|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 7, Episode 22|
|Air date||May 20, 2003|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Directed by||Joss Whedon|
End of Days
The Long Way Home
"Chosen", the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is the twenty-second episode of the seventh season and is the one hundred forty-fourth episode altogether. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon. It originally broadcast on May 20, 2003.
A bloody Caleb rises and Buffy finally kills him with the Scythe by slicing him in two from the crotch up. Angel gives Buffy an amulet intended to be worn by someone ensouled, yet more than human. He tells her he will fight alongside her, but she turns him down, asking him to instead organize a second front in case she loses to The First. They discuss Spike, his soul, and Buffy's feelings for him. When Angel asks about the future, and if he has a place in it Buffy explains that she still needs to grow up, using a cookie-baking analogy. As he walks into the shadows, echoing his very first appearance, Buffy tells him there might be a future for them, but it will be a long time coming, if ever. He walks off after saying "I ain't getting any older."Back at the house, Dawn angrily kicks Buffy's leg for having Xander try to take her away from Sunnydale in the previous episode. Spike is in the basement, working out his anger on a punching bag with a crude drawing of Angel's face on it. He asks for the amulet, whose exchange he had witnessed from the shadows, and she explains that it is very powerful and meant only for a champion. She then hands it to him. Buffy tells Spike coyly that Faith still sleeps in her bedroom and she has nowhere to sleep. Spike says he doesn't want Buffy downstairs with him, because he still has his pride. When Buffy starts to walk upstairs, he says he doesn't have any pride at all when it comes to her and he says she can stay.
Late at night, as Buffy and Spike are sleeping in each other's arms, the First appears to taunt Buffy in the form of Caleb. His words give Buffy a plan. When Spike wakes up, Buffy tells him that she now knows that they will win.The next morning, Buffy unveils her plan to the potentials off-camera. Afterwards, Willow expresses her concerns about using magic again to Kennedy. She says this is the most powerful magic she will have attempted and asks Kennedy to kill her if it turns bad. Faith and Principal Wood also have a discussion while preparing the school for the battle. Wood demonstrates that he understands her defensiveness over getting emotionally involved with men and asks her to give him a chance after the battle. During the night, Buffy goes to the basement, where she apparently spends her last night with Spike.
The next morning, everyone arrives at Sunnydale High in a yellow school bus. The Potentials head to the seal in the basement while Kennedy helps Willow set up her spell in Principal Wood's office. After trying to give a farewell speech, Andrew is dragged off by Anya. Dawn leaves to set up her post with Xander, determined to see her sister again. Principal Wood leaves to wait at his post for Giles. The core four share a moment talking about going to the mall after saving the world which causes Giles to say "the earth is definitely doomed" (echoing the end of The Harvest, part two of the series' pilot episode). Xander and Willow walk down the hallway with Buffy before each one peels off, leaving Buffy walking alone to the seal. The Potentials, Faith, and Spike are waiting, and the Potentials/Slayers cut their hands to open the seal with their blood. They climb down the hole in the ground and come face to face with the army of Turok-Han. The Ubervamps spot Buffy, Faith, and the Potentials, and attack. "Come on, Wil," Buffy pleads.Willow sits in Principal Woods' office, the Scythe before her. While chanting a spell, she places her hands upon the Scythe, and both she and the Scythe light up in an ethereal glow and her hair turns white, the opposite of Dark Willow. A flashback to Buffy's final speech to the Potentials reveals that Willow is channeling the essence of the Scythe in order to activate Potentials all over the world. Defying the tradition of only one Slayer per generation, Willow's spell will raise an army strong enough to do battle with The First. As Willow performs the actual magic, Kennedy tells Willow that she is a goddess. "And you're a Slayer," Willow replies. Kennedy takes the Scythe to Buffy, who is deep in the fight with Faith and Spike against the army of the Turok-Han, numbering in the thousands.
As she pauses to give orders, Buffy is stabbed through her abdomen from behind by one of the Turok-Han and falls to the ground. She passes the Scythe to Faith and asks her to hold the line. As she lies on the ground, she sees several newly activated Slayers fall, including Amanda. In the halls of the school, a few Turok-Han make it to the surface and attack the group guarding the entrances. A small group of Bringers also appear and attack. During the battle, Anya is bisected by a Bringer.
Andrew fights until he is overwhelmed. Principal Wood is brutally stabbed by a Bringer who is then killed by Giles. Xander and Dawn take on some Turok-Han who are disintegrated by sunlight when Dawn throws open a skylight window, but more follow. In the Hellmouth, The First then appears to Buffy as a mortally wounded copy of herself, saying "What more do you want?". Ordering The First to "get out of my face!" Buffy arises with renewed determination and knocks several Turok-Han off the ledge. Other Slayers are reinvigorated as well.Just then, Spike's amulet consumes him in blue light and blasts a hole upward into the sky. The sunlight is channeled through the amulet and in powerful rays that begin dusting the Ubervamps. The ground begins to shake and rocks tumble. The surviving Slayers start to flee. Buffy tells Spike to do so as well, but he insists on finishing it. They share a quiet moment as the world crumbles around them. With tears in her eyes, Buffy tells Spike she loves him, to which he replies, "No you don't. But thanks for saying it." He orders her to leave as he has to stay and finish the job. Buffy leaves and Spike disintegrates as the Hellmouth collapses.
On the way out of the school, the Slayers find Andrew crouched in a corner. Xander yells for Anya, but doesn't see her dead and mangled body lying nearby. Dawn pulls him out. Faith is the last onto the bus and it pulls away, with Dawn looking through back for Buffy. Buffy, in the meantime, has climbed to the roof of the school and is running along rooftops trying to outrun the enlarging crater. She leaps onto the top of the bus. Watching as the bus speeds off out of town, the entire town collapses into itself.
The ground stops shaking. Everyone gets off the bus. Xander asks Andrew about Anya's death. He comforts Xander by telling him that Anya died saving him. Faith looks after a wounded Principal Wood. While Kennedy, Vi, and a few others tend to the wounded Slayers, everyone joins Buffy as they look at the large crater which was once Sunnydale. Giles asks how this could've happened, since everyone either died or is alive and with them. With sad eyes, Buffy answers with one word: "Spike". A silence follows, as everyone remembers their fight. Giles mentions that they should go to Cleveland as there's another Hellmouth there and lots more work to do. An exhausted Faith responds, "Can I push him in?". Then, Dawn asks, "What are we going to do now?" Buffy slowly begins to smile as she contemplates the future.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Stewart Head, and David Boreanaz are the only actors to have appeared in the first and final episodes of the series.
- According to Joss Whedon's commentary, David Boreanaz was only available for 7 hours to film his scenes.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
- James Marsters as Spike
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Special guest star
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
- Iyari Limon as Kennedy
- Sarah Hagan as Amanda
- Indigo as Rona
- D. B. Woodside as Principal Robin Wood
- Felicia Day as Vi
- Mary Wilcher as Shannon
- Demetra Raven as Girl at Bat
- Katie Gray as Indian Girl
- Lisa Ann Cabasa as Injured Girl
- Ally Matsumura as Japanese Girl
- Kelly Wheeler as School Girl
- Jenna Edwards as Trailer Girl
- Julia Ling as Potential with Power #2
Season Seven explores the fundamental separateness between the Slayer and other people, which the series finale turns upside down. As J. Lichtenberg points out in her essay on heroism in the Buffyverse, Buffy is a hero because she makes her own rules. "Finally an adult, Buffy rejects the fate laid out for her by the Council of Watchers and a couple of old men millennia ago," Lichtenberg writes. "She finally achieves her goal of normality - not by changing her own nature, but by making others like her."
In a BBC interview before this episode aired, writer/director Joss Whedon said, "If nobody cries... then I've definitely failed. It's really emotional - you're supposed to laugh, cry, and gasp with excitement - as well as take away a beautiful feminist message." He acknowledges that the magic unleashed from the Scythe in this episode is "somewhat convenient," but as a writer, it was more important for him to get to the show's message of empowerment by showing what Willow's magic and Buffy's status as the Slayer means to each of them. He also admits that the Turok-Han vampires in this episode are far easier to kill in this episode than in previous episodes (in which Buffy noted their tough chestbones make staking them extremely difficult) because "Again, I was more interested in the showing the empowerment than I was in the continuity."
Whedon knew he "wanted to kill somebody... brutally and suddenly and never really pay it off. I wanted a death that was a real middle-of-the-battle death — the opposite of the Spike death, perfect, noble." Emma Caulfield stated at the beginning of Season 7 that this would be her last season on Buffy, even if the show was renewed for another season, and so Caulfield was happy to have Anya be the character who was killed.
The scene in which Giles, Buffy, Xander, and Willow are together in the hallway before they eventually split off into their separate parties mirrors a scene in "The Harvest", in which Buffy, Xander, and Willow ignore Giles completely and walk off talking to each other leaving Giles to remark to himself, "the earth is doomed." In this episode, the same thing occurs when Buffy, Xander, and Willow ignore Giles completely and walk off talking to each other and Giles is left standing there alone where he comments that "The earth is definitely doomed."
While writing this episode, Joss Whedon apparently wanted to have the Powers That Be grant Buffy one wish. She would arrive at Willow's door and say that she had a wonderful time shopping for shoes, Willow would ask if she had used her wish on buying shoes. Buffy would then step aside and reveal Tara, Willow's late girlfriend, standing in the doorway, alive and well again. This idea was not used because of scheduling issues with Amber Benson, the actress who plays Tara.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Giles, Andrew, Amanda, and Xander play the popular role-playing game the night before the final battle.
- Trogdor the Burninator: During the D&D game, Andrew refers to the character Trogdor from Homestar Runner.
- Dawson's Creek: When Angel returns to help Buffy and shows jealously towards Spike, Buffy gets annoyed and says, "Are you just going to come here and go all Dawson on me every time I have a boyfriend?" implying that Angel's emotions echo that of Dawson Leery, the love-lorn and sensitive title character of the show, which also aired on the WB.
- Robert Duncan - "Every Girl, A Slayer"
- Robert Duncan - "Slayer Victory"
- Robert Duncan - "The Final Fight"
- French title: "La Fin des Temps - 2ème partie" ("The End of Times - Part 2")
- German title: "Das Ende der Zeit – Teil 2" ("The End of Time: Part 2")
- Italian title: On TV "La Prescelta" ("The Chosen One") or, on DVD, "Prescelta" ("Chosen")
- Spanish title: "La Elegida" ("The Chosen One")
- Japanese title: "選ばれし者" ("The Chosen One")
Quotes and trivia
- "Oh. Well. That's great. Everyone's got a soul now.... You know, I started it. The whole having a soul? Before it was all the cool new thing." - Angel
- During Giles, Andrew, Amanda, and Xander's D&D game, Giles is attacked by Trogdor the Burninator, a popular creation of Strongbad from Homestar Runner.
- Gellar's stirring speech was shown in two parts in this episode, but it was filmed as one scene, half of which was deleted in the editing room (DVD commentary).
- Willow's spell ended with the line "Oh, my Goddess." This might be in reference either to the popular manga Oh! My Goddess (sometimes translated as Ah! My Goddess as well) or to the title of the season 5 finale of Charmed. It is most likely a play on the vernacular phrase "Oh my God", since Willow has substituted "Goddess" for "God" several times in the past.
- The very last line of the episode, and thus of the series, is: "Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?" (spoken by Dawn). The first line of the series (spoken by Darla in "Welcome to the Hellmouth") is: "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
- Joss Whedon said on the final DVD Commentary that there was barely time for Angel to film his scenes and that the core four would never die.
- The Mutant Enemy monster is actually animated in this one (as opposed to just a paper monster walking across the screen) and growls at the viewers, in a way saying goodbye to them as well.
- The survivors: Buffy, Willow, Xander, Dawn, Giles, Andrew, Kennedy, Faith, Robin, Rona, Vi, Shannon, Chao-ahn (who Xander is seen tending to in one shot), and other Slayers.
- Sunnydale is destroyed and the Hellmouth there closed. The First is foiled in its plans.
- All potential Slayers in the world are now actual Slayers, with the attendant physical strength, instincts, and visions. This is explored further in the Angel episode "Damage"
- After changing the world and activating all the Potentials a rift is formed between Buffy and Dawn which would become apparent in Season Eight.
- Spike returns from his apparent death to be resurrected nineteen days later in the Angel episode "Conviction", and plays a major part in that series until its conclusion.
Reception and reviews
- "Chosen" attracted 4.9 million viewers on its original first run. Although those numbers seem low compared to earlier seasons, it was actually one of the highest rated episodes of the season as viewership at this point in the show had diminished.
SFX, a British sci-fi magazine, called "Chosen" the 8th best episode of Buffy (number one was "Hush").
The episode was nominated for both a 2003 Emmy Award in the Category of Special Visual Effects for a Series, and for the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
The 30-second television ad begins with the mention of sponsor Acuvue Cam, cutting to a montage of clips from "Chosen," such as Caleb threatening, Buffy and Spike in the Hellmouth, Willow enchanted, and Buffy knocking three Turok-Hans off a cliff.
It also features clips from previous episodes of the season, such as Xander lighting a match ("Get It Done"), the Hellmouth seal ("Storyteller"), and Buffy rising from the floor in ("Never Leave Me").
Throughout the ad, the voiceover utters: The end is here… Be there when the Slayer takes her last stand. Will this be Buffy’s final hour? Or her finest hour? The earth shattering series finale…
The ad concludes with a final mention of Acuvue Cam.