Episode 7.22, “Chosen”
Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Joss Whedon
Original Air Date: May 20, 2003
I’m going to say this up front. The show should have ended with season 5’s very well done finale. Everything in that episode would have wrapped the series up perfectly. Had the show ended then, we’d have lost a few good eps and two or three great eps, but I think it would have been worth that price. A solid, well planned end to a series that ends the show with grace and closes the book on these characters would have been far more appreciated (at least by me) than the finale we ended up with.
I’m not saying that this was inherently a ‘bad’ episode. It’s just that it wasn’t even a good season finale in the sense that it left entirely too many questions just dangling that this season raised. I would love some answers to them, but I will never get them (unless Buffy’s sister show Angel answers a few).
What was the First wanting exactly? From early on in the season, we knew or at least saw that the First was killing potential slayers so that, presumably, when it made its move on Buffy and Faith, there’d be no more potentials to carry on the slayer line. Why, then, did the First stop caring about killing potentials?
During an earlier episode this season, Giles and Anya went to seek the advice of ‘seer’ of sorts. You know, that giant eye thing. Anyway, the eye told them that Buffy being resurrected was the key to the First’s plan. The First was going to exploit a flaw in the slayer line because of Buffy’s death and subsequent return to life. Outside of that episode, though, that question was never dealt with.
During “Conversations With Dead People”, Dawn received a very un-First-like visit from her mother Joyce. Joyce brought a warning to Dawn that in the end, Buffy wouldn’t choose her. What exactly did this warning pertain to? Did Joyce come all the way back from the dead to tell Dawn that Buffy was going to send Dawn away with Xander? That’s hardly worth warning about. It seems that the writers simply forget this plot thread, too.
Why did the First go after Spike? All along, I was under some impression that the First wanted a vampire with a soul. After all, back in “Amends” when we first saw the First, it was going after Angel. I figured it was far too big of a coincidence that the First was toying with Spike like it toyed with Angel. I thought there was something deeper to it. I was obviously wrong.
This episode (or any episode leading up to it) should have answered all those questions. It’s one thing to leave certain aspects of the show open ended, it’s an entirely different thing to bring up serious plot issues and blatantly ignore them. Outside of the lingering plot issues that this episode did nothing to put to rest, there is another huge issue that angered me to no end. That issue is Anya.
During her time on the show, Anya has been one of the best new additions the show ever saw. She’s quick to say what’s on her mind resulting in much hilarity. I cannot fathom why her death (one of only two major character deaths, by the way) was done such a shitty disservice. There was no emotional resonance. She was sliced through her chest by a bringer, and that was that. No one wept over her passing; no one went crazy trying to avenge her death; no one seemed to care all that much. The death felt tacked on and was an injustice to her character. If they were going to do this with her, they might as well have killed her off back in “Selfless”. That episode was one of the last time’s Anya was highlighted in the show and the episode would have done some justice to her death.
While on the subject of deaths, there was another major Scooby death this episode. That death was Spike’s. You see, Angel visited for all of five minutes (disappointed with that, too) and left an amulet that bestows the wearer with some kind of power. The catch is that the wearer has to have a soul and be more than human. So, naturally, when Buffy sends Angel away she gives the amulet to Spike. Spike, in turn, wears the jewel during the climatic final battle. It does some magical mumbo-jumbo that wipes out many of the Uber-vamps the gang is engaging in battle with. It’s quite a nice looking moment. I won’t fault it for being entirely too convenient, since the energy the amulet released was so much that it killed Spike and destroyed all of Sunnydale when all was said and done. That’s right, the hellmouth collapsed and destroyed the then vacant city of Sunnydale. So, Spike had a heroic death that was at least done better than Anya’s. I can’t say that the ‘touching’ moment between Buffy and Spike just before he died had even half the emotion of the scene when Angel and Buffy parted ways at the end of season two, but at least it let Spike die claiming he knew Buffy never loved him.
One last major quibble about this episode also radically changed the future of the entire slayer line. This radical change was pulled off by our resident witch Willow. Somehow, Willow used the essence of Buffy’s scythe to make every potential out there a slayer. I don’t know how she did it, and never will. It was entirely too convenient and the fact that it was never explained is all the more annoying. I’d have preferred using a bit of in-season continuity and have Willow visit the shamans through that shadow box Buffy used a few episodes back. At least, having Willow get their help or use their essence to do this trick would have made more sense. As it stands now, though, every potential is now a slayer. I’m not sure I like this, but it’s how it is. I’m sure “Angel” is going to have to pick up the pieces to this plotline, too.
This episode, as I said above, did have some good to it. Those good moments all had to do with character interaction. The D&D scene with Andrew in a red cloak was quite funny. Seeing the core four of the Scooby gang have a final moment all to themselves where they discuss what they plan to do tomorrow after the apocalypse was a very good moment that was sorely needed way before this episode, but at least this ep got it right. There were other things, like Dawn kicking Buffy in the shin and what-knot, but simply listing the small good moments doesn’t do justice to just seeing them.
As a finale, this episode did at least one thing right. It destroyed Sunnydale and forced the characters to move on. A chapter of these guys’ lives has been closed and that worked as some form of closure. On the many other ways a finale should have handled this show, though, it just didn’t pull through the way it should have. It was still a good episode for the most part, it just wasn’t a good finale in my mind (definitely not as good as season 5’s finale would have been as a series finale). For that, the episode gets:
Episode Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
Somebody pinch me. Is the show really over?
What do you think? Talk about it on the Forums