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GRAVE (ep #6.22)

(a.k.a. The Yellow Crayon)

Written by: David Fury
Directed by: James A. Contner
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Guest Starring: Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (Special Guest Star)
Danny Strong as Jonathan Levinson
Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
Co-Starring: Brett Wagner as Trucker
Steven W. Bailey as Cave Demon

Plot Summary

A yellow crayon, broken about 15 years earlier, saved the world from the latest menace.

Plot Details

Once again, this episode started where the previous episode left off. Buffy and Anya were surprised to see Giles. Willow, on the other hand, did not take him too seriously despite his greatly increased power. When she shot off her mouth too many times, Giles magically wrapped a green visual effect ring around her and put her into temporary stasis.

This gave Giles time to notice that Buffy cut her hair. This resulted in a hug. Anya wanted to make sure that Giles noticed that she was blonde again. This meant another hug. Giles explained that a coven told him about a dark force in Sunnydale and about Tara's death. Giles figured out what was going on and arrived imbued with the coven's magic.

Buffy proceeded to summarize what happened during the sixth season from "Smashed" on. Giles thought that it was hilarious. He told Buffy that the coven was looking for a way to stop Willow without killing her. However, Willow may not be like she was before.

Meanwhile, Anya was trying to clean up the Magic Box. Willow was able to communicate with her telepathically and coerce her into breaking the binding spell. Willow then transported Anya's limp body and interrupted Giles and Buffy.

Buffy went to attack Willow, but Willow easily repelled her. Giles tried his binding spell again, but Willow quickly dissolved it. Willow then magically pulled out various throwing weapons and shot them at Giles. He shifted the practice dummy in the way to block the weapons. He then used magic to throw Willow through a wall.

Meanwhile, Xander and Dawn were leading Jonathan and Andrew to some unknown destination. Xander was still blaming himself for everything that went wrong, and Dawn was quickly losing patience with him. She suggested that Spike would help fight, which led Xander to "accidentally" tell her what Spike tried to do in "Seeing Red." Dawn did not believe him.

Spike, meanwhile, had just decapitated a demon. This simply led to the next stage of his test, which involved CGI beetles crawling all over him.

At the Magic Box, there was considerable damage, including massive structural damage and the burning of at least one book by William Shatner. It was clear that Willow had the upper hand, but Giles was still willing to press her buttons. Willow responded by trying to collapse the balcony on him, but Buffy pushed him out of the way.

Willow had enough of Buffy's heroics. She picked up a fireball and sent it toward Jonathan, Andrew, and anyone else with them. It would find its mark unless Buffy went to warn them. Giles told Buffy to leave.

With Buffy gone, Willow magically bounced Giles between the ceiling and the floor until Giles sent a spell to stop her. Unfortunately, he did so while pinned to the ceiling, so he went crashing to the floor. He then suggested that Willow was running out of power, which led Willow to suck power out of him. Her reaction was a pretty blatant drug analogy. Willow felt in touch with everyone's pain and was overwhelmed. She decided that she had to stop all the pain.

In a cemetery, both Xander and Jonathan tried to break into crypts without any luck. Dawn noticed a fireball in the sky just as Buffy arrived to warn them. The fireball crashed into the ground, creating a large hole. Buffy and Dawn fell into the pit along with Jonathan's and Andrew's swords. Xander was unconscious, and Jonathan suddenly decided that Mexico was a great idea.

In the Magic Box, Anya ran to a stricken Giles. He said that he could see Willow and knew what she was doing. He also said that he was dying.

In the pit, Buffy tried and failed to climb out. Dawn suggested looking to see if it connected to tunnels to Spike's crypt. Buffy did not want to go there, which led Dawn to realize that Xander told her the truth. Xander called down to see if they were OK. Buffy told him to get a rope, as if people routinely left coils of rope lying around in a cemetery. They were interrupted when Anya teleported in. Xander overheard Anya tell Buffy and Dawn that Willow was determined to destroy the world at a temple on Kingman's Bluff. Buffy said that there was no temple there, but Willow was busy rectifying that omission. Anya also said that Buffy, magic, and supernatural forces could not stop Willow and that Giles might be dying. Buffy decided that she really needed rope from Xander.

Willow somehow sensed that Buffy wanted to stop her. She decided that Buffy should go out with a fight, so she sent earth demons after Buffy. Buffy picked up a sword but realized that she could not take all of them. She handed the other sword to Dawn, who joined the fight.

Willow was busy shooting green visual-effect balls into the temple when Xander interrupted. Giles regained consciousness and said that things were not over.

Meanwhile, it looked like Dawn was struggling against the earth demons. Buffy was going to help her, but Dawn had a few nifty moves and decapitated her attacker. Buffy had only a moment to look on in pride before more earth demons appeared.

Willow tried shooting more visual effects into the temple, but Xander interrupted again. He told a story about how Willow cried when she broke a yellow crayon in kindergarten and said that he loved her despite what he was doing. At first, she seemed unmoved, but she eventually broke down crying in Xander's arms as her hair turned back to red.

In the Magic Box, Giles started to get up. Anya was excited to see that he was alive and hugged him a bit too tightly. She was relieved to hear that Willow was still alive but wondered how she was stopped. Giles said that he knew that Willow would suck his power, so his power included "true essence" of magic, which would activate Willow's humanity and allow Xander to reach her. Anya did not know what to think about Xander saving the world.

In the pit, the earth demons dissolved into nothing. Dawn breathed a sigh of relief as Buffy started to sob. Dawn assumed that this meant that Buffy wanted the world to end before realizing that those were tears of relief. Buffy promised to start showing Dawn the world rather than continuing to protect her from it.

Next was the sure sign of the end of an angsty season, a Sarah MacLachlan song. Buffy and Dawn climbed out of the pit. Willow continued to cry in Xander's arms. Anya helped Giles to his feet and out of the Magic Box. Jonathan and Andrew huddled nervously as a truck driver eyed them. Buffy took Dawn to see some flowers. Most importantly, Spike passed all his tests and received what he wanted: his soul.

The Good

Xander's speech to Willow was very well done and was a good reminder of what Willow and Xander have meant to each other.

It is great to see Giles again.

The Bad

The whole "Willow goes mad" plotline was implausible enough. Having Willow suddenly decide to destroy the world went a bit too far.

Overall Rank: 19

Action: 8

Willow fought with Giles off and on during the first half of the episode.

Willow sent a fireball toward Jonathan and Andrew.

In the pit, Dawn and Buffy fought earth demons.

Comedy: 3

Giles thought that the sixth season was hilarious.

Anya had a couple funny moments as she was tending to Giles.

Xander rejected the idea of walking Willow off a cliff and handing her an anvil.

Drama: 6

Both Buffy and Anya desperately needed hugs from Giles.

Giles suggested that Willow might never be as she was, which upset Buffy.

Anya was worried that Giles was dying. The other characters did not seem to care too much.

Romance: 0

Character Development: 7

Willow broke a yellow crayon when she was in kindergarten. Her hair is back to red.

Xander still loved Willow despite her actions since the end of "Seeing Red."

Anya served as a caregiver to Giles. She was also very concerned when she thought that the world being saved meant that Willow had died.

Dawn has apparently picked up some good fighting skills from watching her sister.

Buffy has realized that she has sheltered Dawn from the world too much.

Giles has apparently been hanging out with a coven while in England.

Spike now has a soul.

Importance: 8

Willow's hair is back to being red, which is probably more important than Anya going blonde again.

Buffy has decided to stop overprotecting Dawn.

Jonathan and Andrew are on their way to Mexico.

Spike now has a soul.

Most Valuable Player: Xander

Spike made a last second push for this award by successfully regaining his soul. However, Xander is the clear MVP for saving the world. Giles also gets a lot of credit for dosing Willow with what I guess is good magic to cancel the bad magic. Buffy gets consideration for saving Giles from the collapsing balcony and delivering a warning about the fireball, and Dawn gets credit for showing how handy she is with a sword.

Who Figured It Out? Giles

Giles gets this award for coming up with the plan to dose Willow with good magic to ward off the dark magic that she had been using.

Goat of the Week: Nobody

Willow failed to destroy the world, but, by the end of the episode, I would guess that she was glad that she failed. Nobody else failed at what they tried to do, so everyone gets a pass.

Random Commentary

Before the last two episodes aired, I had two predictions of how the season could end. The first would be that, through some sort of séance, Tara's would be called back to earth to intervene and shame Willow into stopping. This comes from the theory that, in order to predict what will happen, always predict the most painful method. This would cause Tara to see the harm that was allegedly done because of her. I would expect her to do the right thing, but it would be very painful for her, and probably Willow as well.

My other theory was that someone close to Willow would approach her, alone and unarmed, and try to bring her back to sanity through love. Xander would be the most obvious person to do so. Most likely, Willow would initially respond by attacking the person, but love will eventually win Willow over.

This leads to two possibilities. The first is that I was very smart for correctly predicting how the season would end, even if I hedged by making two separate predictions. The other is that this was a very predictable ending. I prefer the former, but I will let others come to their own conclusions.


Buffy realized that the crisis was over and the world was saved. However, she had every reason to believe that Giles was dying. Which of the following would be the most likely thing for Buffy to do:

  1. Run to the Magic Box as fast as possible to see if Giles was still alive, or
  2. Take Dawn to look at pretty flowers?

Many people heard Giles's lecture about Willow being changed after killing a person and wondered why Giles was not changed that way after killing Ben in "The Gift." The answer is simple. The way Giles talked, it sounded like he saw a line between those who have killed humans and those who have not rather than each kill bringing about a massive change. In "The Dark Age," it was clear that Giles felt responsible for killing a person back when his group summoned Eyghon. He crossed the line well before we saw him for the first time. I suspect that he was speaking from his own experience.

DVD Extras

Commentary by Director James A. Contner and Writer David Fury was pretty good for a multi-person commentary. There is a minor spoiler for the third episode of the seventh season as well as discussion of an issue to be addressed in that season and a mention of how much we will see Giles in the seventh season. Insights include:

Memorable Dialogue

"I'm here to help you." Giles
"Thanks, but I can kill a couple geeks all by myself." Willow

"Willow, listen to him. I don't want to fight you anymore." Buffy
"I don't wanna fight you either. I wanna fight him." Willow

"[To Buffy] You cut your hair. [Hug]" Giles
"I'm blonde. I colored my hair, again. I'm blonde." Anya
"Yes, I noticed. [Another hug]" Giles

"There's no guarantee she'll be as she was. Willow's killed a human being. How will she be able to live with herself?" Giles
"I wouldn't worry about that. Willow doesn't live here anymore." Willow

"I see. If you lose someone you love, the other people in your life, who care about you, become meaningless. I wonder what Tara would say about that." Giles

"I'm so sorry. Willow forced me to free her with her brain. Are you OK?" Anya
"I can see." Giles
"Oh, it's a miracle." Anya

"Look around, Buffy. We're trapped in here. Willow's killing, and people I love keep dying, and you cannot protect me from that." Dawn

"Giles, don't die, not yet. There are things I want to tell you. Thanks a lot for coming. It was good of you to teleport all this way. In retrospect, it probably would have been better if you hadn't come and given Willow all that magic that made her like ten times more powerful. That would have been a plus." Anya

You're not the only one with powers, you know. You may be a hopped-up uber-witch, but this carpenter can drywall you into the next century." Xander

"You can't stop this." Willow
"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?" Xander
"Is this the master plan? You're gonna stop me by telling me you love me?" Willow
"Well, I was gonna walk you off a cliff and hand you an anvil, but seemed kinda cartoony." Xander
"Still making jokes." Willow
"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 evil and stupid, and, hey, still want to hang. You're Willow." Xander
"Don't call me that!" Willow
"The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon, and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You come pretty far. Ending the world, not a terrific notion, but the thing is, yeah, I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary-veiny Willow. So, if I'm going out, it's here. If you want to kill the world, then start with me. I've earned that." Xander

"The magic she took from me, it did what I hoped it would do." Giles
"Oh, you dosed her. You knew she'd take your powers all along." Anya
"The gift that was given to me by the coven was the true essence of magic. Willow's magic came from a place of rage and power..." Giles
"... and vengeance. Don't forget vengeance." Anya
"Oh, how could I? In any case, the magic she took from me tapped into the spark of humanity she had left, helped her to feel again." Giles

"Things have really sucked lately. That's all gonna change, and I wanna be there when it does. I want to see my friends happy again. I want to see you grow up, the woman you're gonna become, because she's gonna be beautiful. She's gonna be powerful. I got it so wrong. I don't want to protect you from the world; I want to show it to you. There's so much that I want to show you." Buffy

"You have endured the required trials." Cave Demon
"Bloody right I have. So you give me what I want. Make me what I was, so Buffy can get what she deserves." Spike
"Very well, we will return your soul!" Cave Demon

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Buffy and the Law

Giles Unconscious

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on January 3, 2013