The Dish: It's Spring Fling...time to get all pretty and kill the Master.
It's life or death for Buffy and her friends and well, everyone really. Giles has been reading the ancient book Angel scored for him and it seems there is a prophecy that the Master will rise and this will open the mouth of Hell and bring forth the apocalypse. Hey, that's one way to get out of finals.
Xander is undergoing a life or death experience of his own. He is tired of mooning over Buffy and decides the Spring Fling is the perfect time to declare his feelings of undying love for her and ask her out. Oh what a brave lad ye are, Xander. Too bad Buffy doesn't feel the same. She lets him down gently but poor Xander's heart is broken to smithereens.
Giles and Ms. Calendar continue to research the impending apocalypse -- sadly that leaves little time for their sexy banter -- and bring in Angel. Angel confirms Giles's suspicion that the only way to stop it is for Buffy to face the Master. The only down side to that is Buffy will die. Oops. And oops to them chatting about it with the door wide open. Buffy overhears them and has a meltdown. Can't say I blame her, being sixteen and told you're going to die, all for a calling you didn't want in the first place. Buffy decides to quit being the Slayer.
So back to the real important stuff...the Spring Fling. Cordelia asks Willow for some techy help (wow, the apocalypse really must be nigh). They meet at the school and discover Cordy's latest piece of man-candy, and his buds, DEAD. Buffy had mentioned that vamps were getting ballsier, killing closer and closer to the school, but they've reached a new level with this mini-massacre.
Willow is genuinely distraught. Ex-Slayer Buffy comforts her, and Willow tells her she feels that the vamps ripped their world away from them. This motivates Buffy to un-quit and she decides to kill the Master, even if it means she'll die. She finds the Annoying One (yes, he's still around) and he leads her to the Master's lair.
The Master uses his hypnotic powers (Who knew he had them? Well, he's still boring, so there.) to immobilize Buffy. Right before he takes the big sweet bite of death, he falls prey to the Curse of the Hollywood Villain and takes the time out of his wicked schedule to confess his dastardly plot: Buffy got the prophecy wrong. If she never came to the Master, he would never be able to break free and the apocalypse would never happen. Way to drop the ball, Giles. Anyway, the Master takes a bite out of Buffy before throwing her in a pool of water to drown to death. Then he stars in The Master: Long Walk to Freedom (that is to say, he leaves the lair).
Above ground, shit has hit the Hellmouth fan. Giles, Ms. Calendar and Willow discover that the entrance to the Hellmouth is, in fact, right under the library and they are quickly under siege by an array of demons. Meanwhile Xander, still pining for Buffy, swallows his pride and seeks help from Angel. They find Buffy in the Master's lair, dead. Xander performs CPR while Angel looks on, powerless to help (because he has no breath). After a few failed attempts, Buffy comes back to life. And she is pissed.
Buffy finds the Master on the roof of the school, staring out at the world before him -- because that's what I would do if I was a super-villain confined underground for years, look at the pretty sights. Come on, lame-o! Lame-o indeed, says Buffy (not actually), but she is ready for battle. She throws the Master through the skylight on the roof. He crashes down into the library and lands on a piece of protruding wood (If ya know what I mean, wink wink. What I mean is a literal piece of wood). The demons go back into Hell, the Hellmouth is closed, and Buffy has saved the day. All in a pretty dress.
* Fantastic season finale. Really, for a season who's master villain (so to speak) has been kind of ho-hum, I really felt Buffy's fear when she was told she would die at the Master's hands. I love that at Buffy's core, she is just a simple sixteen-year-old. She doesn't react like a valiant superhero, she has a (well-deserved) tantrum. She throws things and yells about the unfairness of it all and it is absolutely heartbreaking because she's right. Every episode she faces demons and vampires that could very well kill her but to know she's going to die, and go riding into battle anyway, is too much. That scene summed up the entire show, and it did so beautifully.
* Every single scene, in fact, was charged with life or death stakes, literal or metaphorical. The scene where Xander asked Buffy out was as tense for me as any of the apocalypse scenes because for Xander, it was life or death. The only thing he wants in his life is to have Buffy as his girlfriend and when she rejected him, a part of Xander died and we feel that.
* With all the crazy tension in the episode, it was lighter on humour than some of the others but I did appreciate a couple of lines from Giles and Willow. Arguably the two most mature characters, I love their pettiness: When Buffy decides she will kill the Master, Giles tells her no because he 'made up his mind first', and when Willow balks at Ms. Calendar's presence 'How comes she gets to be in the club?'. So cute.
* It wouldn't be the Liz Channel if I didn't praise Cordelia and in this episode, she did not disappoint. She was a total BADASS. I loved when she evaded the vamps by driving through the school and when she bit a vampire. These little character touches are why I love the show.
* 'Buffy, I really like your dress', says almost every character in the episode. And you know what? So do I. Buffy gets my Fashion Slayer award for her sexy yet innocent white Spring Fling dress, but only WITH the leather jacket. Slayer Chic, gotta love it.
That concludes Season 1, my lovely readers. I am dying to know your thoughts. Did you enjoy the finale? Happy to see the death of the Master? Did you really like Buffy's dress? Leave me a comment and let me know. Don't forget to check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog. Season 2 is coming your way.