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The sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally aired on the UPN television network from October 2, 2001 to May 21, 2002, concurrently with the third season of Angel series.

Synopsis[]

Elated with having Buffy back from the dead, her friends never wonder if she may have been in a better place. Only Spike knows the truth and as Buffy struggles to readjust to life she begins a relationship with Spike that torments her as much as it brings her fleeting comfort. Yet even as Buffy fears that the magic that brought her back has somehow changed her, Willow's growing reliance on magic is an addiction she can barely control — and one that threatens everyone.[1]

Summary[]

Giles decides to return to England months after Buffy's death, but on the same day, her friends resurrect her through a powerful spell, believing that her mystical death in Glory's portal meant that she might have been sent to hell.[2] However, she returns with the sorrow of being in fact torn from heaven.[3] Struggling with money,[4] taking care of a house and her sister Dawn,[5] Buffy finds a job at the Doublemeat Palace as she finds herself again in the daily grind.[6] Buffy eventually begins a violent relationship with Spike,[7] which brings momentary relief from her hardships.[8]

Buffy is consistently tormented by the Trio, the three nerds Jonathan, Warren, and Andrew. They combine their magic, technological, and demonic abilities[9] in an effort to take over the town,[4] with plans that go from being inane to truly evil.[8]

Willow increasingly abuses magic and is forced to leave magic aside. However, when Tara is indivertibly killed by Warren.[10] Willow begins a destructive rampage, at first to avenge,[11] but later to relieve her own suffering by bringing on an apocalypse. Buffy and Giles fight her to prevent her from continuing to descend into darkness, but it's Xander's unconditional love that brings her back and saves the world.[12]

Meanwhile, after Buffy refuses to go on with her destructive relationship with Spike,[10] he leaves Sunnydale and endures a series of trials that award him with his soul.[12]

Cast[]

Main cast[]

Recurring cast[]

Episodes[]

No. Image Title Air date
01 Bargaining 1 Buffybot 01.jpg "Bargaining, Part One" October 2, 2001
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: David Grossman
Buffy's friends try to cope with Buffy's death and are left to defend Sunnydale without her. Meanwhile a gang of marauding demons threaten to jeopardize their plan to bring the slayer back from the dead. To complicate matters, Giles contemplates leaving Sunnydale to come to terms with the loss.
02 Buffyback.JPG "Bargaining, Part Two" October 2, 2001
Writer: David Fury Director: David Grossman
Second part of the season premiere.
03 After Life main.jpg "After Life" October 9, 2001
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: David Solomon
Buffy has been resurrected from the grave and although she's a bit shaken from her return trip from a hell dimension, everything would appear to be falling back into place. Or is it? After re-associating Buffy (who we find out has been dead for one-hundred and forty-seven days) with her once familiar surroundings and friends, strange things begin happening. Did the gang bring back a tortured and evil Buffy from the grave? Or, did something else come with her? Why is Spike suddenly returning to his romantic days? Our two fave mega-witches, Willow and Tara, start hitting the books to find out why several demonic possessions are taking place within the click. What they find out is almost as shocking as Buffy's death and resurrection.
04 Hug.JPG "Flooded" October 16, 2001
Writer: Jane Espenson, Douglas Petrie Director: Douglas Petrie
Buffy's readjustment to the land of the living is not going so hot. Her basement is flooded, she's bankrupt and — oh yes — the M'Fashnik Demon is hellbent on killing her. Also: Giles returns; a trio of slackers plots the takeover of Sunnydale.
05 Life Serial Trio 03.jpg "Life Serial" October 23, 2001
Writers: David Fury, Jane Espenson Director: Nick Marck
Jonathan, Warren and Andrew test Buffy's abilities — and patience — with a secret campaign of harassment. The Slayer struggles to readjust to life in Sunnydale by attending classes with Willow and working with Xander.
06 Engaged.JPG "All the Way" October 30, 2001
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: David Solomon
In a quirky and erudite episode, a sudden announcement sends the Scooby Gang into celebration mode on Halloween, but plenty of frights come to light when Dawn disappears. Anya, who has been bugging Xander to announce their engagement for months, finally gets her wish. After Xander drops his bombshell, Buffy and company throw a party for the couple. Only then do they realize that Dawn has sneaked out with a friend. Out on the town, the younger Summers winds up meeting a teen who craves more than just mischief.
07 B6x07 Marsters Gellar Trachtenberg 02.jpg "Once More, with Feeling" November 6, 2001
Writer: Joss Whedon Director: Joss Whedon
Series creator Joss Whedon wrote, directed and composed the music for this episode in which a mysterious force impels the Scooby Gang to burst into song. Even Buffy devotees may be hard-pressed to find an episode as off-the-wall as this, as Sunnydale denizens become players in production numbers in which cast members do their own vocals. Hear Tara sing about her love for Willow! See Xander and Anya perform a duet! Listen to Buffy croon about her lack of life direction! Who's behind the music? Dawn provides the key.
08 Tabula Rasa Buffy Giles 02.jpg "Tabula Rasa" November 13, 2001
Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner Director: David Grossman
Despite Tara's misgivings about her overindulgence in witchcraft, Willow tries to cheer Buffy up by making the Slayer forget the idyllic afterlife she left behind. Alas, the spell goes awry and affects the minds of all the Scoobies.
09 Smashed Amy.jpg "Smashed" November 20, 2001
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg Director: Turi Meyer
Buffy's rejection of his amorous advances gives Spike a headache that renews his primal impulses; Willow reverts a former classmate to her old self; Jonathan, Warren and Andrew pull a heist with the help of supercool new weapon.
10 Wrecked Dawn 02.jpg "Wrecked" November 27, 2001
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: David Solomon
Buffy's tryst with Spike leaves the Slayer shaken to the core; Willow falls victim to a warlock who stimulates her craving for magic.
11 Gone Andrew Warren Jonathan.jpg "Gone" January 8, 2002
Writer: David Fury Director: David Fury
Buffy's efforts to help Willow's recovery are disrupted by a run-in with an intrusive social worker and a spat with Spike. Then, she's mistakenly zapped by an invisibility ray wielded by Jonathan, Warren and Andrew. At least she gets a new hairdo.
12 Doublemeat Palace main.jpg "Doublemeat Palace" January 29, 2002
Writer: Jane Espenson Director: Nick Marck
Buffy thinks she smells something rotten after she takes a job at a fast-food restaurant that soon has her wondering about the "secret ingredient" in the burgers. Hurting for cash, the Slayer takes a job at Doublemeat Palace, where her fellow employees don't respond well to her sense of humor. "Levity is a time thief that picks the pocket of the company," explains one co-worker. But it's Buffy's growing concern that something demonic might be going on that really turns her stomach. Also, Anya's old friend Halfrek pays an unexpected visit and questions whether Xander is the right man for her; and Willow tries her best to stay away from magic.
13 Dead Things Buffy Spike.jpg "Dead Things" February 5, 2002
Writer: Steven S. DeKnight Director: James A. Contner
Spike attacks Buffy — despite the chip in his head that is supposed to defuse his violence. Then, the Slayer's framed for murder by nerdy nemeses Andrew, Warren and Jonathan.
14 TryingToLeave.jpg "Older and Far Away" February 12, 2002
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg Director: Michael Gershman
Lonely Dawn feels like the odd-girl out when the Scooby Gang throws a party in honor of Buffy's birthday, leading to a fateful wish that leaves the Slayer and her friends in a fix.
15 As You Were Riley Buffy 01.jpg "As You Were" February 26, 2002
Writer: Douglas Petrie Director: Douglas Petrie
Consumed by professional and personal disappointment, Buffy is jolted from ennui by the reappearance of her old beau Riley, who needs her Slayer skills to track down a demon called the Doctor. He also has some startling news to share about his private life. Meanwhile, Anya and Xander struggle to finalize their wedding arrangements.
16 Hell's Bells Anya 01.jpg "Hell's Bells" March 5, 2002
Writer: Rebecca Rand Kirshner Director: David Solomon
On the day of his wedding to Anya, Xander gets cold feet about their prospective life together when an odd stranger offers him a glimpse into the future.
17 Normal Again.jpg "Normal Again" March 12, 2002
Writer: Diego Gutierrez Director: Rick Rosenthal
A demon doses Buffy with a powerful chemical that causes her to hallucinate, convincing the Slayer her parents are alive and Dawn never existed.
18 Entropy Buffy Dawn 01.jpg "Entropy" April 30, 2002
Writer: Drew Z. Greenberg Director: James A. Contner
Still smarting from being jilted at the altar by Xander, Anya seeks advice from Halfrek; Buffy tries to bond with Dawn while avoiding Spike; Andrew, Jonathan and Warren experiment with a talisman; Willow asks Tara out for coffee.
19 Seeing Red Xander Buffy 02.jpg "Seeing Red" May 7, 2002
Writer: Steven DeKnight Director: Michael Gershman
Buffy's ongoing tussle with a trio of would-be supervillains intensifies in an episode packed with imaginative plot twists. Buffy goes looking for trouble in the lair of Warren, Andrew and Jonathan, the three nerds obsessed with her destruction, and she nearly falls victim to a booby trap of buzz saws. But that's the least of the Slayer's worries. With a little help from his friends, Warren acquires the Orbs of Nezzla'khan, a pair of demonic talismans that he says imbue him with "strength, invulnerability... the deluxe package," thus setting the stage for a fateful showdown.
20 Villains Xander.jpg "Villains" May 14, 2002
Writer: Marti Noxon Director: David Solomon
Buffy tries to recover from an assassination attempt; Jonathan and Andrew share a jail cell; Warren seeks allies at a demon bar; Anya is confronted by a distraught Willow.
21 Two to Go Jonathan Andrew.jpg "Two to Go" May 21, 2002
Writer: Douglas Petrie Director: Bill L. Norton
In the first of a two-part sixth-season finale, Buffy, Anya and Xander race to the Sunnydale police station to try to save Jonathan and Andrew from a sorceress; Dawn persuades Clem to take her to Rack; Spike's stamina and courage are put to the test by a mysterious demon.
22 Grave Willow 03.jpg "Grave" May 21, 2002
Writer: David Fury Director: James A. Contner
In the second part of the sixth-season finale, a magical friend helps the Scooby Gang try to stop a sorceress. But the witch still has a few tricks up her sleeve — and an unwilling assistant. Also: Spike's African sojourn comes to a climax.

Production[]

  • This was the first of two seasons in which Buffy aired not on The WB Television Network, but on the United Paramount Network (UPN).
  • Season 6 had a series of promotional clips in advertisement for the season's debut and campaign for the series' move to UPN.
  • Joss Whedon has stated about this season: "Okay, Buffy's come back from the dead, so you have to deal with that in a big way. Season six was basically about, 'Okay, we're grownups. We have no mentor, we have no mother, we have no parental figures. We're dealing with marriage and alcoholism and a really abusive relationship. We're dealing with someone who is practically suicidally depressed'. It's weird, but people didn't respond to that so much. Also, the metaphor of sex has become very graphic and real. What were mystical demons have become three nerds with guns. Very real death, very mundane. The idea was to break down the mythic feeling of the show, because there is a moment at childhood when you no longer get that. Everything isn't bigger than life; it's actual size. It's real loss. At the same time, there's the darker side of power and Buffy's guilt about her power and her feeling about coming back to the world. And her getting into a genuinely unhealthy relationship with Spike that was all about dominance, control and, ultimately, deep misogyny. How lost did we get? Well, our villain turned out to be Willow."[13]
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar disliked the season due to its darker tone. She was already unhappy about the move from The WB to UPN, and the decision to pair Buffy up with Spike in a destructive relationship was one that she protested against, feeling that it was out-of-character and that Buffy's relationship with Angel was the one that mattered. The fact that Joss Whedon was also working on Angel and Firefly during this time, and had stepped aside as showrunner on Buffy, made matters worse, as she felt that she had nobody to appeal to when she disagreed with creative decisions. She said in 2003: "It wasn't who Buffy was, or why people loved her. You don't want to see that dark heroine; you don't want to see her punishing herself. You want to see her killing vampires and making quips. It didn't feel like the character that I loved. Joss always explained that season as being about your 20s, where you're not a kid anymore, but you don't know what you want to do [with your life]. He always said that I didn't understand last year because I've always known what I wanted to do, and I didn't have that confusion, [that] dark, depressive period. But I think the heart of the show lies in the humor of the drama. I felt like Buffy's spirit was missing last year."[14] In 2017, Gellar elaborated: "I've always said that season 6 was not my favorite. I felt it betrayed who she was. Even just getting to talk to Joss and be able to get his opinion was not as easy when he's not upstairs. He had three shows. He had Angel and Firefly so that was hard."[15]

Awards[]

  • This season earned the series Emmy Award nominations of "outstanding hairstyling," "outstanding makeup (non-prosthetic)," and "outstanding makeup (prosthetic)" for the episode "Hell's Bells." The episode "Once More, with Feeling" was also nominated for "outstanding music direction."[16]
  • The musical episode won the Hugo Awards category "best dramatic presentation."[17]

References[]

  1. "Season 6". Apple TV. Retrieved on June 8, 2021.
  2. "Bargaining, Part One"
  3. "After Life"
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Flooded"
  5. "Gone"
  6. "Doublemeat Palace"
  7. "Smashed"
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Dead Things"
  9. "Life Serial"
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Seeing Red"
  11. "Villains"
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Grave"
  13. Ed Gross, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Turns 20: Joss Whedon Looks Back". Empire, March 9, 2017.
  14. Jeff Jenson, "The Goodbye Girl". Entertainment Weekly, March 7, 2003.
  15. Tim Stack, "Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joss Whedon differ on polarizing season 6 of Buffy". Entertainment Weekly, April 3, 2017.
  16. "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Television Academy. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  17. "2002 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
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