Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6 Review and Core Episodes Guide
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer…
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Review
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Review
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Review
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 Review
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 5 Review
“Everything here is hard and violent. This is hell,” Buffy says at the beginning of the harrowing sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, airing in the fall of 2001. As death and destruction touch the lives of each character in deep, irreversible ways, the series takes a dark, mature turn. The gang tries to live with loss, the consequences of their actions and making choices that lead to pain and alienation. Real, every day hardships mixed with supernatural battles fill all 22 episodes in this season. As Buffy returns to her calling, she’s forced to confront her place in this world, her ability to cope with pain and the challenges of adulthood.
A summer dealing with loss finds the gang somber and struggling to fight for their little town without the slayer. Bargaining (episode 1 & 2) showcases Willow’s intense powers and access to strong magic as she makes a deal with dark forces to undo what has been done. The ever-comforting parental figure, Giles, returns to England, leaving the gang on emotionally shaky ground. And speaking of ground, Sunnydale’s resurrected slayer climbs out of it, lost and confused. “Is this hell?” she asks the as themes of death, dark magic, friendship, and new beginnings are explored in the two-part season premiere.
“That’s the thing about magic. There’s always consequences,” Spike informs the gang in Afterlife (episode 3). A hitchhiker demon from the underworld begins to torment the gang as Buffy returns to her slaying duties. A quiet, profound confession to Spike makes Buffy’s sadness palpable. Themes of sacrifice, choice, lies and loss are examined in this heart-breaking episode.
A blast from the past introduces The Trio, self-professed “supervillains” Jonathan (Danny Strong, Gilmore Girls, Madmen) Warren (Adam Busch, Point Pleasant, Men at Work) and Andrew (Tom Lenk, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing) in Flooded (episode 4) as they dabble in supernatural elements for their entertainment. Giles returns from England but finds something is off with Buffy, chastising Willow for crossing several lines. “I did what I had to do. What no one could do,” Willow asserts. And in an off-screen meeting that can only exist in viewer’s minds, Buffy receives a phone call from Angel and goes to see him. Spike begins to orbit Buffy, watching out for her after her recent revelation as the daily issues of life and the burden of being an adult begin to weigh upon the slayer.
In Life Serial (episode 5), the Trio try to out-do each other by hatching secret tests to check Buffy for any weaknesses. As Buffy tries to figure out how to fit college, work and slaying to survive, she’s forced to deal with these tests that confuse and annoy her. Giles bails Buffy out of a major financial dilemma; a decision that he begins to regret as themes of adult obligations, safety and purpose are explored in this episode. Another Halloween in Sunnydale yields more danger in All the Way (episode 6) when Dawn lies to Buffy to hang out with a cute boy – who ends up being a dangerous guy. As Dawn is forced to face her decision, Giles runs to her rescue and once again becomes Buffy’s crutch. Xander and Anya announce their engagement and Willow’s magical abilities begin to challenge her relationship with Tara. Shirking responsibilities, abusing power and insecurity all become issues examined in this episode.
In a bold move that delighted and surprised fans, the show embraced the genre of musicals in a special episode titled Once More with Feeling (episode 7). Written and directed by Joss Whedon, the town of Sunnydale suddenly breaks out into song and dance. As the singing and toe tapping come to a dangerous pitch, Buffy and her friends are forced to battle the underworld demon that demands a human sacrifice. A mix of emotions and humour are explored in this episode that drives the arc of every character forward. Secrets come out and the gang reels from each other’s confessions/betrayal. And Buffy finds a quiet, passionate moment with Spike that takes her story in a different direction.
Tabula Rasa (episode 8) showcases Willow’s overuse on magic as a spell goes terribly wrong, wiping the memories of the gang. As they struggle to piece together how they relate to each other, Buffy rediscovers her superpowers. “It’s not what magic is for, fixing things to your liking, including me,” Tara tells Willow. Giles leaves Sunnydale and Tara steps away from Willow, leaving the group broken and damaged – and Buffy in the arms of Spike.
Alone and restless, Willow brings Amy the rat (Elizabeth Anne Allen, from season one) back to her human form as they dabble in dangerous magic. The Trio steals a rare gem from the museum using a self-made freeze ray (yes, really), becoming a more serious danger to the town and Buffy. A violent moment between Spike and Buffy results in a strange revelation and an explosive turn of events as both of their worlds collide. Succumbing to addictions, wanting to feel connected and dealing with loss are all explored in the dark and emotional Smashed (episode 9).
As Buffy and Spike deal with the aftermath of their choice, Amy introduces Willow to a powerful warlock, Rack (Jeff Kober, Sons of Anarchy, New Girl), who gives Willow just what she needs to deal with her life. When Willow puts Dawn’s life in danger for a magical high, she has to face Buffy’s anger and begs for forgiveness. As Buffy secretly deals with her own dark choices, Willow finally faces her destructive side in Wrecked (episode 10). Addictions, pain, and fighting internal demons begin to affect the gang in this heart-breaking episode.