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Recap / Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 7 E 21 End Of Days

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"I told you, I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico."
Dawn Summers

Directed by Marita Grabiak

Written by Douglas Petrie, Jane Espenson, Rebecca Kirshner, & Drew Z Greenberg

Buffy effortlessly pulls the Scythe from the stone, leaving Caleb amazed. He is willing to fight her, though probably outmatched now that she has the Scythe. But The First (as Buffy) tells him to let Buffy go, and tells her that she will have to hurry to save her friends in the sewer.

Back at the Summers' residence, Andrew has just acquired food, while Dawn, Willow, Xander, and Anya return, having been looking for Buffy only to come across an empty house. Giles informs them that Faith and the others have not returned.

The Potential Slayers who survived the bomb blast — Kennedy, Amanda, Vi, Rona, and Caridad among others — start dragging the unconscious Faith and their other wounded towards the surface when they are ambushed by three Turok-Hans. Kennedy assumes command. All hope seems lost, though, until Buffy shows up with her new weapon and rescues them, killing all three Turok-Hans. Back at her house, the Potentials and Scoobies declare Buffy the leader again.

Willow and Giles look for references to the Scythe on the Internet. During their research, Willow confesses to Giles that she is not sure if she can do real heavy magic, even if she must. They find symbols that suggest a connection to scythes and Ancient Egypt.

At Buffy's insistence, a reluctant Xander renders Dawn unconscious with chloroform and drives off with her, away from Sunnydale for safety. When Dawn wakes up, she gives him a shock with a taser and then drives them back.

At the vineyard, Caleb meets with the First as he spouts his frustration over having to let Buffy leave with the Scythe. The First tells Caleb that his strength is waning and, in order to increase it again, merges with the preacher and lends him its power. Caleb is left with black eyes and declares that he is ready to take Buffy on again.

Buffy and Faith make up. Faith admits to Buffy that she was jealous of her friends, and lets it slip that she and Principal Wood have had sex. They both reflect upon how lonely they are as Slayers, and that they are the only ones in the group who truly understand what it feels like to be a Slayer. Buffy then has a personal discussion with Spike, in which they admit how much they feel for each other.

Andrew and Anya head to the hospital to retrieve supplies for the wounded, and have a heart-to-heart about humanity's desire to fight for good. They also have a wheelchair fight.

Following the Egyptian lead, Buffy takes the Scythe to a small pyramid that she discovers right outside one of the gates of the same cemetery that she has patrolled for the past six years. Inside, a woman claims to be the last of the Guardians, a secret female order that has watched the Watchers since ancient times tells. She tells Buffy that the Scythe is a powerful weapon forged for the final battle. Suddenly, Caleb shows up from behind the woman, kills her, and almost has Buffy bested when Angel steps in to save her. However, Buffy insists on fighting Caleb alone and slices his abdomen with the scythe. Caleb laughs for a moment, then changes expression and falls, seemingly dead.

Buffy gives Angel a kiss. Unbeknownst to them, Spike is hiding in the shadows with the First by his side. In Buffy's form, it tells him: "That bitch."

Tropes featured:

  • The Ageless: The Guardian, one of those who helped to forge the Scythe used to kill the last pure demon on Earth.
    Buffy: Are you a ghost?
    Guardian: I'm as real as you are. Just...well... let me put it this way: I look good for my age.
  • All There in the Manual: The Scythe isn't quite as much a blatant Deus ex Machina if you read the Fray comic first.
  • Ancient Conspiracy:
    Guardian: We forged [the Scythe] in secrecy and kept it hidden from the Shadow Men, who—
    Buffy: Yeah. Met those guys. Didn't really care too much for 'em.
    Guardian: Ahh, yes. Then you know. And they became the Watchers. And the Watchers watched the Slayers. But we were watching them.
    Buffy: Oh! So you're like... what are you?
    Guardian: Guardians. Women who want to help and protect you.
  • Assimilation Plot: The First's goal.
    First: When this is over, when our armies spring forth and our will sweeps the world, I'll be able to enter every man, woman and child on the face of this Earth.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Spike says that just holding Buffy and watching her sleep was the best night of his life. D'awww...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Dawnie tasering Xander.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • A scythe-wielding Buffy arrives to save the Potentials from the ubervamps.
    • Angel arrives with a "Hey, You!" Haymaker against Caleb when Buffy is on the ropes.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Angel turns up and Buffy's first response is to snog him...much to a watching Spike's chagrin.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
    Buffy: You're a dope! And a bonehead, and you're shirty!
    Spike: Have you gone completely carrot-top?
  • Bilingual Bonus: When Willow researches the scythe, one name comes up: "M question-mark." Giles points out that the "question mark" (ʔ) is actually a glottal stop in the International Phonetic Alphabet. What does "mʔ" sound like? The closest English example would be "gulp."
  • Black Eyes of Evil/Evil Sounds Deep: Caleb after the First shares his essence with him.
  • Brutal Honesty: Anya is not exactly Nurse Bedside Manner, especially when she's half pissed.
    (Andrew is ripping up bedsheets. Anya is using them to bandage a Potential.)
    Andrew: I liked the real bandages better. These bed sheets are awfully festive. Ecch!
    Anya: Yeah. They're gonna look like mortally wounded Easter baskets.
    Wounded Potential: (groggily) What?
    Anya: Aw. (shrugs, swigs from a bottle of Scotch)
    Andrew: H-hey! We're supposed to use that to sterilize wounds. Mr. Giles said.
    Anya: Come on, what does it really matter? (hands bottle to Andrew)
    Andrew: Hmm. Good point. (takes a swig from the bottle)
    Anya: Giles knows his single malt antiseptics.
    Andrew: Blech. (shakes his head) Everything's horrible.
    Anya: Yup. Many of these girls will die. Slaughterhouse is what it is.
    Wounded Potential: (alarmed) What?
    Anya: (tenderly) Oh...trying to talk will just kill you sooner.
    (Andrew suggests raiding the hospital for supplies.)
    Anya: OK. I'll get Kennedy to watch the girls. She's tough. Imminent death won't bother her.
    Wounded Potential: (sits up) What?!
  • Buffy Speak: Spoofed when Buffy complains about Spike's use of the Brit slang word "shirty", claiming that "It's not even a word!"
  • The Chains of Commanding: Faith talks to Buffy about how she was always jealous of her friends and authority; it was only when Faith took on the role of leader that she realised it's Lonely at the Top. As seen in the previous episode, Buffy realises that Faith's self-imposed isolation is not pleasant either.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: When Spike asks what it means that the two of them could spend the best night of their lives together without having sex, Buffy backs off from the implications. "Does it have to mean anything?"
  • Continuity Nod: Xander brought Buffy back to life (with CPR) in "Prophecy Girl", and (along with the other Scoobies) with the resurrection spell in "Bargaining, Part I".
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind / The Cavalry: Angel gives Caleb a "Hey, You!" Haymaker just as he's about to kill Buffy with her own Scythe.
    Buffy: You look timely.
  • Cursed with Awesome: After a discussion on the burdens of Slayerdom, Buffy and Faith conclude that being hot chicks with superpowers does take the edge off.
  • Delicious Distraction: Giles snaffles the jaffa cakes.
  • Didn't Think This Through: We find out just what happens when one give a leadership position to someone who has absolutely no experience: Faith's first plan leads herself and several Potentials into a Death Trap involving a bomb and several Turok-Han vampires, with the survivors only being saved by Buffy's Big Damn Heroes moment. Several of them decide that the whole ordeal was Laser-Guided Karma for turning against Buffy.
  • Dream-Crushing Handicap: Buffy asks Xander take Dawn away from Sunnydale, despite his desire to be with Buffy at the very end.
    Buffy: I trust you with my life. That's why I need you to do this for me.
    Xander: (choked up) OK...
    Buffy: (casually) Also, you can't shoot a bow and arrow anymore, and every time you pick up a sword, I worry that you're gonna break one of our good lamps.
    Xander: Hey!
    Buffy: Don't look at me. You're the one who said I'm gonna die.
  • Easily Forgiven: Buffy doesn't even mention the fact that everyone ousted her as leader. Justified, as everyone's got much bigger fish to fry.
  • Foreshadowing: Anya mentions that people in war prepare for death and are completely suprised when it happens to them. Guess what happens to her next episode?
  • Geeky Turn-On: While looting the hospital, Anya says that the oxygen tanks would only be useful for reenacting the climatic scene of Jaws. Andrew stares at her and says, "You are the perfect woman." Anya of course replies that she's often thought so.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Spike's Death Glare at the Bangel kiss, with First!Buffy whispering in his ear about what a bitch she is.
  • Heal It with Booze: While patching up the Potentials after a big battle, Andrew and Anya get a bottle of whiskey for this purpose, but end up drinking it themselves.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Just as Caleb is going to strike down Buffy someone off screen calls out, "Hey" and wallops him. Oh hai Peaches.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Anya and Andrew help themselves to Giles' single malt antiseptic.
  • Instant Sedation: The chloroform version is used by Xander on Dawn when Buffy wants him to get her out of town before the final battle with the First. She's not happy with him when she wakes up, tasers him, and drives them back to town.
  • Ironic Echo: Spike says "Honey, you're home" on seeing Buffy again. Buffy said "Honey, I'm home" as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner to Spike in "Halloween".
  • It Meant Something to Me: Spike tries to dismiss their night together as no big deal, assuming Buffy will want to back off from their relationship as per usual.
    Buffy: Do you see this? (holds up the Scythe) This may actually help me fight my war. This might be the key to everything. And the reason I'm holding it is because of you. Because of the strength that you gave me last night. Look, I am tired of defensiveness and weird, mixed signals. You know, I have Faith for that. Let's just get to the truth here, OK? I don't know how you felt about last night, but I will not—
    Spike: Terrified.
    Buffy: Of what?
    Spike: (lets out a slow sigh) Last night was... (looks up) God, I'm such a jerk. I can't do this.
    Buffy: Spike...
    Spike: It was the best night of my life. (angrily) If you poke fun at me, you bloody well better use that, 'cause I couldn't bear it. It may not mean that much to you, but—
    Buffy: (quietly) I just told you it did.
  • It's What I Do:
    Xander: I never said you were gonna die! I implied that you were gonna die. It's totally different.
    Buffy: Yeah, OK. Sure...
    Xander: Besides, if you die, I'll just bring you back to life. That's what I do.
  • Just Friends: Buffy re Wood. "Or mortal enemies, depending on what day of the week it is."
  • Lame Pun Reaction:
    Buffy: I think it's some kind of scythe. It's clearly important.
    Willow: So it's true. Scythe matters.
    Giles: I'm ignoring that.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Amanda thinks the bomb was fate punishing them for tossing Buffy out, and Kennedy and the other Potentials agree.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: After saving Buffy from Caleb Angel steps back and enjoys watching her kick his ass.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Buffy swings the scythe at Caleb, slicing his stomach. He stumbles back, gives an Evil Laugh, wags his finger at her...then collapses to the floor with his eyes open and staring.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: After the usual Spuffy fencing, Buffy gets annoyed and delivers some straight talk about What Happened Last Night, saying she's tired of weird, mixed signals (you know, 'cause she's got Faith for that). However when the implication is raised that they've fallen in love, they both put an end to the conversation.
  • Meaningful Echo: "It was the best night of my life". Last time Spike said that was in "Fool for Love", when he was boasting to Buffy about how he killed his first Slayer.
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Buffy: Of course I'm not putting you out to pasture. What does that even mean?
    Xander: Well, you know, it's like, uh... when a cow gets old and loses an eye, or its ability to be milked, the farmer takes it and puts it in a different pasture so it won't have to... fight...with the priest.
  • Mood Whiplash: Several of these.
  • Never My Fault: The Potentials attempt to blame Faith for their defeat in the sewers in a cowardly roundabout sort of way. In fairness to them, it's clear that it's more out of guilt for betraying Buffy than any sort of blame-shifting, which she herself acknowledges as she defends Faith.
    Buffy: (to the Potentials) "That could have just as easily happened to me."
  • Noodle Incident: The fate of Miss Kitty Fantastico, which apparently involved an errant crossbow....
  • Obligatory Joke: Lampshaded when Xander complains about all the eye jokes he'll have to put up with now.
  • Oh, Crap!: Caleb is sneering that Buffy won't be able to pry the Scythe from solid rock before he comes over and— Buffy casually yanks the scythe out of the rock.
    Caleb: (smiles nervously) You don't even know what you got there.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Guardians, apparently the feminine counterpart to the Watchers Council.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Buffy "King Arthured" the scythe from the stone.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Buffy kicks the door to the crypt right down the stairs.
  • Pair the Spares: Faith and Wood, continuing the tradition of Buffy losing people (Angel, the Potentials, Giles) to her.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Anya explaining why she's going to stick around this time; for the sake of all humans; not just Xander as in "The Gift":
    I was kinda new to being around humans before. And now I've seen a lot more, gotten to know people, seen what they're capable of and I guess I just realize how amazingly... screwed up they all are. I mean, really, really screwed up in a monumental fashion. And they have no purpose that unites them, so they just drift around, blundering through life until they die. Which they know is coming and yet every single one of them is surprised when it happens to them. They're incapable of thinking about what they want beyond the moment. They kill each other, which is clearly insane, and yet, here's the thing. When it's something that really matters, they fight. I mean, they're lame morons for fighting. But they do. They never... They never quit. And so I guess I will keep fighting, too.
  • Plunder: The Scoobies help themselves to junk food and medical supplies.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Faith spends a lot of the episode off-screen in bed recuperating after being knocked unconscious by the bomb explosion. This is because Eliza Dushku was filming the pilot for Tru Calling during the shooting of the episode.
  • The Resenter: During their heart-to-heart talk, Faith finally admits that she is this to Buffy.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying: Andrew and Anya have a wheelchair fight in the Abandoned Hospital.
  • She's Back:
    Caridad: So are you...are you, like, back?
    Buffy: I don't know. I guess I'm not leaving.
  • Ship Tease:
    • The Bangel kiss, obviously.
    • Spuffy gets some too, with Buffy and Spike both admitting their time together the night before was more intimate to them than any of the times they've had sex, as well as Buffy seemingly nearly suggesting that something might happen between them after the apocalypse is over.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Averted; Andrew and Anya decide to stay and fight. Buffy's attempt to pack off Xander and Dawn doesn't work.
  • Stealth Insult: Giles says he's never heard of the Slayer Scythe. Buffy replies that the good guys "aren't traditionally known for their communication skills."
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: The Guardian is neck-snapped by Caleb who has approached unseen.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: The Scythe is not actually a scythe, but a combination of axe, spear, and mace.
    Buffy: Kills strong bodies three ways.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Caleb smashes a cask of wine, angry over how the First refused to let him fight a scythe-wielding Buffy.
    First!Buffy: Not that I care personally, but you are wasting a lot of robust, full-bodied merlot.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Caleb sneering there's no way Buffy will be able to pull the Scythe out of solid rock before he gets over to where she is...only for Buffy to do so and Caleb to react accordingly.
    • Kennedy saying there's only one ubervamp, just before another one attacks them from behind.
    • The Guardian says the end is truly near and immediately after gets Neck Snapped by Caleb.
  • There Can Be Only One:
    Faith: There's only supposed to be one. Maybe that's why you and I can never get along. We're not supposed to exist together.
    Buffy: Also, you went evil and were killing people.
    Faith: Good point. Also a factor.
    Buffy: But you're right. I mean, I guess everyone's alone. But being a Slayer? There's a burden we can't share.
  • This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself: Buffy going to find out about the origins of the Scythe. This is also why Buffy wouldn't let Angel help her fight Caleb.
  • Verbal Backspace: Xander says he expected to be with Buffy, "at the end", then hastens to say that he wasn't implying they'll all be killed, of course.
  • Voiceover Letter: Xander gives Dawn a letter from Buffy while driving them away. Buffy's almost-saccharine narration gets cut off by Dawn knocking Xander out and driving them back.
  • Walk-In Chime-In: In the middle of Buffy and the Guardian talking, Caleb snaps the latter's neck and attacks the former.
    Caleb: I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last part on account of her neck snappin' and all. Did she say the end is near... or here?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's implied that Willow and Tara's cat (last seen in Season 5) met its demise in a tragic crossbow accident.
    Dawn: Xander, my crossbow is not out here. I told you, I don't leave crossbows around all willy-nilly. Not since that time with Miss Kitty Fantastico.
  • Wheelchair Antics: While looting an Abandoned Hospital for medical supplies in preparation for the Final Battle, Anya and Andrew have a wheelchair fight.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
    Guardian: I'm sorry. What's your name?
    Buffy: Buffy.
    Guardian: No, really. (Buffy shrugs)
  • Who Watches the Watchmen?: Turns out the Guardians do.
  • You Are in Command Now: With Faith taken out by the bomb, Kennedy assumes command of the Potentials against a Turok-Han. To her credit, she was doing a pretty decent job of strategizing until three more showed up.