As Buffy acompanies Dawn on her first date at the new Sunnydale High, Giles continues Willow's magic education in England. But while Buffy is surprised to be offered a guidance counselor job, Willow is shocked to experience a horrific future vision of the Hellmouth.
Willow returns to Sunnydale and Giles soon follows with word that the Watcher's Council has been destroyed. Determined to make one last stand, Buffy and her allies gather for the upcoming battle, yet nothing can prepare them for The First and his robed Bringers, who are killing all the Potential Slayers- and anyone else who gets in their way.
The seventh and final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
begins with a mystery: someone is murdering teenage girls all over the world and something is trying hard to drive Spike mad. Buffy is considerably more cheerful in these episodes than we have seen her during the previous year as she trains Dawn and gets a job as student counselor at the newly rebuilt Sunnydale High. Willow is recovering from the magical addiction which almost led her to destroy the world, but all is not yet well with her, or with Anya, who has returned to being a Vengeance demon in "Same Time, Same Place" and "Selfless," and both women are haunted by their decisions.
Haunting of a different kind comes in the excellent "Conversations with Dead People" (one of the show's most terrifying episodes ever), in which a mysterious song is making Spike kill again in spite of his soul and his chip. Giles turns up in "Bring on the Night" and Buffy has to fight one of the deadliest vampires of her career in "Showtime". In "Potential" Dawn faces a fundamental reassessment of her purpose in life.
Buffy was always a show about female empowerment, but it was also a show about how ordinary people can decide to make a difference alongside people who are special. And it was also a show about people making up for past errors and crimes. So, for example, we have the excellent episodes "Storyteller", in which the former geek/supervillain Andrew sorts out his redemption while making a video diary about life with Buffy; and "Lies My Parents Told Me," in which we find out why a particular folk song sends Spike crazy. Redemption abounds as Faith returns to Sunnydale and the friends she once betrayed, and Willow finds herself turning into the man she flayed. Above all, this was always Buffy's show: Sarah Michelle Gellar does extraordinary work here both as Buffy and as her ultimate shadow, the First Evil, who takes her face to mock her. This is a fine ending to one of television's most remarkable shows. --Roz Kaveney