** The following review while careful not to reveal any actual spoilers from this issue, it does tease the reader with hints as well as spoilers from issues past. Please feel free to purchase this issue on 06/13/2012 **
This whole series has been about three things so far this season, life “without” magic and the side-effects of such things, Spike’s dealing with his feelings on Buffy versus her feelings on him, and Buffy dealing with her failing pursuit of a normal life.
When Buffy destroyed the Seed and “ended magic” she assumed her life as the Slayer would become drastically downplayed to the point of hopeful nonexistence. What Buffy of course did not factor in is that she is much more than just the Slayer, she’s also a hero. The cost of being a hero is always sacrifice, the next step is to see how much you need to sacrifice, and the key to being happy is to not go over this amount or one tends to become a bit… emo.
Of course, the joke is as heroes often forget, this is not just the cost of heroism. This is the cost of living. The moment you feel that call to who you are, life begins taking things away from you.
As such, in season nine so far each character has been finding themselves dealing with this very ordeal.
Willow has sacrificed her time and the company of her friends to get back magic.
Spike is dealing with the heart wrenching decision of sacrificing the company of the woman he loves most in the hopes of salvaging a real future for them or even just himself.
Andrew sacrificed the trust of his friends trying to get back who he was in the eyes of himself and those very same friends.
Dawn and Xander are sacrificing their own normal life, and perhaps even their relationship if things can’t change doing the job the always did as they never had magic to wield in the first place.
Even Detective Dowling sacrificed his own partner and a part of himself no man can ever get back, just doing their jobs.
If Buffy can rest assured in one thing, it’s that she is not alone in her sacrifice. As she often forgets, she never is.
In this final issue of the arc Buffy is certainly not alone as she gets to spend some quality time with the person who knows her best, herself. Buffy and herself trade much needed verbal exchanges and probably less needed physical blows as things come to a head with dual Chosen Ones and Simone. As much as things come to a close in this arc, it is more about setting up the future.
Now that each character has seen what they have to sacrifice, they now need to make the changes to their own lives. By the end of this arc everything is ready to move on to the next level, for everyone. For some that is obvious, for others that remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, it will not be easy for any of them, but they all made their choices with full and knowing hearts. If Buffy could step back and notice, she’d see that in life there is nothing more normal and human than that. – N