It was that time of the month again to be stuffing envelopes with newsletters for young people. This takes at least an hour and can be fairly tiresome so I have got into the habit of watching something whilst I do it. Today I selected a random video tape that said BUFFY on it. I am a big fan of the show but haven't watched any for ages. It happened to be the last two episodes of Season Six (Two To Go and Grave for those of you who like precision.)
Any fans of Buffy won't be surprised that it's the end of the season and so it's ALMOST the end of the world. This time it's because Willow has lost Tara and in her grief she turns away from all that is good, seeks vengeance on those who killed Tara and decides that the world is such a dreadful place that she should end it all to end everyone's pain.
So what is it that stops her? Is it the incredible kick-ass action of Buffy? Is it some amazing plan from the delectable Giles? No. It's Xander. Simple, human, nothing special Xander. How does he save the world?
He goes to Willow as she's pouring all her anger and hate towards the world. She channels all the evil energy she has to destruction and Xander stands between her and the world and says "I love you." It's awesome. The simplicity of it. For me, of course, the parallel with Jesus' gospel of love and his all-loving sacrifice just screams out. Xander even uses humour to emphasise his message. Of course he doesn't succeed at first. Willow inflicts some nasty injuries on him but no matter what she does, he gets back up and his message remains the same. His message of love.
In an episode where we have had incredible demonstrations of power, magical, intellectual and physical we're shown that the greatest power out there is the power of LOVE and of course, as we know GOD is love. So the series really is giving that message (deep-down!)
The episode also ends with Sarah McLachlan singing a version of The Prayer of St Francis which is just mind-blowingly wonderful:
Lord make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.
O divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive-
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Of course the episode can tell us that we can ALL do this. If Xander - who really must be the world's greatest uber-muppet - can exhibit that kind of certainty of love then we all can. It doesn't require huge gestures or amazing powers. It only requires somethign we can all do.
Here's a transcript of the scene courtesy of somebody with more time than me!
WILLOW: You can't stop this.
XANDER: Yeah, I get that. It's just, where else am I gonna go? You've been my best friend my whole life. World gonna end ... where else would I want to be?WILLOW: (scornfully) Is this the master plan? You're going to stop me by telling me you love me?
XANDER: Well, I was going to walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil, but ... it seemed kinda cartoony.
WILLOW: Still making jokes.
XANDER: I'm not joking. I know you're in pain. I can't imagine the pain you're in. And I know you're about to do something apocalyptically (glancing back at the statue) evil and stupid, and hey. (spreading out his arms) I still want to hang. You're Willow.
WILLOW: (angry) Don't call me that.
XANDER: First day of kindergarten. You cried because you broke the yellow crayon, and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far, ending the world, not a terrific notion. But the thing is? Yeah. I love you. I loved crayon-breaky Willow and I love ... scary veiny Willow. So if I'm going out, it's here. If you wanna kill the world? Well, then start with me. I've earned that.
WILLOW: (upset) You think I won't?
XANDER: It doesn't matter. I'll still love you.
WILLOW: (angry) Shut up.
Willow gestures with her hand. No magic bolts of light, but Xander's head jerks to the side as if he's been hit. Three parallel cuts appear on his cheek, bloody as if scratched. He puts his hand up to them, looks at his fingers.
Willow watches, panting and looking a bit nervous. Xander looks back up at her.
XANDER: I love you.
Willow makes another slashing gesture. Xander doubles over and falls to his knees. Panting, he gets up again, and we see that his shirt is ripped open over the heart, more scratches visible on his chest. He pants and grimaces from the pain but faces Willow again.
XANDER: (panting) I ... love y-
WILLOW: Shut up!!
Now she does throw a blast of magic at him, and he staggers backward but doesn't fall down. Willow still holds her hand out, a little bit of magic crackling around it but not as much as she had expected. She looks surprised and anxious. Xander moves slowly toward her.
XANDER: I love you, Willow.
She sends another magic blast, but it's weak and barely hurts Xander at all. He continues walking toward her. Willow continues holding out her hand and making the magic gesture, but nothing happens. She starts to get teary.
XANDER: I love you.
Willow starts to cry and, as Xander gets right up to her, she starts hitting him with her fists. Xander just stands there and takes it. After a moment she stops hitting and starts to cry for real. She falls to her knees and Xander kneels with her, puts his arms around her and holds her while she sobs.
XANDER: I love you.
As Willow continues to cry in Xander's arms, the veins fade away from her face and her hair returns to its usual red.