The sixth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer remains the show's most divisive installment. The iconic supernatural series took a dark turn; many characters made unpopular decisions that soured their reputations, and the show displayed a new but familiar brand of villainy with the Trio. Some critics applauded Buffy for Season 6's darker direction, whilst others were repelled by the narrative choices.
Season 6 showed Buffy and the Scooby Gang embracing the frightening responsibilities of adulthood. There's a lot to love about this controversial season - and a lot to loathe too.
10 Best: Dark Willow
Dark Willow was the unexpected antagonist of Season 6 and one of the best Big Bads in the Buffyverse. Willow's descent into dark magic spanned gradually across the season, but it was the shocking death of her girlfriend Tara that truly pushed her over the edge.
Dark Willow was a terrifying but refreshing incarnation of Willow's character, and her gruesome revenge against Warren was a cathartic moment for the audience. In the end, it is Xander's love that brings Willow back from the brink, highlighting the strength of their friendship.
9 Worst: The Trio
The Trio managed to become the most loathsome villains in a series brimming with soulless vampires and evil demons. Despite being human, Warren, Andrew, and Johnathan committed some of the most unforgivable acts in the series, earning the ire of fans.
Most of their schemes against Buffy were more annoying than diabolical. Their unlikability grew as they escalated in villainy; Warren's scenes, in particular, were hard to stomach due to his character's frightening familiarity.
8 Best: More Human Problems For Buffy & The Scooby Gang
Buffy The Vampire Slayer addressed more complex and relatable human issues in Season 6 that showed a new side to each character. The Trio's motivations stemmed from human malice instead of supernatural evil, and Buffy faced new challenges as she struggled to support herself and Dawn financially.
The growth of the characters came into focus during the show's sixth season. The Scooby Gang weren't teenagers anymore; instead, they were facing the grim reality of adulthood.
7 Worst: Tara's Death
The murder of Tara remains one of the most shocking and heartbreaking deaths in the Buffyverse. After finally reuniting with Willow, Tara was suddenly shot and killed by Warren after the villain attempted to kill Buffy.
Tara's death enraged audiences due to her status as a prominent and popular LGBTQ character. Many were dismayed to see her death used to fuel the Dark Willow arc, and later rejected Willow's new romance with Kennedy in Season 7.
6 Best: Buffy Comes Back To Life
The fifth season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer concluded with the shocking death of the Slayer, who died to save her sister's life and prevent the apocalypse. Thankfully, Buffy came back to life for Season 6 after she was resurrected by Willow and the Scooby Gang.
Season 6 grappled with the ethics of Willow's decision to resurrect Buffy. The Slayer found peace in heaven and, although the show made a bold decision by killing and resurrecting Buffy, it addressed the issues it created.
5 Worst: Spike & Buffy's Relationship
Spike and Buffy remain one of the most popular Buffy pairings, though the toxic elements of their relationship were undeniable. The Slayer's dark romance with the chipped-vampire became more violent and problematic in Season 6, as Buffy struggled to cope with returning from death.
Buffy's romance with Spike in Season 6 was violent, hurting them both as much as it helped them. Their relationship was intricate and intense but likely wouldn't sit well with many viewers nowadays.
4 Best: "Once More With Feeling"
"Once More With Feeling" was one of the best Buffy episodes from the series. The musical episode saw the Scooby Gang express their inner feelings via several show-stopping musical numbers whilst under the influence of a demon.
The episode was praised by fans and critics due to its creativity. It delivered more of the show's trademark wit and humor and addressed the complicated changes in the characters' relationships with each other.
3 Worst: Giles Leaves Sunnydale
One of the most puzzling decisions from Season 6 of Buffy was Giles' choice to leave Sunnydale and abandon Buffy. The former Watcher gave a flimsy excuse about Buffy needing to face the responsibilities of adulthood, but it seemed like he was deserting the Slayer when she was most vulnerable.
Giles' decision appeared uncharacteristically selfish to many viewers. It made little sense for the Watcher to leave Buffy when she needed him the most, despite his excuses about having the Slayer's best interests at heart.
2 Best: A New Side To Buffy Summers
Fans saw a different side to the Slayer after she was violently resurrected by her friends in Season 6. Buffy faced a plethora of new problems, struggling with depression as she tried to readjust to life again and finding solace in the unlikely arms of Spike.
Buffy's arc in Season 6 was a brave new direction for her character. It highlighted how much she had grown from the teenage girl she was in Season 1, as well as dealing with the consequences of the characters' choices.
1 Worst: The Bathroom Scene
Spike and Buffy's confrontation from Season 6's "Seeing Red" remains one of the most controversial scenes from the series. Their dysfunctional relationship culminated with the vampire attempting to sexually assault a weakened Buffy. This was a step too far and many fans declared that Spike had crossed a limit he couldn't return from.
The contentious bathroom scene outraged audiences and actor James Marsten admitted that the sequence was harrowing to film. Although it motivated Spike's desire to reclaim his soul, it came at too steep a cost for many fans of the Buffyverse.
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