END OF BUFFY
is the high-water mark of vampirology, and everything after
it is just 'post-Buffy'
Vampires Slayer has finished. It terms of a TV series, it succeeded
unusually well, managing to please most of its fans most of
the time and to create the almost unheard of successful spin-off series.
But that doesn't really interest me; whether or not the viewing
figures risen or fallen doesn't always correlate with how good
a TV show is. Some people would say it does, but only inversely.
I doubt there will be
a film, or an offspring series. As a story, Buffy has ended
succinctly and with a device of complete genius. Throughout
this final season, and throughout the series, the questions
have always been posed: "What is evil?", "Where
does it come from?" and "Can we get rid of it?".
Season 7 answered second question; evil is everywhere. While
the First was a manifestation of evil, it wasn't the cause
of evil. It couldn't, in the end, be got rid of. The First was
intangible, incorporeal. It was a psychological being, as much
a metaphor as a creature. It couldn't be eradicated. Rather,
it could only be put in a position where it no longer had the
upper hand. A balance is restored in the world.
But the season, nor
the show, has never been really about 'Evil'.
What this season, and the show, has been about is the process
of becoming an adult, of the 'growing up' Joss is always talking
about. The show has followed one character, Buffy, through the
irresponsibility and selfishness of adolescence, to self-sacrifice,
and finally to humility and cooperation. When Buffy returned
from the grave after having sacrificed herself in 'The Gift',
she hadn't finished her journey. She still set herself apart
from others, and she still considered herself to be 'special'
and, therefore, in a sense 'better'. In doubting her own right
to lead, and in putting her trust totally in her friends (Willow
and Spike in particular), Buffy had truly grown up. In sharing
her power over all the other potentials she saves the world
by co-operation, co-existence. She's no longer the special Chosen
One, she's just One of many. In giving strength to so many women
in the world, the show ties up its feminist strand; no longer
is the world to be saved by a girl chosen by men from thousands
of years ago, but instead it's to be saved by women, with power
given to them by women. It's literal empowerment.
There's no doubt
that the series really has ended. Not because the fight
has been won. The ending of the show makes it clear that this
is not a fight that can be won, but rather an ongoing battle
where the odds can be tipped, or at least evened. The series
has ended because Buffy's growth has, in a way, come full circle;
she's passed through the period of turbulence in her life. She's
now a grown woman.
So what next? Well, whatever happens, it will be post-Buffy.