The Chosen One’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.
It was only a matter of time before Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer was given the Hollywood reboot treatment. After all, while it might feel like only yesterday Sarah Michelle Gellar’s titular slayer punched, kicked, and staked her way through Sunnydale’s demonic inhabitants, it’s been a solid 22 years since the Hellmouth first opened its fiery gates.
Ever since Fox announced its partnership with Whedon to bring the beloved show back from the dead, the passionate fandom has been in a predictable tizzy. Some are stoked Buffy and the Scooby Gang are getting a “richly diverse” modern era update. Some think it’s nothing more than a cash grab set to destroy the vampiric franchise and everything it represents. Some just can’t wait to see who replaces James Marsters as Spike (will the bottle-blonde look stick?).
Whatever your take on the matter, the revival at least serves a good opportunity for Whedon and co to revisit the plot holes and mysteries that were left open-ended by the original series. The Scoobies were thorough, but not thorough enough to leave a bunch of blood-drenched stones unturned.
With the Buffy reboot officially on the cards, here are the major mysteries we want closure on when the new episodes roll around.
1. Out of sight, out of mind
Remember Marcie? Clea DuVall’s Sunnydale High Student who became invisible and proceeded to take out all of her teen angst bitterness on clique queen Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter)? If that’s a yes, you’ll also remember that the moment Buffy finally managed to capture her (with a well-positioned stage curtain), a couple of FBI agents came and whisked her off to a government training agency to learn about “Assassination and Infiltration” and all that jazz.
Despite the fact that this federal operative seemed like it was going somewhere and the huge potential it posed for future narratives, it was dropped and never spoken about again. Ironically, the title of the episode is “Out of Sight, Out of Mind”, presumably because that’s exactly what the Buffy writing team did with this totally open-ended episode.
2. Giles, you creep!
Did anyone else not find it completely inappropriate for Giles (Anthony Head), the school librarian, to be hanging about with a bunch of teenagers? Yes, he had adult love interests, and yes, he only wanted what was best for Buffy. But we’re still surprised that during those many years as the Watcher, he wasn’t called in to stand before the Teacher’s Council for his highly questionable extra-curricular activities.
It’ll be interesting to see how his character is handled in the reboot – because in the post-MeToo era we’re currently living in, that just won’t fly. Fictional or not.
3. One place fits all
“Into every generation a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one.” Cool concept, we’ll give it that. But what about the rest of the world? We get that Sunnydale is built on top of a Hellmouth and the Hellmouth is the source of all that is evil in the world – but as the series shows, Sunnydale isn’t the only town hit by the supernatural.
Perhaps the reboot might see Buffy venture outside of her Suburban trappings to offer up her services on a pro bono basis. Couldn’t hurt, right?
4. Take our breath away
This is a plot hole that has been plaguing Buffy fans since the birth of the Master – can those damn vampires breathe or not? In the season-one finale when the biggest of the Big Bads left Buffy knocking on death’s door, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Angel (David Boreanaz) came to her rescue. It’s at this point Angel revealed he couldn’t give bae mouth-to-mouth because vamps can’t breathe.
That we can deal with. But what we can’t deal with is he was quite literally out of breath as he told Xander this. It also doesn’t explain how or why Spike spent 50% of his screen time sucking on a cig. Eh?
Side rant: Remember the scene in which Spike strangled his blood-sucking girlfriend Drusilla (Juliet Landau)? Or when Spike was waterboarded by a Toruk-Han? Now try and argue vamps can’t breathe, Angel, you dum-dum.
5. Red pill, blue pill
Ah yes, one of the most debated theories of the Buffyverse – was Summers an ass-kicking demon slayer, or was she actually just suffering from a severe case of psychosis, as outlined in season 6 episode 17?
While the conclusion goes that it was in fact an illusion within an illusion (a la Inception) and Buffy was given an antidote to bring her back to reality, there are some who contend that it was a bit of a red pill, blue pill situation and Buffy chose to go with the fake reality. Or, as is likelier, the writers chose a smart moment for Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) to give her daughter a little pep talk from beyond the grave.
It remains a bit of a mystery and even Whedon himself said the ending’s open to interpretation. Whatever your take on the episode, it would make for an interesting trope for the reboot to revisit.
For the fans, a mind-bending journey that delved deeper into Buffy’s psyche would certainly not go amiss and perhaps it might finally resolve the whole “Is she, isn’t she batshit insane?” dilemma.
6. The Guardians of the Watchers
The penultimate episode of Buffy threw an absolute curveball in the shape of the Guardians – a group of powerful mystic women who just so happened to help the slayer from the sidelines while watching over the Shadow Men and the Watchers Council (the watchers of the Watchers, if you will). They also created the all-powerful scythe, hid it from the Shadow Men, and kept it secret in Sunnydale in the event of the apocalypse.
This is all well and good, except it felt a little rushed from the writers’ side to throw such a significant plot point in right at the end. Where were they when Buffy quite literally died in season one? Or during her apocalyptic battle against Glory?
One explanation contends it was nothing more than a fast and dirty way for Whedon to explain away his deus ex machina of the scythe. Another reckons Willow (Alyson Hannigan) was the next in line of the Guardians, as she momentarily resembled one (white hair and all) when she adopted the power of the scythe.
Either way, there are plenty of questions surrounding these characters that are hopefully answered by the reboot.
7. Mantis eggs, sunny side up
In the fourth episode of Buffy season one, “Teacher’s Pet”, the evil mantis lady kicked off the trend for demons getting the hots for Xander by taking on the form of a beautiful substitute teacher and quite literally date-raping him in order to lay her eggs and continue the lineage of giant, shape-shifting beasts.
Luckily, Buffy had a slayer-sized can of insect repellent to kill off the queen mantis, but that doesn’t explain what happened to her babies. Closer to the end of the episode we saw the eggs begin hatch, and then… nothing.
It could very well be that Buffy had some spray left in the can, but the writing team could have had the courtesy to put our active minds at rest by showing us.
8. The sequence of the slayers
In each generation, there can only be one Chosen One yada, yada, yada. Fine, cool. But the slayer lineage took a number of confusing turns throughout the episodes of Buffy, in part because everyone kept dying all the time.
When Buffy first bites the dust, Kendra’s (Bianca Lawson) power was activated. But Buffy came back to life and then there were two. Kendra died, so Faith (Eliza Dushku) was called in – despite the fact that Buffy was still kicking butt. Eh?
Of course, Willow went and messed up the sequence in the season finale by activating all the slayers at once – a mess the writing team are going to have to deal with when it comes to mapping out the new episodes. Better get the mop out.
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