Buffy VS. Dracula
Out Of My Mind
No Place Like Home
Fool For Love
Listening to Fear
Into the Woods
I Was Made to Love You
The Weight Of The World
Despite running for a further 2 seasons, the fifth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer feels like a definitive, satisfying conclusion to this incredible supernatural series. There’s a recurring theme of death this year, both literally and thematically and the 22 episodes are all the stronger for it. Buffy’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) is the wild card this year and her presence will divide the fan base; you’ll either love her or hate her. Coupled with new, charismatic villain Glory (Clare Kramer) and a return of an unchanged cast, Buffy’s fifth season is arguably the best in the show’s history.
The story this year gravitates around Glory, a goddess who’s hell bent on finding The Key, an item or being that possesses the ability to rip open a portal to a demon world. Entwined around this storyline is Willow’s (Alyson Hannigan) continued dependence on magic and Spike’s journey from villain to hero. On top of all this there’s Buffy’s sister Dawn. She causes all sorts of problems for the slayer and at times this does play out a little contrived and awkward as her inclusion isn’t really explained until near the end of the series. When the credits roll at the end of the final episode however, some much needed clarity is given but for the first part of this series its not and it does detract from some of the episodes.
Thematically, Season 5 is the strongest and most cohesive series of the show’s history and is my personal favourite for this very reason. Death plays a crucial role this year and seeps into every aspect of the show. The literal personification of death is seen in the episode The Body where a key character dies and the rest of the gang have to deal with the aftermath of this. There’s a prophetic message to Buffy involving death too that plays heavily on Buffy’s actions and with this, the entire series has an air of finality to it. To this day, season 5 should have been Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s last purely based on the perfect finale and excellent storyline running through the episodes this year.
The humour and sharp dialogue are as good as they’ve ever been and the well written scripts in each of the episodes are full of clever quips, perfectly balancing comedy and drama. Of course, this has always been a staple point of the show but its even more prevalent here, with every episode oozing confidence. The first couple of episodes are arguably the weakest of the series but once the overarching storyline begins, season 5 is an incredible ride full of emotion, drama and great characterisation.
Season 5 of Buffy is a great example of a show at its peak. The dialogue, characterisation, plot and strong thematic ties all combine to make this one incredible season of entertainment. Although the first few episodes take a while to get going, the inclusion of Glory and the continued feeling of death hanging over the season give the show a feeling of finality. Although Buffy does continue for another 2 seasons, the fifth season is arguably the best in the show’s history and the finale, to this day, is one of the finest, bittersweet moments depicted on TV. Season 5 certainly isn’t without its problems but with so many memorable episodes, Buffy’s fifth is easily one of the best in the show’s history and what would have been the perfect swan song for the character had the show ended at this point.
Verdict - 9/10