back to episode 7.22 - Chosen

Tallgent's Thoughts on "Chosen"

I laughed. I cheered. I cried. And I clapped.

And I am going to miss this show.

1. Buffy and Angel had "Goodbye" written all over it.

2. Typical Whedon touch. We expect serious Buffy and Dawn tension and we get a kick in the shin.

3. Well, we can see which vampire is the artist in the family!

4. Whedon has this way of making everyone likable. Kennedy became hot again. Though kicking Uber booty probably had a lot to do with it.

5. Loved the Buffy/Spike staging. Always, ALWAYS he flanked her or stood behind her. And when she marched to the Hellmouth seal, he was right there waiting, and allowed her to go first. No wonder she spent three nights with the guy.

6. Dungeons and Dragons, happy sigh.

7. Awesome nostalgia between the original four. And just as Whedon said they would in the beginning, the original four came out alive.

8. You know, I like the idea of Wood surviving because he and Faith have a shot at some fanfic love now.

9. Andrew was admirable and brave.

10. Marsters and Gellar. Like Tracy and Hepburn, Bergman and Bogie. Thank you for acting both your hearts out in one of the seminal tragic love scenes in visual media. Buffy's childlike joyful awe when she felt Spike's love was....

No words. That goes double for Spike's bravery which shown brilliantly thanks to Marsters.

11. A strikeout for William "The Spike" Bloody. The Sunnydale Sign is finally out after a tenacious at bat!

12. Buffy and Spike will go down as one of television's greatest romances.

13. Also typical Whedon, for every moment of mythic resonance and witty levity, we also get a stark reality. Sometimes good people die and they die in a way that's so utterly meaningless. Anya was the true tragedy of this piece.

14. Small touches of giddiness: The equal opportunity mussing of hair between Xander and Anya. But the best was the fond hand squeeze between Buffy and Xander. I love hand squeezes.

15. Finally, Buffy's ready to do some living. And at last some loving.

16. P.S. Hope you like L.A., Spike.

17. I have no inclinations on comparing this to other Buffy finales. I still think storywise and dramatization wise that The Gift is the best.

All that said, though, I've never cried harder during an episode than last night.

In the end it wasn't all about power. It was about making choices on how to use it. And Buffy made hers in the most beneficial way possible. She shared it.

Some have a problem with how it was done. Perhaps. But the point is she isn't alone anymore. She's got a whole million Slayer march out there to confront evil where it lies. Whether in a Hellmouth in Cleveland or an abusive dick of a boyfriend, evil has to deal with the power of the Slayers. A whole mess of `em this time.

No wonder it turned tail and ran.

It was epic. It was glorious. Buffy rallying the troops for the last time. Xander proving how far he's come as a man, Willow achieving her true potential, Giles welcoming his new role as advisor to Buffy, though as always staying her father figure, Dawn learns that Buffy won't choose her, so she chooses instead, Faith realizing what she's been missing in all her encounters with men, Wood finding a chance to heal his inner wounds, Andrew realizing fate doesn't have death in store for him, yet, Anya dying as a human being in the most inhuman manner, yet proving without a doubt how human she really is. I watched the thing again and it was like a movie. I'll probably see it again sometime this afternoon.

Buffy learned that people have choices. She can't make Dawn not fight or Xander for that matter. She shows her faith in Willow but she doesn't push. She leads the Potentials to water, but she doesn't make them drink. That's what power is, the power to choose.

18. But for every choice there's a consequence. And sometimes you just have to deal with the choices others make and respect them. Sadly, this is what Angel must deal with when it comes to Buffy's choice.

I really liked how Boreanaz just showed Angel's devastation when she realizes that she doesn't want him as her champion. It's what he's always fallen back on. The Powers chose him as their champion. He's the only vampire with a soul. In "Angel" he learns the first statement might have been manipulated. And now he discovers that the other thing that he's taken as fact and taken for granted may no longer be the case.

Actually three in that Buffy no longer sees him as her only love. That's been a given. In canon.

No longer.

Angel's just been supplanted as the sure thing in Buffy's life. And when he learns that, the playful façade drops. Now he has to make his peace with the lost opportunities with Cordelia and Connor and the compromises he has made with Wolfram and Hart.

He had his chances and he didn't take them.

But he still can't quite let go. Until Buffy gives him a glimmer of hope so that he can.

Strange. Angel needs a hope of a future with Buffy and Spike is content with giving her hope for the future. It seems that Angel is slipping into the selfish love that Spike transcended.

So the first vampire with a soul is regressing while Spike hits the zenith of his evolution. There's a new champion in town and the old one has to go back to the drawing board, learning a few new lessons along the way.

Or so it seems at any rate.

We'll see come the fall.

19. For a show created by an avowed atheist, there are times when I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the most Christian television shows ever made.

Please don't misunderstand.

I'm not talking about the controversial aspects that fly in the face of religion. I'm talking about what's at its center. What has been the common crux through its seven years.

Love. The celebration of love in all its forms.

Buffy and Angel: The celebration of first, naive love.

Buffy and the Scoobs: The celebration of the love of the family.

Buffy and Giles: The celebration of love between the father and child.

Now, finally we come to what may be the defining love of the series. At least for me. Love that redeems, makes whole. Love at its purest and most powerful. Love that exalts.

Two things went through my head while I saw Buffy and Spike's love reach the pinnacle of the sacred. "Casablanca" in which Rick demonstrated his love for Ilsa that he was willing to give her up. And John 3:16

"God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son."

Spike so loved Buffy that he gave up himself to give her the world.

Spike reached his pinnacle as the Christ figure. The image of himself burning on the cross in Beneath You was setting us up for his real crucifixion in the Hellmouth. And like Christ, whose only witnesses to the end were the two women who loved Him the most: Mary, His mother and Mary Magdalene, the redeemed sinner who became one of His followers, so too was Spike's witnessed by the one woman who loved him most, the only one to bear witness to his struggle for redemption, his victory over the darkness: Buffy.

Buffy became his staunchest support and defender. In confronting Angel about her relationship with him, she finally closed the door on her past. After all this time, she is the one to move successfully on from the past while Angel retreats to it. But more importantly she makes her choice for Spike in his presence. The hold he has over her is gone.

When she gets to the basement she immediately expresses regret for her impulsive greeting. They snark back at each other like two married people once again, not idealized utterings or hateful sniping. All they do is talk and communicate clearly. And Spike shows his maturity by instantly forgiving her and getting down to business. Unlike Angel, who thought he should be the one to bear the amulet because of his place as champion, Spike believes he should bear it because he is the strongest one besides her to bear its power. It's not boasting. It's fact.

Buffy tells him that the amulet can only be worn by a champion, and we see Spike's heartbreaking humility. As he said before to her, he's not a champion he's just a guy willing to pitch in and do what he can.

But that's what makes him a champion. That's what being a champion is all about. It's what he's been doing at her side for so long now. In one gesture, Buffy elevates Spike in meaning to her and to her life. He is her champion.

And once again she spends the night in her champion's arms. Drawing strength from his love and devotion. In a nice visual, already things have changed from their time in Touched. Now her hair is let down from its meticulous arrangement. She's baring herself to him a piece at a time.

We get our first hint at his destiny when he wakes up from a dream about footwear (snert). But for those in the "Angel" know, events are corresponding to a fulfillment of the prophecy. That a soulled vampire will fight alongside the Slayer in the last days and Shanshu. The crucifixion will lead to resurrection.

Buffy's warrior triumvirate is established in the speech. The two shadow selves of Buffy, Spike and Faith, are situated at her right and left side respectively. What was hinted at metaphorically is now made manifest. Spike has become Buffy's right hand.

The married aspect reaches into the direction as well. Buffy eventually comes down to the basement once again and both stand at opposite ends of the room just gazing at each other, foreshadowing their eventual separation. It's not just about sex anymore or even connecting. It's about bonding in the private manner that intimacy is, that married people do. Therefore, the lovers have their private, special moment. I believe they didn't have sex, but they did make love. And when it was over, they held on for as long as they could. Still gazing at one another.

We see in the battle, and I would argue even with Buffy's final fight with Caleb, that they don't need to be hovering near each other all the time. Spike let Buffy do her thing while he did his, both show faith in the other to get the job done. It was only near the end when he felt his soul threatening to rip free from its demon prison, that he called out to him.

And her response was immediate. She could see he was in pain.

And in the end, all that was left were the both of them. And Buffy was willing to stay with him to the very end.

Hands have defined Spike and Buffy. Hands were used on each other in brawl after brawl until the brawl turned into a dance. In the closing song in Once More With Feeling, Spike and Buffy are the only ones who have their fingers interlaced, much like their final moment together. In Dead Things, the door scene focused on their hands being separated by the door, but their attachment still evident through the barrier. Then in Potential and beyond things changed, the hands held each other, caressed, fondled, stroked.

In Primeval, Buffy learned she was the hands of the Scoobies. In Spike, she found her equal, proved in mythic, symbolic fashion by the way she reached for his hand, interlaced them, and wordlessly swore her devotion to her equal. Now it is Buffy who is reaching for Spike.

The fire blazes forth as they are finally joined. In action. In spirit. In love.

She believed in him.

She trusted him.

She healed him.

And now she's willing to die with him.

She risks the pain, like the First Slayer told her she must, and forges strength from it. Her face glows in something perhaps not unlike how she felt when she was in heaven. This is her heaven on earth, seeing his beautiful soul full of love. It startles her, its brightness. It warms her. It heals her. It sends her into ecstasy.

And he stares in awe as her wounded soul is revealed to him. And in that moment he knows. Purposely, he looks exactly as he looked when she freed him from the First's cave. It was a revelation then, and it becomes truth now.

Buffy hasn't expressed love that often and when she has, always there has been a portent of tragedy. Her voice expresses such. Desperate. Sad. Painful. But not now with Spike. She is a child again in that moment when love was new and anything seemed possible. Her voice is hushed when she tells him what he has longed to hear. Her face beams with happiness and the fear and doubt has been replaced with acceptance and peace.

And he surprises and amazes her once again in his selflessness, denying her love. Taking the burden of his life away from her so that she may live. Buffy has known no greater love and it's doubtful she ever will. Spike and Buffy's love is exalted on high. Made sacred.

One last look. This one different, yet not. It's full of…so many things. Anger at him for his denial, admiration when she realizes his intent, and an acknowledgment of their private truth. He knows. Whatever may come, from this moment on…he knows.

And there's something else. Something that maybe the avowed atheist wouldn't like, but what I registered. What had tears streaming down my face, but grinning and laughing at the same schizophrenic time.

A face that read "Bless you, Spike."

He lets her go and not looking back, not even daring to, she flees.

20. And how perfect that Spike faces death with a snarkish grin on his face. Bring it on, baby. I couldn't cheer. I couldn't yell. But I did pound the armchair and I did say, "Go get `em, Spikey."

Go show `em what partying is in the Promised Land.

21. The gang gathers at the crater. Buffy is silent throughout, looking distraught and on the verge of tears, but holding it in. When Dawn hugs her it brings her back to the present.

As does Giles's question.

Something poignant about her answer. She doesn't go into specifics and she doesn't explain. It's too long, too painful. Appropriately, after she acknowledges his action, his presence comes back yet again when the Sunnydale sign falls for the final time.

For another reason, he doesn't deserve to know. He doubted him. They all doubted him even after all the evidence to the contrary. So on that issue it is her right to know and hers alone. What matters is that he died a hero, a Champion.

Anything else is between her and Spike. She won't disrespect or dishonor that. There seemed to be a kind of bittersweetness to the exchange. As if on the issue of Spike, she knows she can never convince her friends of what a good man he turned out to be. They didn't see so they don't know. And they'll never really know.

In a sense, she's already looking beyond them. The thing her extended family has battled on for so long now is gone.

More muted celebration and remembrance, some typical Xander sarcasm, and Buffy is still looking wistful and sad, mulling over the sequence of events, probably asking herself why Spike wanted to die alone.

Then she gets the answer. "What do we do now, Buffy?"

Anything we bloody well want to. He gave her back love. He gave her back life. Once she told Willow to carpe diem. Willow's going to follow it to the letter as a goddess with Kennedy at her side. Andrew gets a new lease on life, a chance to continue to make a difference. Faith has a chance to find something new and wonderful with Robin. Xander can take the harsh lessons he learned with Anya and grow even more. Dawn will continue to grow as a young woman. Giles will go to Cleveland.

It's Buffy's turn now. To live. To grow.

To love.

Just as Spike wanted her to.

Carpe diem.

(Patrick Harrington)

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