to kill her instead if Willow gets out of control. Kennedy is confident that won’t happen. Giles and Xander are going over a battle plan map when it’s revealed that they’re actually playing Dungeons and Dragon’ with a red-caped Andrew and Amanda. “I used to be a highly respected Watcher and now I’m a wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily.” Giles just wishes he could sleep and Amanda wonders who could sleep on a night like this, and Xander confirms only the crazy ones, as he affectionately pats the head of a softly snoring Anya.

The next morning, Robin leads everyone into an abandoned Sunnydale High reminding the girls there is no running or gum chewing allowed, but if anything moves, kill it. The Potentials are sent to the basement with Faith and Spike, with Xander reminding everyone that it’s better to go to the bathroom now instead of realizing they have to go later. (This is just always good advice.) Willow and Kennedy are directed to Robin’s office, which sits right over the seal. Kennedy takes Willow’s bag to start getting set up. Robin directs the “civilians” to different second-line locations. Xander and Dawn take the atrium, Giles and Robin take the lounge, and Anya and Andrew take the north hall. Anya promises to defend it with Andrew’s very life. Dawn refuses to let Buffy say goodbye before she heads off.

In the school basement, the Potentials are gathered in a circle next to Faith, who hands Buffy a knife and tells her that she’s first. Buffy slices her hand and passes the knife and they all hold their dripping hands over the seal to open it. As they head down, Spike lets Buffy know that his special amulet is not doing anything special yet, but she’s not worried. She repeats that as they walk toward the edge of a rocky outcropping under the seal and they look down to see hundreds (or thousands?) or ubervamps headed towards them.

We flashback to Buffy telling the Potentials they have a choice. What if they could have that power now? In every generation, a Slayer is born because a bunch of men a thousand years ago said so.

“So I say we change the rules. I say my power… should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of the Scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer, will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power, will have the power, can stand up, will stand up. Slayers… every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?”

Willow’s spell works just in time for the Potentials to start fighting off the ubervamps. Kennedy tells Willow that she’s a goddess and Willow tells her that she’s a Slayer before sending her to take Buffy the scythe. The girls defeat as many ubervamps as they can, but some get past them and start heading into the school, where the “civilians” fight them off. In the basement, Buffy starts shouting orders to the Potentials when she gets stabbed by an ubervamp and collapses. Faith goes to her, but Buffy hands her the scythe and tells her to hold the line. Up in school, Robin gets stabbed and Anya gets sliced nearly in half by an ubervamp’s sword. Down below, Buffy watches Chao-Ahn and Amanda get killed before the First comes to taunt her about her mortal wound, which ends up giving her the strength to get up and keep fighting. Suddenly, Spike’s amulet lights up like an eclipse, and Faith orders the remaining girls up the stairs. Spike tells Buffy he can feel his soul and that it kind stings.

Above ground, everyone starts evacuating through the school and towards the bus out front. Xander calls for Anya but doesn’t see her body amongst the rubble on the floor. The building starts crumbling and falling apart and Spike tells Buffy to go. She locks hands with him for a moment and with tears in her eyes tells him that she loves him. He tells her “no, you don’t. But thanks for saying it.” His hand catches fire and he tells her to go again, right before the school blows up. Faith jumps on the bus and it takes off as Buffy is still trying to get through the crumbling school as Spike disintegrates. Dawn anxiously looks out the back of the bus window and a barely conscious Robin speeds them out of town as Sunnydale implodes. Buffy manages to jump across several buildings and land on top of the bus. Once they’re clear of town, Faith tells Robin to stop and they get out to look at the smoking pit that used to be Sunnydale. Giles said he doesn’t understand what caused this, but Buffy says it was Spike. Xander asks Andrew if he saw what happened to Anya and Andrew tells him that Anya was incredible and died saving his life. Xander agrees that’s his girl, always doing the stupid thing. Faith offers to go get help for Robin, but he wants to know if they made it, right before he appears to die in front of her. He either makes a miraculous recovery or was just screwing with her. Outside the bus, Faith joins the Scoobies celebrating saving the world, and changing the world. Willow tells Buffy that she can feel them, all the new Slayers awakening. Faith says now that Buffy’s not the one and only chosen one anymore, she’ll just have to live like a regular person.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

9, before they opened the seal and all ubervamp hell broke loose.

Vamps Dusted

Approximately, eleventy million?

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Buffy lays on the ground, wearing a tan jacket, jeans, and heeled boots

It just wouldn’t be the apocalypse without Buffy wearing a hilariously inappropriate battle outfit. This one consists of a white blouse, bell-sleeved buff jacket, and matching suede heeled booties that look impossible to run in. It’s just so Buffy, and I’m gonna miss her so much.

Scooby Gang Feels

In the last moments before the big battle, Buffy cheerfully asks what the gang wants to do tomorrow. Willow says nothing strenuous. Xander is always up for mini-golf, but Giles thinks they can do better than that. Buffy announces she could really go for some shopping, and as Buffy, Willow, and Xander head off talking about the mall, Giles announces the earth is definitely doomed in a sweet callback to the pilot.


And that’s it, friends! Was it a fitting end to the journey? What’s your favorite moment? I really love the decision to share the Slayer power, for what it means to Buffy, to no longer be the lone chosen one, and also for all the girls who now get to be powerful. However, I will never not be mad that Spike’s sacrifice would have been SO much more meaningful if The WB hadn’t already spoiled that he’d be joining the last season of Angel. And yes, I can hold a grudge for a long time.

Join us in the comments where we’ll be pouring one out for Anya, and as always, you probably don’t have to twist my arm into talking about that last Spuffy scene. Thank you so much for being here.

Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.