“I hate history. Not the subject – I always loved it in school: The French – Indian war, the Medicis, 1066 and all that… History is all romantic adventure stories. Until you live it. Until you live long enough to be a part of it.” – Dark Willow
The conclusion to this epic crossover opens with Dark Willow. She’s at Melaka’s apartment, pondering over history and her distaste at her place in it. Buffy is unconscious and tied to a chair. Willow examines her, “I’d forgotten her excellent nose.” She says. Melaka and Erin are keen to know what their plan is. Mel assures Dark Willow that she will not kill a Slayer. Willow tells her that they don’t have to kill Buffy.
Dark Willow: You just have to keep her here. The temporal rift will open again tonight and I expect… I remember… there will be an extraction attempt.
Erin asks why they don’t just send Buffy back if she’s so much trouble. Dark Willow has convinced Melaka that Buffy’s return will have dire consequences for them.
Melaka: She’ll end the world. She’ll change the future, now she’s ocked it. No more now. No more us. She goes back and a tick past midnight, we’re all what coulda been.
Buffy wakes up and is startled by Dark Willow’s presence in the future.
Buffy: Oh My God! You went dark again? You are in huge trouble for going dark. How could you even—is Kennedy Okay?
Dark Willow: It’s been two hundred years, Buffy. How do you think she is?
Buffy briskly moves on and demands to know why she’s shackled to a chair, why Willow’s gone dark again and why no one is on her side? Before Dark Willow can respond, Harth crashes the party. He has a band of Lurks by his side and a few questions of his own…
Harth: First, how come all my friends are having a party without me? Second, what has that witch been telling you?
Willow is unsettled by Harths interruption. She tells him that he should’ve been patient. Buffy demands to be untied. Harth calls Dark Willow out on her lies. She’s told him that Buffy’s arrival would cause their world to come into being. But she’s told Mel the opposite. She’s clearly been lying to someone. “Yes, well, I’m dark that way.” She says. Harth and Mel both want to know why?
Dark Willow: Death, of course.
Dark Willow: You see what I’ve seen, you come and go as I have… you realise the most important thing about death isn’t who dies… It’s who kills them.
Mel repeats that she will not kill a Slayer. Dark Willow still maintains that she will cease to be if she doesn’t. Mel calls her a liar. Willow admits that she’s lying to someone, but asks if she’s willing to bet her world on who? Harth offers a solution. He threatens to kill everyone. Dark Willow tells him that it is not his night. Harth decides he’s had enough of Dark Willows unreliable prophecies. He tells her she’s not powerful enough to stop his army. Gunther comes to the rescue, guns blazing. He’s in a flying space craft with a built-in water tank and missiles aplenty.
Buffy breaks free thanks to the help of Mel’s spider-monkey. She punches Erin for calling her Puffy earlier. Feeling betrayed, she tells Mel she’s leaving and that she doesn’t care about her world. She has to save her own. Dark Willow stands in her way and tells her she’s not done here yet.
Meanwhile, in present day Scotland, Xander and Dawn are prepared to battle the army of snake demons that invaded the castle. They are vastly outnumbered. Until a squad of Slayers and Wiccans arrive from the castle and begin kicking ass.
In Haddyn, Buffy has made a run for it. She’s making her way to the extraction site. She doesn’t know how long she’s been unconscious, but she’s hoping she’s not too late for the temporal slip to open. When she reaches the rooftop where the mojo is due to go down. Mel is waiting for her. She tells Buffy that she can’t let her go.
Buffy: Didn’t you listen to Willow? “It’s who kills you.” Pitting us against each other is her idea of game night. We are the scattergories of evil.
Melaka: Can you swear my world won’t mist out if you leave? My best bonds? My sister?
Buffy: You know I can’t.
The pair begin to duel. Dark Willow watches from the side-lines. Buffy eventually bests Mel. She has something that Fray doesn’t. Her link to her Slayer lineage. She’s dreamed every battle a Slayer has ever fought.
Meanwhile, in present day villain HQ, Twilight is commiserating with Warren and Amy over their failed attack on the castle. Warren and Amy are bickering over whose fault it is, while Twilight confers with a new recruit in the shadows. He’s revealed to be none other than, Riley Finn.
Riley: I tell her I’m her inside man. Her ever faithful. She’s so stuck in the past, man… when we had our secret meeting in New York… She even got dressed up.
Elsewhere, Willow and Kennedy are preparing to open the temporal rift. Kennedy is blind folding Willow. She doesn’t want to see any spoilers from the future. The rift begins to open. In the future, Buffy runs towards it. Mel tries to stop her, but Buffy knocks her out. Dark Willow teleports in front of the portal, blocking Buffy’s path. Buffy warns her that she’ll go through her. Dark Willow says she’ll have to. Buffy asks why?
Dark Willow: Maybe I think the 20th century can soldier on just fine without you.
Buffy: I’m cute and blonde and popular but I’m not stupid, Will. You dragged me here and then told me exactly how to get out. Everything, every lie, to get us here. Why? What happened? Why does it have to be me?
Dark Willow: It’s a long story.
Unfortunately, Buffy doesn’t have time for a long story. She kills Dark Willow with her Scythe. Melaka runs towards Buffy. Present day Willow reaches through the portal and grabs Buffy before it closes. Finally, back in her own time, Buffy rushes towards Willow and hugs her tightly. She’s crying.
Buffy: I love you, Will.
Kennedy: I’m watching those hands, you two…
In the future, Erin has caught up to Mel. She tells her that Gunther has beaten Harth back, for now. Mel says that she has failed. But Erin points out that they are still here. Their world hasn’t blipped out.
Melaka: What does that mean?
Erin: Means it’s a good day.
The Watchers Files
Let me start with WOW! WTF? Did Buffy really just kill Willow??? Okay, so it may have been Evil-Potential-Future-Dark-Willow, but still… the betrayal, the drama, the epic-ness of this epic conclusion. Why? What does it all mean? Why did Willow go dark again? And Why did she want Buffy to be removed from the timeline and slayed by Fray? So many questions! Fear not my fellow Scoobies, answers you shall have… eventually. Stay tuned.
Adding to the intrigue is the addition of Riley Finn. Is he working for Twilight or Buffy? Again, all shall be revealed in good time.
This issue also made me LOL twice:
The first was when Dark Willow says that she’d forgotten Buffy’s excellent nose. SMG has an incredible and unique nose. You’ll be even more aware of this, if you’ve ever tried sketching her.
The second was after Buffy kills Dark Willow and returns to the present timeline. Kennedy’s line “Im watching those hands, you two” as Buffy and Willow hug, undercuts the emotion of the scene with comedy in true Whedon fashion.
Time of Your Life was a great story arc, my only gripe is the amount of time we have to wait before we encounter Melaka Fray and her world again. It felt like a bit of a tease. Still, it all pays off in the end.
In 2010, the BTVS Season 8 Motion Comic debuted on iTunes & Amazon Video. The first 19 issues were released back to back on a weekly basis. The motion comic ended with Time Of Your Life, Part 4. It’s a shame that they didn’t at least finish out the Season. Unfortunately, no more have been released since. The incomplete series was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011. Personally, I prefer the actual comics. The voice cast on the motion series do an okay job, but I’d much rather read the comics and hear the original cast members in my head. Buffy’s amazing cast brought Whedon’s words to life perfectly. Their comedic timing, enunciation and whimsy simply could not be replaced. Even so, the series is a nice addition to any fans collection.
Buffy Speak of the Week
I loved Buffy and Melaka’s inner monologues as they faced each other in battle at the end of this issue. It gave a real insight into the psyche of each Slayer. I love me some quality Slayer fightin’ talk.
Buffy: She’s stronger than me. On her home turf. And she knows what she’s fighting for. But I’ve dreamed every battle a Slayer’s ever fought, and she hasn’t. I’m outgunned… But she’s outnumbered.
Melaka: Jesu! I’m such a needs! She’s got me scrambling! Like I’m fighting a history lesson! Stop awe-ing and finish it! She’s not some big head carved on Mount Walmore… She’s just a tiny, whiny, long-dead Slayer… in a damn impractical frock.
Slayer Rating: 5 X 5