Dawn (not) the Vampire Slayer

Season 3 DVD

When I read the promo for this week's episode of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, it said "Buffy conscripts Spike into training the proto-slayers, while Willow casts a spell and finds an unexpected potential slayer living in Sunnydale."

I said to myself "everybody will think it's Dawn. So it won't be Dawn. That's too obvious". Not to mention that most viewers, although they like Dawn, don't see her as slayer material.

Then the episode progresses, and the light from Willow's spell hits Dawn, and everybody thinks she's a proto-slayer... until it turns out that the *real* proto-slayer was standing behind Dawn at the door. And, I have to tell you, I bought it, hook line and sinker. I thought they were going to make Dawn a proto-slayer, and I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Good writing, that.

The episode's best moment, though, is Xander's sympathetic speech to Dawn when she's all down after having it proved that she's nothing special. Erin and I have been watching the third season DVD of Buffy and were especially impressed by the episode titled The Zeppo. There, Xander faces a crisis of confidence as he feels that he has nothing special to offer the Scooby Gang and, despite it all, manages to save Sunnydale High from being blown up.

The pep-talk he gave Dawn was absolutely marvelous, both for the way it was written, and also as a wonderful tip of the hat to Xander's early years. The characterization that was shown in this scene, for Dawn and for Xander, was among the best shown this season so far.

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