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Here's your place to talk about this character. If you have a fun name for it let me know in the comments and I can change it.

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I'll start.

 

Never before have I been so amazed by a character's journey than Willow Rosenberg. How she went from a timid wallflower to a strong, powerful wiccan. And Alyson Hannigan just astonished me by things I never knew she could do. Examples include acting evil, pretending to be evil poorly, and breaking my heart with her big sad eyes.

 

Highlights of her journey, in my opinion, include her being placed in charge at some points, her friendship with Xander, her relationships with Oz and Tara (I prefer Oz, but I like Tara, too), learning to become a witch, and her spell (no pun intended) as Dark Willow.

 

But I will admit that she did have her bad moments, mostly in the last two seasons. The ridiculous magic equals drugs metaphor in S6 and her relationship with Kennedy in S7 were my least favorite moments of Willow's story.

 

Wrecked was such a clumsy approach to show what Willow was going through, and her breakdown after nearly killing Dawn made me cringed. The only time I felt sympathy for Willow in S6 was in the last four episodes, for the obvious reasons. I can see where she's coming from. She has worked hard to make things up for Tara (though I feel it was for her own selfish needs) that when Tara got shot after she and Willow reunited, she was devastated and completely relapsed. The resolution with Xander stopping her from destroying the world by standing at her side, and telling the yellow crayon story, was a beautifully bittersweet resolution, and a great demonstration to how strong their friendship is.

 

Then there's her relationship with Kennedy. I didn't felt this relationship empowered Willow (though not in a well executed way), I felt this had made her submissive to Kennedy's bossiness. It aggravates me every time Kennedy shuts down Willow when she tries to defend Buffy. Like I said, the relationship felt forced and the two didn't share a good connection with each other. I am open to Willow living life without Tara. I felt it has made her more humble and more redeemable, and she should learn to control the magics on her own. I just wish they could have her do more grieving for Tara since it was such a traumatizing experience for her, instead of pandering to the angry fans who were upset over Tara's death and accused the writers of being homophobic. If they couldn't bring Tara back, then I'd much rather see Willow alone or at least with someone that would truly make her happy, not someone she thinks she'll be happy with.

 

But aside from that, I have absolutely enjoyed her journey.

 

And that's my two cents on Willow.

Edited by desperatelibrarian
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Well, said.

Nothing to add other then Willow is my favorite Whedonverse character (as well as AH being my favorite actor from all Whedon works)

With the exception of the awful character assassination in s6 and 7 (with some exceptions..i.e her here and there friendship moments with Xander) I loved every bit of her and everything she did (this includes Vampire Willow)

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On ‎28‎/‎06‎/‎2014 at 9:08 PM, desperatelibrarian said:

I'll start.

 

Never before have I been so amazed by a character's journey than Willow Rosenberg. How she went from a timid wallflower to a strong, powerful wiccan. And Alyson Hannigan just astonished me by things I never knew she could do. Examples include acting evil, pretending to be evil poorly, and breaking my heart with her big sad eyes.

 

Highlights of her journey, in my opinion, include her being placed in charge at some points, her friendship with Xander, her relationships with Oz and Tara (I prefer Oz, but I like Tara, too), learning to become a witch, and her spell (no pun intended) as Dark Willow.

 

But I will admit that she did have her bad moments, mostly in the last two seasons. The ridiculous magic equals drugs metaphor in S6 and her relationship with Kennedy in S7 were my least favorite moments of Willow's story.

 

Wrecked was such a clumsy approach to show what Willow was going through, and her breakdown after nearly killing Dawn made me cringed. The only time I felt sympathy for Willow in S6 was in the last four episodes, for the obvious reasons. I can see where she's coming from. She has worked hard to make things up for Tara (though I feel it was for her own selfish needs) that when Tara got shot after she and Willow reunited, she was devastated and completely relapsed. The resolution with Xander stopping her from destroying the world by standing at her side, and telling the yellow crayon story, was a beautifully bittersweet resolution, and a great demonstration to how strong their friendship is.

 

Then there's her relationship with Kennedy. I didn't felt this relationship empowered Willow (though not in a well executed way), I felt this had made her submissive to Kennedy's bossiness. It aggravates me every time Kennedy shuts down Willow when she tries to defend Buffy. Like I said, the relationship felt forced and the two didn't share a good connection with each other. I am open to Willow living life without Tara. I felt it has made her more humble and more redeemable, and she should learn to control the magics on her own. I just wish they could have her do more grieving for Tara since it was such a traumatizing experience for her, instead of pandering to the angry fans who were upset over Tara's death and accused the writers of being homophobic. If they couldn't bring Tara back, then I'd much rather see Willow alone or at least with someone that would truly make her happy, not someone she thinks she'll be happy with.

 

But aside from that, I have absolutely enjoyed her journey.

 

And that's my two cents on Willow.

 

Apparently Willow is Joss's favourite character too. I was always puzzled that he killed off Cassandra in the Buffy movie who is so quite obviously her prototype. And yes, Alysson Hannigan queen of pain (in a very different sense with DarkWillow and VampWillow). She was apparently the hardest character to cast as the network wanted a 'supermodel in glasses' (much as they did in The X-files) but Joss held out for AH (Riff Regan in the pilot simply doesn't cut the mustard). She's also the second most prevalent character in the Buffyverse, 144 eps of Buffy plus 3 guest shots in Angel.

 We'd have liked Kennedy more if she had more time to grow on us, the important thing was that she was the anti-Tara, you didn't want a clichéd Tara replacement who was another soft hearted femme lesbian (just as Anya couldn't be another CC clone). Kennedy is useful, it's impressive the way she takes charge when Faith is knocked out.   

On ‎02‎/‎07‎/‎2014 at 8:21 PM, wingster55 said:

Well, said.

Nothing to add other then Willow is my favorite Whedonverse character (as well as AH being my favorite actor from all Whedon works)

With the exception of the awful character assassination in s6 and 7 (with some exceptions..i.e her here and there friendship moments with Xander) I loved every bit of her and everything she did (this includes Vampire Willow)

No, I didn't feel there was 'character assassination' in 6&7, Willow just developed and went through her trials as every other character also did. We may not have liked it but it was necessary for the big win in the end.   

Edited by Joe Hellandback

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21 hours ago, nosleepforme said:


Well, I thought Alyson Hannigan was also way too attractive to be the nerdy girl, so the network still kinda got their supermodel in glasses-stereotype, though in this case it's more hottie in ridiculous clothes-stereotype. I thought the comment that the casting director made about casting Alyson very interesting. On the DVD features she talked about how Willow has to have the opposite qualities of what an actress has to have and how Alyson won the role by playing scenes cheerfully that other actresses would have played in a sad way. I think that's one of the things that made the character so entertaining and likeable in the early seasons. Despite being bullied, Willow is not suicidally depressed, but instead a very cheerful, positive character and I think that's why I don't like the final two seasons as much, because she becomes so lifeless and whiny.

 

Kennedy was good character and a nice rebound for Willow. I think it was important that Willow would move on and have other relationships before the show is over, it was still very important for LGBTQ representation. And I never understand why the potentials are so universally disliked anyway. These are teenage girls who are all suddenly persecuted by demons, often killed. They are brought to a different town, away from their families and regular lives, have to fear being killed on a daily basis, see other girls be killed on a daily basis, and they're living in this house of a female authority figure that they don't really know and that sometimes seems kind of harsh, because she has to be. Of course, they would have trepidations and not trust blindly. And with Kennedy in particular, I think even if she was a little bossy and challenging Buffy, she was also very courageous, independent and strong and rather than whine about being hunted by those bringers, she would embrace being the slayer and try to make the best out of the situation, try to be powerful and fight. And I think that was a nice contrast to the other girls, who mostly seemed helpless and like they would trade in their position in the house for being normal in a heartbeat.

Alysson is a beautiful lady but she hasn't got the classic porn star looks of CC, SMG and ED, she's very much the girl next door. You're right, she has a great sense of vulnerability but she's also the Pollyana, always wants to see the good side of everything and everyone.

 Yes, it was vital Willow didn't come 'running back to boystown' Dynasty style although I have my own theory about Willow and Xander on the bluff (and would still like to see them together some day). Gay characters have a nasty habit of being killed off on TV.

 I liked the Potentials too but they did eat up a lot of screentime leaving very little left for some of our most beloved characters.   

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I was absolutely in love with her for the duration of the first three seasons, still felt attracted to the redhead Wicca during the two subsequent seasons (this slight change had nothing to do with her coming-out, believe me). I loved many things about her: her eyes, her smile, her hair, they way she talked and even her sense of fashion was kinda cute. Since writers decided to perform character assassination on her in the S.06 I didn't know what to think, 'cause there were times I hardly recognized post-Bargaining Willow Rosenberg as the one I loved so much at the beginning (the less is said about Dark Willow, the better). She's learned her lesson well by the start of the show's final season, acted more responsible and really cared for her friends (the first time I saw that scene in Empty Places it was truly heartbreaking) and the potentials (contrary to Buffy's "Spike-Spike-Spike-it's all about Spike" obsession) - so my love and respect for her were firmly in place.

Not as attractive sexually as Buffy, Cordy or Faith, Willow did have something none of those three had. Actually her early seasons-styled childish naivete gives her a higher score in my book in contrast to three other gals who liked to play sexual predators far too much. Her ability to act childish one moment and be all collected and reasonable the other was just plain adorable. And if you ask me, I really do think she could be a better leader for the Scoobies than Buffy ever was. If it was me to choose between Cordelia, Buffy and Willow, my choice would be obvious (how could you be so blind/indecisive, Xander Harris, you dumbass?!)

By no means flawless person, Willow had issues with growing-up and emotional maturity, and many of her decisions weren't that good. In fact I wanted to... give her a slap or two on more than one occassion (i. e. that "I live in a basement" comment in Something Blue or threatening Giles in Flooded to name but a few). Among the things that annoy me about her is the habit to follow Buffy's lead and choosing her side on many occassions. To this day I find her enthusiasm over whole Angel affair weird at best ("Gee, Buffy, you're dating a 240-plus-something-year-old vampire, who ate his own family and massacred the entire village! What can be more romantic than that?"). Even though she almost ended up dead because of Captain Forehead himself, it didn't change a thing in her attitude (I still wonder why they didn't make an episode in S.03, with B/A and W/O going on a double date). Then there was, of course, Oz. The fact that he had a straight face all of the time, said few words or played the guitar hardly makes him a good boyfriend material. And just because he didn't eat his girlfriend or her friends/other lovers (though it was an attempt with Tara) isn't enough to consider him "cool". True, he happened to be the first one who noticed Willow as a woman or so they claim (although Xander's awkward attempt to kiss his best friend in When She Was Bad before Oz even entered the picture and started making his cheesy "Who is that girl" comments, proves that White Knight wasn't totally oblivious to her beauty). Then again Justin was the first one to notice Dawnie that way in S.06.E06, but we rarely give him credit for that. Veruca was just a matter of time (you should have seen it coming to bite you in the ass somewhere around Phases, Oz, but you were too "perfect" to bother) and you know, Will, that main riff from "Sway" sounds very similar to U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)". Kennedy wasn't your smartest choice as well, Willow, and, see, she didn't put a gun to your head or tie you up to the bed, while other potentials had to sleep elsewhere...

Willow's lifelong friendship with Xander was one of the most  beautiful things in the whole Buffyverse (that scene between the two in Willow/Tara dorm room from The Body saves the whole episode - at least for me, although after first seeing it I thought it was quite powerful). To this day I can't forgive JW for not giving W/X a chance (they deserved it no matter what most people say!). Since I choose to ignore the so-called "comic assassination" of the series, there are moments I believe that in the post-Chosen Buffyverse those two crazy kids will eventually get it right and escape to some picturesque corner of America, have a cottage, small farm and 3-4 chidren. Zero chances, I know, but why can't I dream?..

Overall I like Willow the Computer Nerd and Willow the UberWicca, Willow the Child and Willow the Woman, shy Willow and confident Willow, straight Willow and gay Willow, ...and many-many other manifestations of her terrific personality (even Vamp!Willow had her charm)...

And kudos to Alyson Hannigan for her amazing work. I didn't watch much of her other movies and therefore can't say whether she was as good there as she was in BtVS, but... Even if Willow was her very last role, her performance would be still considered brilliant.

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Edited by lembergwatcher
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She's still My Willow (yes, Buffy, she's mine! Screw you, Slayer, you don't deserve her), no matter how much shit the writers tried to bury her under during the nightmare that was UPN.  Favorite fictional character ever…sorry, Jim Kirk, you were in that spot for a while, but now you're battling Hawkeye for runner-up.  Sure, "occasionally [she is] callous and strange", but that just makes me love her all the more.

I can excuse Xander's "blindness" because IMO it was clear even before the "visions" in Hell's Bells that he feared he was just like his dad and didn't want to treat Willow as Tony had treated Jessica.  So he was drawn to the sarcasm machines like Cordelia, since he couldn't hurt them, and then to the Slayers (because he really couldn't hurt them).  Still, he works through it and goes from "you've got something on your nose" to "I love you" in the space of a single season; that's not exactly bad work for a high-school junior from a rotten home who also has to go save the world every now and then. I mean, Xander and Dawson Leery realized their feelings for Willow/Joey (don't get me wrong, Joey ain't no Willow, I'm just talking about her similar place in the story) on the exact same night in 1998, and I don't remember any episodes of that show where Dawson had to break into an army base and steal a rocket launcher to destroy an immortal planet-killing demon.  So I cut Xander a little slack for being slow ;)

And I'm not too harsh on Willow for being B/A-supportive; aside from the whole "Buffy needs me to be supportive!" drive that she feels (said overtly in The Body, but always present), she does often bring up the issues that undercut Buffy's idealization of Broody Boy.  ("Wow, 200 years of dating…" "And think of the children!")  And she only goes back to "I guess" being okay with Angel after he "saved me from a horrible flamey death" in Revelations, which I think is still too soon, but the whole "I think that when it comes to Angel sometimes you can't see straight" deal wasn't working anyway.  (Plus the show is busy positioning W/X as Dirty Rotten Cheaters so they really can't object to Buffy hiding her Twu Wuv, which grrr, but still.)

Do I wish that she had better canon partners?  Sure.  Both the Plastic Werewolf and the Blank Wall of Wiccan Sanctimony work my last nerve.  But Willow isn't defined by who she dates, what makes her Willow is that wonderful combination of hopefulness and awareness that keep the light shining in her eyes, even in the darkest moments.  (As someone once wrote, "she's like the world's wisest three-year-old.")  And if that light seemed to go out on UPHell, I don't blame Willow, I blame those around her.  But JMO.

 

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19 minutes ago, Halting Hex said:

Willow isn't defined by who she dates, what makes her Willow is that wonderful combination of hopefulness and awareness that keep the light shining in her eyes, even in the darkest moments.  (As someone once wrote, "she's like the world's wisest three-year-old.")  And if that light seemed to go out on UPHell, I don't blame Willow, I blame those around her.

True, she isn't. I didn't mean to put it that way. As for UPHell, I think it was a combination of her own failures and the others failing her (personal responsibility comes first IMO). Going to Rack wasn't her best decision, but it's kinda sad that there was no one around except Amy... Buffy with the bleached sextoy, Xander with that f@#ing wedding (I hate that story arc with a passion even nowadays), Tara's "it's all your fault" attitude and Dawnie being the self-centered brat - they all weren't much help. Sigh.

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1 hour ago, Halting Hex said:

I can excuse Xander's "blindness" because IMO it was clear even before the "visions" in Hell's Bells that he feared he was just like his dad and didn't want to treat Willow as Tony had treated Jessica.  So he was drawn to the sarcasm machines like Cordelia, since he couldn't hurt them, and then to the Slayers (because he really couldn't hurt them).  Still, he works through it and goes from "you've got something on your nose" to "I love you" in the space of a single season; that's not exactly bad work for a high-school junior from a rotten home who also has to go save the world every now and then. I mean, Xander and Dawson Leery realized their feelings for Willow/Joey (don't get me wrong, Joey ain't no Willow, I'm just talking about her similar place in the story) on the exact same night in 1998, and I don't remember any episodes of that show where Dawson had to break into an army base and steal a rocket launcher to destroy an immortal planet-killing demon.  So I cut Xander a little slack for being slow ;)

I agree. He had his reasons to act that way (one more reason to despise Tony and Jessica), so probably I was a bit too harsh on Xander. He's good guy anyway. But he could at least spare Willow a torture of having him practicing asking Buffy for a date on his best friend (Prophecy Girl) or try to talk and explain following "you'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me". Not on exact the same day ('cause, you know, Angelus and the Judge...), but... without much delay.  At the very least before Willow assumed those were the Plastic Werewolve's words... Anyway putting Buffy's business ahead of their issues rarely did Xander and Willow any good. Though Xander's actions spoke louder than words, And I still upset he didn't find the time to tell Willow the truth 'bout what happened  in Becoming Pt 2. The dopesmoking writers decided that "Kick his ass" was "more important" thing to reveal than Xander's admission of love for his lifelong friend... Sigh.

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5 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

I think no other role has challenged Alyson the way Willow did and I don't think she will ever get to play a character with so many different sides to her again. And I do actually think that Willow was a more complicated character to play than people generally give Alyson credit for. In the hands of a different actress, Willow could have just been the eternal pity magnet, especially in the early seasons, but Alyson played her strong and cheerful from the moment we first met here, even if she had to take in a lot of mean comments and be the damsel of distress in the early seasons.

 

Going back through the series, what I found interesting is that the groundwork for Dark Willow is already planted as early as in season three, with Willow trying to abuse magic to make her hormonal Xander affair stop and her arrogance about becoming a Wiccan does show more and more in seasons 3-5 already.

I read somewhere that the reason Alyson Hannigan got the role is that while everyone else played the scenes sad/pitiful, she was very cheerful and gave a different take on the character. For me, that is something that is so central to Willow as a character that I couldn't imagine anyone else playing her.

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7 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

I think no other role has challenged Alyson the way Willow did and I don't think she will ever get to play a character with so many different sides to her again.

There was some really good writing in the early seasons of How I Met Your Mother that let Alyson shine as Lilly, but that was always more of a secondary part than Willow was, and the writing as a whole went notably downhill after the writer's strike in mid-season 3.  (Perhaps it picks up in the final 40 episodes or so; I wouldn't know as the series drove me away in early S8.)

7 hours ago, nosleepforme said:

what I found interesting is that the groundwork for Dark Willow is already planted as early as in season three, with Willow trying to abuse magic to make her hormonal Xander affair stop

Yeah, right, the spell that Xander talked her out of.  How EEEEVIL!  Meanwhile, the year before, Xander had zero compunctions about blackmailing Amy into casting a far more-malicious spell on Cordelia (and catching Willow on the sideswipe, it turned out).  I guess "the groundwork" for "Dark Xander" was planted then? At least Willow was trying to fix herself, not just fuck with someone else's mind.

I'm sorry, I just get prickly when anything that Willow does that isn't completely milquetoast is cited as some sort of "proof" that she was going to "inevitably" become a world-destroying psychopath, because "she was evil all along".  Of course, Tara can swear "obeisiance" to a demon and put a curse on all the Scoobs, but she's just a scared little mouse, Willow has to forgive her!  But Joss forbid that Willow even think about a bad spell…and she's a killer at her core!  Anya's right, "it's always the quiet ones"!  Look out for the nerds, pretty people!

God, I fucking hate season 6.  Not least for how it motivates attacks on earlier, better seasons to justify its wretched existence.

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48 minutes ago, Halting Hex said:

Yeah, right, the spell that Xander talked her out of.  How EEEEVIL!  Meanwhile, the year before, Xander had zero compunctions about blackmailing Amy into casting a far more-malicious spell on Cordelia (and catching Willow on the sideswipe, it turned out).  I guess "the groundwork" for "Dark Xander" was planted then? At least Willow was trying to fix herself, not just fuck with someone else's mind.

I'm glad you added the "just" b/c she was going to fuck w/ Xander's mind as well as her own.* 

For me, when I could see Magic = Power and the old saw that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, Willow's behavior at the start of Season 6 makes sense. We had been watching her grow in power from the end of Season 2 on. I don't believe she exhibited any evidence that she was addicted to magic before she brought Amy back. It's when TPTB changed it to Magic = addiction that they lost me. And, they pretty much did away w/ that in Season 7 in jolly ol' England. 

In no way should that be read as me defending Xander on his love-to-exact-revenge spell.

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1 hour ago, nosleepforme said:

but those early seasons already introduced her trying to rely on magic when something was too hard to overcome naturally (Lover's Walk, Wild at Heart, Something Blue)

Again, she doesn't do the spell in Lovers Walk; Xander talks her out of it.  She doesn't do the spell in Wild at Heart, because it's something she's not capable of doing.   Veruca calls her out on this, twice.  ("You don't have the teeth.")  And the Something Blue spell was intended only to work on herself (and maybe make the Q-Tip get unbendy). 

And this happens after Oz is too much of a bastard to even write to her and her friends are not exactly there for her the way she's been there for them.  (Buffy gets an entire summer and more to sulk about Angel; Willow gets less than a month before Buffy's giving her lectures on how to grieve her relationship.  And Xander can barely take time-out from banging his ex-demon honey to declare he's "so, so tired" of Willow's pesky emotions. Meanwhile, Giles keeps pushing her to do more and more spells…)

Did she occasionally have a selfish impulse?  Yeah.  But she wasn't the one hiding a mass-murderer and lying to everyone about it, for example. Or summoning demons for orgies and such.  (Or if, we're over the statute of limitations on that one, drugging Buffy to strip her of her powers.)

She does one "bad" spell in five years, intended only for herself, and we're supposed to take this as "evidence" of grotesque moral weakness and "inevitable" descent into "power corrupts, too bad for you, Willow, women* are too weak to handle this shit"?  Pass. Pass a lot.  But JMO.

*-well, not St. Tara, the Pure-and-Not-Soon-Enough-Martyred, of course.  Tara would never do anything wrong! No lying to Willow for the first year of their relationship, no sabotaging important spells, no swearing obeisance to demons, no cursing the Scoobs and nearly getting them killed…no, Tara is right and centered and completely justified in everything she does!  Beg, Willow! Beg for the chance to lick Tara's shoes some more!

(Man, sixteen years and this still gets me going…)

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I don't think it's evidence of any sort of inevitability that Willow will go dark. It just shows that her eventual reliance on magic was building slowly over time - paralleling her growth as a witch over time. And repeatedly throughout seasons 2-6, people (mostly Giles) caution Willow regarding the use of such powerful spells, and Willow dismisses this concern each time. Nobody is arguing that any of this makes the end of season 6 "inevitable".

FWIW, I hate that whole storyline with the magic addiction and "Dark Willow". But when I re-watch the earlier seasons, I can see that it didn't come from nowhere. The seeds were planted earlier on. The writers could have chosen not to pursue this storyline further and that would have been perfectly fine/logical, but it doesn't change that this path does have some roots in earlier seasons.

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2 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

Yeah, right, the spell that Xander talked her out of.  How EEEEVIL!  Meanwhile, the year before, Xander had zero compunctions about blackmailing Amy into casting a far more-malicious spell on Cordelia (and catching Willow on the sideswipe, it turned out).  I guess "the groundwork" for "Dark Xander" was planted then? At least Willow was trying to fix herself, not just fuck with someone else's mind.

I'm sorry, I just get prickly when anything that Willow does that isn't completely milquetoast is cited as some sort of "proof" that she was going to "inevitably" become a world-destroying psychopath, because "she was evil all along". 

Yes, especially considering Joss is not exactly known for planning things years in advance. I very much doubt he had any concrete plans whatsoever for Dark Willow at that point, let alone deliberately including clues about this future development. And in any event I don't see what's so bad about the delusting spell incident anyway, IIRC, Willow thought Xander would jump at the opportunity to get rid of his feelings for Willow. It's problematic that she didn't, you know, ask him to make sure first, but still not exactly a clue of anything other than the old adage that people do dumb things when they are in love.

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She does one "bad" spell in five years, intended only for herself, and we're supposed to take this as "evidence" of grotesque moral weakness and "inevitable" descent into "power corrupts, too bad for you, Willow, women* are too weak to handle this shit"?  Pass. Pass a lot.  But JMO.

And that spell was a ridiculously powerful one and Willow never used it again after Something Blue. Sure, the meta explanation is plot convenience because Willow solving each and every problem with "my will be done" would have been boring but still, meta considerations aside even a saint might have been tempted to use a literal wish granting spell but Willow never did after that episode. Her behavior in early season six is radically different than anything we had seen before, IMO.

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Some Willow-haters use the scene in the computer lab (The Harvest) where Willow told Cordelia and Harmony to hit the "deliver" key as one of the earlier "proofs" of her "dark" and "vindictive" nature. If someone is biased against a particular character, then literally everything can be used to prove the point.

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Hey, don't forget about her calling out to Darla so that she can toss the Holy Water in her face!  I mean, clearly that was evidence of Willow's raging ego…she wanted Darla to know who had defeated her.  The idea that Holy Water works better if you throw it in someone's face rather than on the back of their hair?  Nonsense!  Willow is only in this for the applause, don't you know?

(Yes, people actually say this. No, honestly.)

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But that's just retro-cherry-picking.  You could have had Evil Buffy plotting to slit Dawn's throat and gone, "see, we could tell this from when she ran Angel through with that sword!"  You could have had Evil Giles summoning demons to gang-rape Buffy and cited The Dark Age and Helpless as "evidence" that he was like this all along.  You could have had Evil Xander daring to not marry Anya (ooops, sorry, I forgot this was actually Xander's "crime" in canon), I mean beating up and raping a helpless Spike (that chip is so unfair!) and people would write blogs about how you could tell this from The Pack and Xander is a controlling, slimy "Nice Guy" who only cares about his own sexual desires, yada-yada-yada.  There are 100 episodes of pre-Season 6 "evidence" that could be taken out of context in contradiction to the preponderance of characterization in order to "justify" whatever shitty, ludicrous plot S6 throws at us in the name of "realism".  That doesn't make it so, IMO.

Willow "went bad" not because "power corrupts" or because she had some innate moral defect, she "went bad" for the same reason Xander was turned into a Fat Scared Coward who's too "immature" to get married at 21, the same reason why Giles decides to flee 6000 miles away rather than help his slayer through her latest crisis…Joss and Jane wanted Buffy to have nobody to turn to but Her Darling Cheekbones (Joss said he'd had the image of Spike giving it to Buffy up the ass at the Bronze for "years"; Jane called Spuffy "a gorgeous story"), and so they set out to besmirch and destroy the Scoobs and didn't care how illogical they had to be in order to get there. 

Whether Joss did this because he had a gay crush on JM ("Who didn't experiment in college?", to quote the man himself) or because he was completely out of ideas ("Joss is finally starting to see things my way", to quote JM), or because the network wanted those old Bangel ratings back and Joss caved the same way he caved on creating Dawn, it doesn't matter to me.  I fucking hate Spuffy.  I hate what was done to W/X/G in order to create it.  And I don't believe the "foreshadowing" hypothesis for "Dark Willow" any more than I would believe the "foreshadowing" in the other hypotheticals I presented above.

Willow the Campy Flayer is not the actual Willow Rosenberg that we saw on our screens for Seasons 1-4.  (Some of 5 is distinctly intended as foreshadowing, but even then I'd argue that 6 is completely round the bend from that.)  I refuse to let the artificial shit story of Season 6 be used to retroactively besmirch the actual Willow that came before.  No more than I would believe the "Buffy was always in love with Spike, you can see it as early as School Hard" theories, for that matter.

JMO, but a rather strongly-held O, as you may infer.

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On ‎23‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 11:24 AM, lembergwatcher said:

I was absolutely in love with her for the duration of the first three seasons, still felt attracted to the redhead Wicca during the two subsequent seasons (this slight change had nothing to do with her coming-out, believe me). I loved many things about her: her eyes, her smile, her hair, they way she talked and even her sense of fashion was kinda cute. Since writers decided to perform character assassination on her in the S.06 I didn't know what to think, 'cause there were times I hardly recognized post-Bargaining Willow Rosenberg as the one I loved so much at the beginning (the less is said about Dark Willow, the better). She's learned her lesson well by the start of the show's final season, acted more responsible and really cared for her friends (the first time I saw that scene in Empty Places it was truly heartbreaking) and the potentials (contrary to Buffy's "Spike-Spike-Spike-it's all about Spike" obsession) - so my love and respect for her were firmly in place.

Not as attractive sexually as Buffy, Cordy or Faith, Willow did have something none of those three had. Actually her early seasons-styled childish naivete gives her a higher score in my book in contrast to three other gals who liked to play sexual predators far too much. Her ability to act childish one moment and be all collected and reasonable the other was just plain adorable. And if you ask me, I really do think she could be a better leader for the Scoobies than Buffy ever was. If it was me to choose between Cordelia, Buffy and Willow, my choice would be obvious (how could you be so blind/indecisive, Xander Harris, you dumbass?!)

By no means flawless person, Willow had issues with growing-up and emotional maturity, and many of her decisions weren't that good. In fact I wanted to... give her a slap or two on more than one occassion (i. e. that "I live in a basement" comment in Something Blue or threatening Giles in Flooded to name but a few). Among the things that annoy me about her is the habit to follow Buffy's lead and choosing her side on many occassions. To this day I find her enthusiasm over whole Angel affair weird at best ("Gee, Buffy, you're dating a 240-plus-something-year-old vampire, who ate his own family and massacred the entire village! What can be more romantic than that?"). Even though she almost ended up dead because of Captain Forehead himself, it didn't change a thing in her attitude (I still wonder why they didn't make an episode in S.03, with B/A and W/O going on a double date). Then there was, of course, Oz. The fact that he had a straight face all of the time, said few words or played the guitar hardly makes him a good boyfriend material. And just because he didn't eat his girlfriend or her friends/other lovers (though it was an attempt with Tara) isn't enough to consider him "cool". True, he happened to be the first one who noticed Willow as a woman or so they claim (although Xander's awkward attempt to kiss his best friend in When She Was Bad before Oz even entered the picture and started making his cheesy "Who is that girl" comments, proves that White Knight wasn't totally oblivious to her beauty). Then again Justin was the first one to notice Dawnie that way in S.06.E06, but we rarely give him credit for that. Veruca was just a matter of time (you should have seen it coming to bite you in the ass somewhere around Phases, Oz, but you were too "perfect" to bother) and you know, Will, that main riff from "Sway" sounds very similar to U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)". Kennedy wasn't your smartest choice as well, Willow, and, see, she didn't put a gun to your head or tie you up to the bed, while other potentials had to sleep elsewhere...

Willow's lifelong friendship with Xander was one of the most  beautiful things in the whole Buffyverse (that scene between the two in Willow/Tara dorm room from The Body saves the whole episode - at least for me, although after first seeing it I thought it was quite powerful). To this day I can't forgive JW for not giving W/X a chance (they deserved it no matter what most people say!). Since I choose to ignore the so-called "comic assassination" of the series, there are moments I believe that in the post-Chosen Buffyverse those two crazy kids will eventually get it right and escape to some picturesque corner of America, have a cottage, small farm and 3-4 chidren. Zero chances, I know, but why can't I dream?..

Overall I like Willow the Computer Nerd and Willow the UberWicca, Willow the Child and Willow the Woman, shy Willow and confident Willow, straight Willow and gay Willow, ...and many-many other manifestations of her terrific personality (even Vamp!Willow had her charm)...

And kudos to Alyson Hannigan for her amazing work. I didn't watch much of her other movies and therefore can't say whether she was as good there as she was in BtVS, but... Even if Willow was her very last role, her performance would be still considered brilliant.

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She was always attractive although her image altered over time, I didn't mind Kennedy although I'm sure people will have plenty to say about her when we get there in the ep threads, but no, for me, Xander and Willow forever. 

On ‎28‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 7:29 AM, Halting Hex said:

But that's just retro-cherry-picking.  You could have had Evil Buffy plotting to slit Dawn's throat and gone, "see, we could tell this from when she ran Angel through with that sword!"  You could have had Evil Giles summoning demons to gang-rape Buffy and cited The Dark Age and Helpless as "evidence" that he was like this all along.  School Hard" theories, for that matter.

That is just the most disturbing set of images ever! Although the latter is pretty much what we see in Get It Done.  

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Well, I like Xillow lots, myself.  But I go for non-canon, in the end:

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To quote Willow herself (in Homecoming), "It's just that she needs it so much more".  I mean, Xander gets Cordelia and Faith in canon; that's not a bad set of second choices.  What does Buffy have, if she doesn't have Willow?  Riley? I mean, I like the big lug, but come on.

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4 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

What does Buffy have, if she doesn't have Willow?

 

2 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

Giles. She has Giles

Well, still green-eyed and bookish, it's true.  But that's a whole other kettle of fic.

You certainly wouldn't be the first to 'ship B/G + W/X, though.

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2 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

You certainly wouldn't be the first to 'ship B/G + W/X, though.

W/X yes, true, but as for B/G I'm indifferent actually. The whole 'ship is just a suggestion. B/G could be nowhere near as this:2h7qm3.thumb.jpg.85b90a6023955b5fdf43eb4893829077.jpg

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So, when's the last time we're supposed to like Willow for…being Willow?

Not because she's the chosen girlfriend of Tara, the Perfect Lesbian Earth Mother Whose Birkenstocks Willow is Not Fit to Lick

Not because she's heartbroken because Centered!Tara grew a spine and is staying away from Pathetic (and Dangerous) Addict Willow

Not because she's mourning St. Tara the Pure and (Not Soon Enough) Martyred

Not because she's feeing guilty for being so evil, which you could see all along, ever since she tried to keep Buffy from Xander by digging out that "we dated when we were five" crap

Not because she's Buffy's "big gun"

Just because she's the Willow that we (or at least the "me" part of "we") love beyond all measure, when's the last time the show wants us to care about her?

My best guess is Listening to Fearwith Tiny Jewish Santa bringing the gifts and helping Buffy with her homework.  And yeah, that's almost a straight steal from a better scene and episode (Killed by Death) three years earlier, but hell, I'll take it!

Of course, that is episode #87.  Out of 144.  Do we really go 57 episodes (longer than the totality of the high school years) with, essentially, no Willow on the show?  (Despite Aly getting to cash 57 paychecks, which I'm sure she didn't mind, but still.)  Even Lily got an occasional good scene in the darker days of How I Met Your Mother.  (And no, not just Band or DJ; I include almost the entirety of Something New and even a good chunk of the finale.)  I mean…shitfuck.

Or, in Willow's own word, "Sigh".   Sigh.

(Okay, technically Aly's wordless cameo at the end of There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb should count here.  But that's zero lines and on another series.  Kind of stretching things, IMO.)

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20 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

Sigh

I'm right here with ya. 

But that's what happens when show runners have other priorities on their minds instead of interesting storytelling & character development.

Good thing you reminded me of the small amounts of Willow-goodness we've witnessed in Listening to Fear. Because my first guess was some high school-era episode...

I guess it's true that post-high school Scoobies are much less intelligent and much less likable. In fact, they become some sort of caricatures (bad caricatures to be precise) of their former selves...

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13 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

Good thing you reminded me of the small amounts of Willow-goodness we've witnessed in Listening to Fear.

Well, as I've written, Rebecca Rand Kirshner was the last writer to get the "Buffy and Willow aren't friends any more" memo.  So we got the Occipital Lobe scene in Out of My Mind and we got Tiny Jewish Santa and we got some pretty good stuff in Tough Love, even if that's about the fallout to the Lesbian Street Cred argument and Tara's subsequent injury and thus beyond the scope of my inquiry. 

(I mean, yes, Willow should be allowed character development when her girlfriend gets hurt and the park bench scene is great work by Claire Kramer and Amber…but that flows from an argument that's ultimately anti-Willow, as much as I enjoy seeing her sniff out Tara's subtext.  So I passed on that, but it's a close call, IMO.)

And I still contend the end of Act I of Tabula Rasa (before the spell hits) is written as "Buffy reaching out to Willow" and it was someone else (Joss? SMG? The director?) who turned it into "Buffy snits and snots off, again, some more."  But since that's just the prelude to the spell that Bad Selfish Addict Willow does, that's out.  Obviously.

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Then there's a really cute moment in The Body, where Willow challenges Xander to a "boxing match" in order to avoid his complete meltdown... And, of course, when she tells Fucking Anya to shut up.

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On 9/21/2021 at 9:19 PM, Halting Hex said:

So, when's the last time we're supposed to like Willow for…being Willow?

Not because she's the chosen girlfriend of Tara, the Perfect Lesbian Earth Mother Whose Birkenstocks Willow is Not Fit to Lick

Not because she's heartbroken because Centered!Tara grew a spine and is staying away from Pathetic (and Dangerous) Addict Willow

Not because she's mourning St. Tara the Pure and (Not Soon Enough) Martyred

Not because she's feeing guilty for being so evil, which you could see all along, ever since she tried to keep Buffy from Xander by digging out that "we dated when we were five" crap

Not because she's Buffy's "big gun"

Just because she's the Willow that we (or at least the "me" part of "we") love beyond all measure, when's the last time the show wants us to care about her?

My best guess is Listening to Fearwith Tiny Jewish Santa bringing the gifts and helping Buffy with her homework.  And yeah, that's almost a straight steal from a better scene and episode (Killed by Death) three years earlier, but hell, I'll take it!

Of course, that is episode #87.  Out of 144.  Do we really go 57 episodes (longer than the totality of the high school years) with, essentially, no Willow on the show?  (Despite Aly getting to cash 57 paychecks, which I'm sure she didn't mind, but still.)  Even Lily got an occasional good scene in the darker days of How I Met Your Mother.  (And no, not just Band or DJ; I include almost the entirety of Something New and even a good chunk of the finale.)  I mean…shitfuck.

Or, in Willow's own word, "Sigh".   Sigh.

(Okay, technically Aly's wordless cameo at the end of There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb should count here.  But that's zero lines and on another series.  Kind of stretching things, IMO.)

Looking at the totality of Season 1 I don't think it was pre-determined that the character of Willow would become so prominent on the show such as to rival the title character herself. Instead I feel that at the beginning it was vaguely supposed to be more of a teaming of Buffy and Xander, the way it was Buffy and "Pike" in the 1992 feature film. It is after all Xander who saves Buffy's life in the finale "Prophecy Girl". I think the writers quickly found out how much they could do with Alyson Hannigan playing Willow, and thus we got what we got. I remember an interview with Jane Espenson where she talked about how much fun it was to write tongue-twisty lines for AH, some famous ones being in S3 "Gingerbread" (Re: doodles) and  S5 "Buffy vs Dracula" (Re: knowing).

I do agree that she became far less endearing in the late seasons of the show and that her character arc was overwrought. Just as an aside I resent CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" for ruining Alyson Hannigan for me. I loyally watched that show for seven seasons after which it became mostly unwatchable for me. I would have never gotten hooked on that show were it not for AH (and partly for Neil Patrick Harris). But by the end they were grasping at straws for good storylines.

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4 hours ago, lembergwatcher said:

Then there's a really cute moment in The Body, where Willow challenges Xander to a "boxing match" in order to avoid his complete meltdown... And, of course, when she tells Fucking Anya to shut up.

Aww, yeah.  "Put 'em up!" is cute and builds on the W/X history.

I'm not sure we're supposed to love her hostility to the Poor Confused Innocent (Ex-)Demon, though.

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Some Willow-haters use the scene in the computer lab (The Harvest) where Willow told Cordelia and Harmony to hit the "deliver" key as one of the earlier "proofs" of her "dark" and "vindictive" nature. If someone is biased against a particular character, then literally everything can be used to prove the point.

This is one of the reasons I LOVE her! She isn't a victim even then. She knows who she is and she's OK with that - for the most part. I think once she becomes friends with Buffy that she becomes "less", a ghost and learning magic was her way of becoming more.

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https://parcae-lj.livejournal.com/tag/willow

Willow misuses magic once in the course of the series, and only once. That is when she wipes Tara's mind.

The magic-addiction arc doesn't count, because no one in the entire course of the series up to that point had given the slightest hint that magic was addictive. It was invented wholesale for Season 6, for reasons which I am about to discuss. Willow was made an addict for purposes of plot convenience; it was not a long-term part of her character.

Raising Buffy doesn't count, because it was the normal response to the circumstances. Given the ability to resurrect a dear friend, it requires very strong religious convictions to pass on the opportunity on the grounds that the deceased might be happier dead. Now, under the circumstances of the Buffyverse, it would make sense that the characters would be profound believers in some form of religion. But they aren't, because their creators weren't. None of them ever appeals to any form of religion for their moral code; none of them behaves better because of their knowledge that hell exists. It is Willow's friends who behave oddly by expressing qualms in the name of some bizarre, out-of-character and utterly unprecedented concern for the natural order of things. (It's particularly out of character for Xander, the person who brought Buffy back to life in defiance of prophecy the previous time she died.)

And the sequence at the end of Season 6 doesn't count, because it consists of two stages: the first a more or less justified pursuit of Tara's murderers, and the second an attempt to end the world that is not only out of character for Willow, but is so utterly inexplicable as to be out of character for any of the villains in preceding seasons. Prior to Season 6, all of the villains had some kind of motivation for their actions. The Master and Glory want to escape. Angelus wants to piss off Buffy. The Mayor wants to become a demon. Adam wants to create the Master Race. After Season 5, this is thrown out the window. What was the First Evil trying to do, exactly? And Willow goes from wanting to kill Andrew and Jonathan to wanting to kill everyone in the space of thirty seconds. The justification she gives is that she wants to end everyone's pain, but how is that even remotely related to anything that has gone before? The only feeble justification I can offer is that she was trying to make Buffy kill her, and that Buffy wasn't up to the job.

I bring all of this up because there is a fairly common idea that Willow has a long-term character arc dealing with the abuse of power. This is absurd. Bear in mind that the series was supposed to end after Season 5, with Willow's power presented in unproblematically positive terms, just like every other form of girl power in the course of the series. Willow can be shallow, uncaring, and occasionally a downright bitch. But she is not any of these things because of a tendency to abuse power. Her problems stem, rather, from the lack of power. Growing up on the bottom of the social heap, being treated as a sort of psychological experiment by her parents, has left her with a persistent deafness to other people's problems. That is why the conclusion to Season 5 is an appropriate ending for her. Just as Xander, whose problems stem from his dysfunctional family, is rewarded with a job and a fiancee, so Willow, whose problem was weakness, is rewarded with power.

And therein lies the problem. The conclusion to Season 5 was an appropriate ending. It was a horrible middle.

I have already mentioned that Willow's weakness is the source of her character flaws. It is also their justification. When Willow tricks the Cordettes into deleting their computer-lab homework in Season 1, we are on her side because we understand that this is one victorious battle in a long and losing war. Willow's physical and social weakness is the equivalent of House's cane or Sherlock Holmes' asexuality. We let them get away with flaws which would make us despise them in real life, because their travails make them sympathetic. Make Willow a powerful witch in a stable relationship and her appeal vanishes, just as Xander would be incredibly annoying as the quarterback of the football team.

There was another, more practical reason why Willow's power had to be made problematic. There is a reason why the protagonist of Paradise Lost was Satan; you cannot write a drama around God. When one of the good guys is infinitely powerful, there is no narrative tension. Every story becomes a power fantasy.

So it made sense to make Willow a powerful witch, but only if the story ended there. Continuing meant destroying everything about her that was likable, which the writers enthusiastically did. That is why I regret watching Season 7; that is why I will never read the comics. For fanfiction set after Season 5, it seems to me that there are two possible approaches. The first is to get rid of or weaken Willow's powers, either directly or by strengthening everyone else. The second is to keep her out of the equation altogether. I liked Willow before she changed her name to Mary Sue; hence I normally follow the first approach.

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Not bad, but not quite on target, IMO.  Willow definitely misused magic while addicted.  That's an explanation, not an excuse.

And Willow has a perfectly good reason for the end of Season Sux…that's an (extremely-dramatic) attempt at suicide.  Hardly worth it, IMO (St. Tara wasn't the only lesbian on the planet, Will!), but it's not as if griefy people don't tend to act out.

(The out-of-character bit was that Willow should have been able to pull herself back without That Messed-Up Jew needing the help of An Upright Episcopalian Carpenter, as I've written before.  And of course, murder is always wrong.  Put Warren's ass in prison, where it belongs.  And Rack is nothing more than a drug dealer, FFS.  [And Willow only kills him to take his power, not out of moral considerations.])

Also, had the series ended after S5 (never "planned", but sketched out if the network issue and the contract renewals had fallen through), Willow would have turned "evil" during that season.  The "foreshadowing" during S5 was intentional, after all.  Joss would simply have accelerated the planned arc, as he did with Oz/Veruca when Seth Green split.

But yes, "power addiction" is nothing but fanon.  Willow, sparkly plaque or no, takes charge of the gang about as often as Xander does.  (Innocence, Killed by Death, Go Fish, Anne.) Interrogating Jonathan a couple of times means virtually nothing.  (And the second iteration only means that Jane Espenson doesn't mind stealing from better writers.)

Still, well-written.  Thanks for bringing it here.

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BTW, I'm not going to bother PM'ing Lisin, eight years after the fact, but any passing mod wants to go for a more-elaborate title, might I suggest WILLOW:  So High, Perky, Good with the Math?

I realize that quoting Spike is somewhat dubious, but consider the alternatives: 

• Buffy's "There Aren't Two of Her in the World" is later (temporarily) disproven.  (Ditto Oz's "Nobody Like [Our] Will".  Although these are just technicalities, I suppose.)

• Xander's "The Best Human Ever" is obviously true 😀 .  But it might be considered overly-partisan.

• Willow's own  "[She's] Very Seldom Naughty" is also factual.  But some might claim it's trying to diminish Season Sux.  (However, that's only one year out of seven.  So IMO Willow was still correct.  She is good with the math, after all.)

• Cordelia's "And [She] Went Mental When?", conversely, IMO focuses too much on that one f'ing story arc.

And Angel's "She's So Cute and Helpless…Really a Turn-On", while *ahem* also factually correct, might not be the sentiment the mods would approve of. 

So I say give it to Match-head, for once.

(And I'm not even going to dignify Giles's insult from 6.04 with a listing.  Go back to your hotel room and dream of Ethan. [Or Eyghon, whatever.])

Edited by Halting Hex

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