“Last Gleaming” (part 3)
Plot: We’re back on the Hellmouth. So all kinds of crap is hitting all kinds of things. Painfully.
Comments: Yes, this is more like what I want for the season finale of the series. We’ve got a plethora of Big Bads now and they’re all mostly Angel or his son, a sort of green-tinted Aslan. Or the Master, back from the dusty dead to just vampire dead again. It’s definitely not Spike (who’s a hero these days) or Warren and Amy (who were mostly distractions) or the American military (see previous). Instead, it’s all back to being about Buffy fighting demons at the portal between this world and theirs, only now it’s got a mystical totem of its own, the Seed, and Angel’s leonine kid wants it.
Well, I’ve never cared for Angel in this series (he’s better off in his unnatural habitat of Hell A), but if you’ve gotta have him, you might as well overdose. Here he’s as confused as always about what he’s really supposed to be doing, which never ever keeps him from doing something (doggedly) at all times. His mission, leading to yet another betrayal, may be yet another wrong path taken, but that’s Angel for you. He wants to help, even if he has to kill you to do it.
I’d rather fight alongside Spike, who always knows what he’s doing and why, worrying less about whether it’s evil or good and more about about saving his own skin. And Willow, letting the power surge to her head again (and falling victim to a dire future vision she’s trying to prevent). And Dawn and Xander, humans caught in the crossfire as usual, tempted again by macho military doubt in the face of Buffy and all her cussedly magical and somehow female gifts. When Dawn is injured, Xander crumbles, because of the lovely Slayer he lost in Japan back when we were still trafficking in the Little Bads near the start of this season.
I don’t remember where Faith is (probably fisticuffs), but Giles and Buffy get a tender reunion moment where they both acknowledge that they’ve become grownups and peers. Which Buffy has heard before, but she’s always been one for extra dollops of affirmation. Jeanty turns in one of his top attempts at character recognition, losing the details as always in widescreen but zooming in for several effective close-ups. I’d actually like to learn more about Angel’s (and Buffy’s) god-like son, and I’m worried that solving the Hellmouth/Seed riddle might lead to shutting down the Slayer Army again, but this issue is balls out rushing to the finale, and it’s a rollercoaster of fun!