10. Yes, Ben is Glory. (the last few episodes)
It makes for some humorous moments when everybody keeps forgetting that Glory (Clare Kramer) and Ben (Charlie Weber) are one and the same. But really, it’s also an important life metaphor: namely, when there’s an important fact, don’t forget it. Because forgetting it will not be good. Also, in a place like Sunnydale, anything is possible: so if you never see two people in the same place at once, just assume they’re actually the same person, and don’t trust the nice one.
9. Don’t build sex robots. (5×15, “I Was Made to Love You,” 5×18, “Intervention”)
This is pretty straightforward. If you’re really that desperate for a thing to love, they have toys for that, don’t they? Toys that can’t just walk away and wreak havoc. And really, if you build a sex robot and throw it out, you should maybe make sure there’s no way that it could reactivate. ‘Cause that’s just gonna get messy. Also, sex robots are just creepy.
8. If everyone already thinks you’re a creep, it’s probably best if you don’t order a sex robot that looks like a real person… who could kill you, easily. (5×18, “Intervention”)
I mean, the Buffybot does end up being useful for non-sex reasons eventually. She’s even kind of funny. But everyone’s already a little weirded out by Spike’s (James Marsters) having a thing for Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Most of the Scoobies don’t really trust him, because of the whole evil vampire thing. And a lookalike sex robot is just kind of sketch, no matter what. It’d be sketch if he got a sex robot made to look like a celebrity, for goodness’ sake; it’s worse that it’s made to look like someone he knows. And by doing so, he’s pretty fairly well cementing that she’s not going to hop into bed with him IRL anytime soon. (Well, not in… this lifetime.)
7. If you fight with your girlfriend and storm out, she might get brain-sucked by a hell-god, so maybe try not to storm out on people. (5×19, “Tough Love”)
There’s an old saying about not letting the sun go down on your anger, but I’d propose that you shouldn’t let the door slam on your anger, either. If you’re mad at people, it’s always best just to talk it out right then and there. Letting it linger is just going to make for the awkward and, depending on the context of your universe, the dangerous. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) unfortunately had to learn this the hard way, but we don’t have to.
6. If your sister is a physical manifestation of a mystical energy that has been retroactively inserted into everyone’s memories, just go ahead and tell her so when you find out. Don’t let her hear from a book. (5×13, “Blood Ties”)
A lot of Dawn’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) angst throughout the series comes from the fact that nobody tells her anything. Finding out that she’s really a magical key isn’t going to sit well no matter how she finds out, but just being straight with her about it will soften the blow a little bit. And maybe then she won’t become such a ridiculous kleptomaniac. And maybe she’ll stop whining. And maybe she won’t be so self-destructive.
5. Proposing to someone just because you’re all gonna die may seem like a great idea at the time, but probably… isn’t. (5×22, “The Gift”)
Xander (Nicholas Brendon) has the best intentions, swearsies. It seems like a great plan to propose to Anya (Emma Caulfield) when they’re pretty sure that another apocalypse is gonna kick in. But it’s not like back in season three when Willow and Oz (Seth Green) had sex because the world was about to end. Willow and Oz had been building up to having sex for months. Xander and Anya hadn’t been planning an engagement. Xander jumped into it without really thinking it through, and it winds up being a terrible plan. Because it seems cute, they’re engaged, but they end up setting the wedding date for not even a season later. Rushed much? Anya’s been on the planet for thousands of years, but Xander is still young and stupid. He doesn’t know that he’s ready for marriage. He’s not. It’s an impulse decision, and it’s one that should be avoided. At all costs.
4. Necromancy is unnatural and bad. Don’t do it. (5×17, “Forever”)
Dawn decides that the only thing that she can do is bring Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) back from the dead. That’s the only way things will be okay. But really, there’s so much wrong with that. The most important thing being that it’s hideously, terribly selfish. (Which will be reiterated in season six, so.) And the Joyce that would return wouldn’t be the same Joyce. Also, those are magicks you just shouldn’t mess with. Nope.
3. Self-sacrifice is noble, but if you have friends who can do necromancy, you probably want to tell them “hey, don’t necromance me” before you die. Otherwise, bad things will happen. (5×22, “The Gift”)
I’d like to think that Willow wouldn’t be selfish enough to explicitly ignore a request that Buffy would make before jumping into Glory’s hell vortex. If Buffy had thought to say, “Hey, guys, I understand that you’ll miss me, and that’s reasonable, but seriously… I’d rather not be brought back from the dead. That would be just… bad and wrong, and didn’t we just get through telling Dawn not to do that exact thing?” the entire mess of… well, the rest of the series wouldn’t have happened. Or someone else could have brought her back, and it’d be messy in a different way that didn’t involve Willow abusing the magicks and Buffy being mad at everyone. Planning is a good thing to do.
2. Vampires can love well, if not wisely. (5×14, “Crush”)
It’s said many, many times that vampires can’t really love, because they don’t have souls. The definition of a “soul” seems to vary somewhat, as it changes Angel’s (David Boreanaz) personality completely and, aside from a summer of basement crazy time, doesn’t really change Spike’s personality at all (though this could be attributed to the fact that Angel’s soul was forced on him, and Spike willingly sought his out, or something like that). But really, I don’t think that the soulless vampires all have a problem loving. I completely believe that Spike and Drusilla (Juliet Landau) were in love, once upon a time. It wasn’t just a sex thing, or a “lol let’s kill some things together” thing. It was love. They cared a lot about each other, even if every other creature on the planet could go die in a fire or be nommed on. Dru probably loved Angel a bit, in her own way; but this is quickly becoming an essay, so I’ll hold off for now.
1. Sometimes, the most terrifying thing isn’t a demon or a vampire. It’s just mortality. (5×16, “The Body”)
I watched the first four and a half seasons of Buffy in an approximately four-month span of time, at first with friends, then by the end alone. But I’d been warned that “The Body” was going to depress me, and I just… didn’t want to deal with that by myself. Which is why it took me a year and a half to get around to actually picking back up again, because of life getting in the way. And it took me that long to find someone else to finish the series with (and I had to catch her up, somewhat). And while Joyce’s death wasn’t the most upsetting in the series for me (that dubious honor would have to go to Tara, who I just loved so much) it was pretty brutal watching everyone’s reactions. I mean, Joyce had been sick all season, we’d known it was a possibility, and for people watching in real-time without spoilers, it could have still come as a surprise somewhat, but it wasn’t a murder or anything. No, the worst part of the episode is watching everyone come to terms with their own humanity. They’re so used to being in life-or-death situations with supernatural and mystical creatures and all that, but they haven’t taken the time to think about the fact that they’re (mostly) still just people, and people die. Of purely natural causes. Oftentimes right in the middle of when you’re also dealing with hell-gods and really don’t have the energy for all the grief all at once. Even if it’s still gonna sneak up on you.
–your fangirl heroine.