Under the Seal! Under the Seal! Sorry. Little Mermaid flashback. Won't happen again. Spike worries that his Truly, Truly, Truly Outrageous Jem isn't working right. "Not worried," answers Buffy in return. Faith cheers him up: "Willow's big spell doesn't work, it won't matter what you wear." Which leads me to believe that the entirety of Buffy's plan really did lie in just creating a few more Slayers. To fight what looks like an endless horde of übervamps. Which, as we see, would've failed without Spike's Pretty Princess Jem. Which Buffy wasn't factoring into her plan. Nice plan, B. If this season were a house, it would be the kind that's so shoddily put together that it falls down and crushes you the first time a large truck drives by. Buffy again points out that she's not worried. She should be! Everyone approaches the lip of an overhanging cliff in a huge underground cavern. They peer over to see a whole passel of übervamps. Spike steps back in surprise. "I'm not worried," repeats Buffy, in a slightly less convinced tone than before. "As long as Willow can work her spell before they…" A few of the übervamps look upward and catch sight of their nummy dinners. "…See us," finishes Buffy. Gulp!
Cut to Willow mumbling a chant. The übervamps run closer. Cut to Willow. "Oh. My. Goddess." She pants. The Little Red Axe That Could flashes with pure white light and rings like a bell.
Flashback to Buffy at the Summers home earlier. She's telling the Junior Misses, "So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power? Now. Into every generation one Slayer is born. Because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men." Buffy points at Willow. "This woman. Is more powerful than all of them combined." Willow makes an "ohgoddesspleasedon'tsaythat" face. Buffy thinks it's time to modernize the workings of the Slayer machine and fulfill the destiny of the proletariat. "I say that my power should be our power." Cut to Kennedy, Miss Minnesota, Rona, and Millie on the ledge overlooking the übervamps, obviously becoming imbued with the Slayer stuff as the spirit of the axe envelops them. Kennedy looks scary enjoying all that power, I gotta say. "From now on every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a Slayer." We see a little girl at bat in a softball game. She bites her lip apprehensively. Another girl leans against her locker, looking surprised. "Every girl who could have the power, will have the power. Can stand up? Will stand up." A Japanese girl gets up from her family's table, holding her head. Another girl stands and stops a man who is about to hit her. "Slayers. Every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?" The little girl at bat smiles sweetly, like she just knows she's gonna hit that motherfucker out of the park.
Wow. There's a lot I could say here. I think, as a plot point, freeing the Slayer power definitely raises a lot of questions. Questions about creating an über-class of women, questions about rogue Slayers. Questions about why -- well, I'm sure you can think of a few. And I'm not really sure how I feel about a message that says, "If you were one of a handful of girls who had the potential to be special before, you can be even more special now." I would have been just as happy with a story that concluded with the Junior Misses conquering their fears and their enemies on their own, with the strengths that they already possessed. More of an every-girl story. But as a metaphor, viewed on the most simplistic level, this is sweet. Obvious and anvilicious, but sweet. The look on that little girl's face as she lifts the bat is priceless. A mother sent me an email saying that her daughter was glowing while Buffy gave this speech, and deep inside my cynical, disaffected shell, I think that's, well, cool. And as a poster on the boards said, if you're focusing only on the abuses of power this might produce, compare it to giving U.S. women the vote back in 1920. Sure, some women might abuse that right, but is that any reason to deny them parity? Because on the metaphor level, I think this power is not meant to put these girls above men, but to bring them to their level. You aren't free if you don't have choices. In the Buffyverse, which is not our universe, Buffy gave back to all these girls something that was stolen from them. The fact that the something has a few sharp edges, and a few girls might cut themselves on it, does nothing to change the fact that what Buffy did was right. I think. Except when I woke up in a sweat about it at 3 AM this morning and came up with a list of reasons why the metaphor sucked. Damn, this episode has me very confused. Okay, soapbox stowed away.