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[edit | edit source]

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.

Summary[edit | edit source]

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 (as opposed to a natural) death in Glory's portal meant that she might have been sent to hell. The season deals largely with her sorrow at being in fact torn from heaven. Struggling with money, taking care of a house, and her sister Dawn, Buffy finds a job at the Doublemeat Palace as she finds herself again in the daily grind. Buffy eventually begins a violent relationship with Spike, which brings momentary relief from her hardships.

She is consistently tormented by the Trio, three nerds from Sunnydale High who have joined to take over the town in an effort that goes from being inane to truly evil. Jonathan, who was featured in earlier seasons mostly as a victim, joins Warren, the architect of a robot girlfriend in Season Five, and Andrew, whose brother Tucker sent hellhounds to the Prom in Season Three.

A persistent subplot involves Willow and her growing abuse of magic. After she is forced to face with the consequences of her addiction, she attempts a difficult withdrawal when her girlfriend Tara is accidentally killed by Warren. Willow descends into darkness and begins a destructive rampage, at first to avenge, but later to relieve her own suffering by bringing on an apocalypse. Xander's unconditional love brings her back and saves the world.

Spike eventually insists that Buffy admit she loves him. When she refuses, Spike attempts to rape her as a way to resume their no-means-yes sexual affair. He then leaves Sunnydale seemingly in search of vengeance, but is awarded his soul after painful trials instead. Rupert Giles departs as a regular character; he would now return only as a special guest.

The main antagonists of this season were the Trio and Willow Rosenberg.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Main cast[edit | edit source]

In order of character appearances:

Recurring cast[edit | edit source]

In order of character appearances:

Episodes[edit | edit source]

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 OMwF Scooby Gang 01.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 Buffy 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 Willow Buffy.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 02.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 Willow Tara Anya.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 Spike Xander 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 S6stills028.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 Willow Buffy.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.

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

  • 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.
  • This season earned the series Emmy Award "outstanding hairstyling", "outstanding makeup (non-prosthetic)", and "outstanding makeup (prosthetic)" nominations for episode "Hell's Bells"; as well as a "outstanding music direction" nomination for "Once More, with Feeling". The musical episode won the Hugo Awards category "best dramatic presentation."[1]
  • This is the only season of either Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel that does not feature an appearance by Angel. However, Buffy and Angel had an off-screen meeting, between episodes "Flooded" and "Life Serial".
  • This is the only season not to feature Sunnydale High School, not the original, the rebuilt nor the destroyed remains.
  • 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."[2]
  • 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 Whedo 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 told Entertainment Weekly: "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. During the twentieth anniversary reunion, she 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."
  • Willow's magic addiction arc was disliked by both Alyson Hannigan and Joss Whedon himself; due to this, the latter added a scene in "Lessons" where Giles explicitly states that magic is not addictive and it's explained that Willow's actions were actually due to her, not using magic.[citation needed]
  • Marti Noxon, who took over as showrunner, later admitted that the season was too dark and that Tara's death was a mistake.[citation needed]
  • Giles' absence during the season was due to Anthony Stewart Head wanting to spend time with his family in England.[citation needed]
  • Tucker Wells was originally going to be the leader of the Trio and the interim Big Bad until he killed Tara and Dark Willow then killed him. Jonathan would have been the same pretty much, but Warren was going to be the passive follower. Since Brad Kane was unavailable to reprise the role, Warren was upped to Big Bad and Andrew was created to serve the weak-willed-follower role.[citation needed]

References[edit | edit source]

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