So what’s next after finally getting some well-deserved recognition at your high school prom and starting to feel like you really are making a difference in the world?
The answer is easy: the rug is about to get pulled out from underneath you.
The only certainty in this life is that life will not stay the same for long. Imagine that one perfect moment at the prom where Buffy gets everything that we want her to have: she saved her fellow students, made it to the dance on time, gets to see her friends happy, gets an award and gets that last dance with her guy. That is far too much perfection for one person to possibly have. What happens next should be of no surprise to the Chosen One who is destined to walk alone.
Angel is gone. Somehow Buffy and Angel have learned to collaborate and coexist without trying to hump or kill each other. But he’s got his own show and he’s leaving Sunnydale. Still, he shows up like some hero to give her that perfect prom moment. Which is made more perfect when he says that him showing up doesn’t change anything, he’s still leaving. Well that DOES make it perfect then, thanks for jerking us around.
College is big. Buffy starts at UC Sunnydale and is completely overwhelmed. She’s lost, in more ways than one. How is she supposed to know what classes to take, how to get around, what parties to attend? She goes from being the unnamed hero, to Class Protector to basic nobody. She is no longer a big fish in a little pond. We watch Buffy have to start all over again like we saw in her first days in high school. It’s unnerving to see her confidence so shaken. Buck up Buff.
Willow is cool. For those that weren’t part of the cool clique in high school, college is liberating. Willow totally thrives. Buffy struggles to see Willow starting to take control of her own life. Willow has the boyfriend with the connections. Willow loves class. Willow joins clubs. She’s got the whole college scene down. And don’t we hate people who have it down when we don’t?
Giles is idle. No longer a librarian or a watcher, he says that he enjoys the life of leisure but it is quite obvious that he is drifting. Giles has lost his mojo. And in his pitied state he abandons our hero. He says that his actions will force her to be a grown up and take care of her own problems, and maybe that is part of it. The other part is that he just plain feels sorry for himself.
Vampires are still here. Buffy’s first nemesis on the college campus is a vampire named Sunday; who is awesome BTW. During their first encounter, a mentally beat down Buffy gets her ass served. WHO IS THIS GIRL? How can the slayer so easily forget who she is, what she is? Sunday raids Buffy’s room trying to play it off as if Buffy, overwhelmed by college, has run away. And instead of getting angry she gets mopey. WTF?
Buffy gets kicked around those first days in college, by vampires, by students, by teachers and by her inner demons. But it’s that last fight with Sunday – being taunted and seeing her prized Class Protector award broken – that reminds Buffy that while her circumstances have changed, she is still the Chosen One, the slayer.
Change is inevitable. We should stop trying so hard to fight it. Embrace it. Roll with it. Change can be tough but in the end if we aren’t changing, we’re dying.