Giles is pulling an all-nighter in the library when he comes across a fairly unpleasant prophesy: the Master will rise, and he will kill the Slayer.
Who kills her.
Yup. She dead.
Luckily, Xander and Angel show up in the nick of time and perform live-saving CPR (which only works something like 8% out of a hospital setting, but hey, she's a Slayer, it's got to be easier to resuscitate her than a normal person).
But now that Buffy's reborn, she is a focused, dedicated Slayer. No more of this I don't want to fight vampires anymore I just want to be a teenager crap. And you know what that means. Master is toast.
Things I Like:
An Emmy for Sarah Michelle Gellar, please. Especially in the scene when she finds out that the prophecy says she's going to die. The way she says, "Do you think it'll hurt?" in that little girl voice breaks my heart every time.
I like how Buffy and Joyce finally connect. So sad that it has to be under the shadow of Buffy's imminent death. And how depressing is it that Joyce did something really sweet for her daughter, bought her the expensive dress that she really wanted to wear to the dance, and all Buffy can think about is that it's the dress she's going to die in. This show, you guys. It's too much for me to handle sometimes.
Speaking of the dress...the dress is perfect. It comes off as pure, with shades of baptism attire. Which fits, because for the first time, she is accepting her role as the Slayer and committing to it. She is reborn as the Slayer, and she's not trying to run away anymore.
Also, I am so genuinely touched that Giles wants to go fight the Master in her place. It's a testament to how much their relationship has grown over the season, and how even this early in the series' run, they have a father-daughter relationship.
And this might sound weird, but I like that Buffy actually dies. Yeah, she's resuscitated almost immediately, but that doesn't really matter. It comes off as just showing the tricky, lawyerish nature of prophecies rather than seeming like lazy writing, so I approve.
Things I Don't Like:
Asking Willow to be your back-up date is bad form, Xander, and I'm so glad she called you out on your shit. Especially since she likes you and it would probably have been easier for her to just say yes.
Why is Buffy all of a sudden super concerned about her mom's finances? I'm sure the rest of her wardrobe doesn't come from the Salvation Army, but this is the first I've heard her worry about money.
For me, this is a damn near perfect season finale, made all the more poignant by the fact that Joss and Co legitimately didn't know if this show was going to be cancelled or not. If Buffy was fated to be a mid-season replacement that crashed and burned after only 13 episodes, this would have been a hell of a way to go out.
9 Stakes Out of 10 (yeah, I changed the ratings system, so what??)