View Full Version : How Should the Writers "Healed" Willow in S7?

24-08-13, 12:19 AM
So, Willow had lots of iss-yews </Giles voice> by the end of S6? What would be your favorite relationship/method/story by which Willow comes to a better place at the end of the season?

I get that the choices are kind of daft and open. This is meant more to provide discussion than to narrowly poll. To assess based on Willow's needs and the needs of season and people's own personal focuses, what would be the best relationship dynamic and story to work through Willow's issues.

24-08-13, 01:08 AM
Through a healing of her friendships with Xander primarily and to a lesser extent, Giles and Buffy. Rather than introducing a new love interest for Willow and yet another unnecessary (obnoxious) character, S7 should have focused on the existing characters and wrapped up their stories. Instead of refining and polishing the show, Joss decided to 'think big' in S7 and that was a mistake.

There was no need for Willow to have a romantic relationship in my opinion. No lesbian love interest was ever likely to top Tara within the space of one season, so why bother? Just like Buffy doesn't need a man to define her, Willow doesn't need a woman to define her either. She's not just a lesbian (or bisexual if you accept the commonly held bi-erasure theory concerning Willow's character) she's a person.

24-08-13, 01:51 AM
I don't connect well with Willow past S6 but I think that she was healed in a significant way by Buffy as was. I think Same Time Same Place was huge in that sense and although it wasn't evidenced continuously as a major plot between the two throughout the season, and although she/Buffy had some moments where they weren't fine tuned to each other, Willow's presence in the team and in the house is her being accepted despite her actions of S6. Buffy doing just that is a massive thing and she was lucky to be loved to that degree and trusted to come back to herself and the group.

I can't stand Kennedy, I thought her and Willow weren't well matched and had no chemistry on screen and I don't like the whole empowerment spell/white hair fandango where Willow's story went. But in terms of how she got 'better' in S7, that Willow was let through the front door again is the thing, the rest she had to do/figure out for herself to a great degree and was fortunate to be able to go home to them all to do so.

24-08-13, 04:31 AM
I guess the wording of the poll has me wondering 'healing from what?'

The prison option makes it sound like the 'healing' is from going dark. I say that because prison is rarely the suggested healing from grief.

There are two issues here (to me). One needs healing the other needs character growth. The healing is for grief. Willow lost someone she loved. That's awful. That's terrible. It's painful and sad. And in the end the only options are distraction and time. It takes time to recover from grief.

The second issue is behavioral. It's how Willow handles issues that are beyond her control. It's a sympathetic thing to want to control her circumstances when things feel out of her control, but with magic, taking control of an out of control situation can become too literal. Basically, Tara's death didn't create but rather triggered (and amplified) Willow's pre-existing tendency to use magic to seize control when she feels out of control over something (also exemplified in when she mindwiped Tara, did the spell in Something Blue, and even in Buffy's resurrection.) I don't know that this coping mechanism needs healing per se, but it need self awareness. She needs to learn coping mechanisms that will work without her resorting to magical trumping to control what cannot/should not be controlled.

I don't know that a new relationship necessarily heals grief. It can focus ones energy in a new direction but... grief only heals in its time. And I don't know that I consider the character growth and maturity of learning improved coping methods is healing (though I suppose it could be in a certain theraputic psychological sense.)

It's just that when I think of healing for Willow in 7, I'm not considering to be about what she did. Darth Willow had to be addressed, but it's a matter of maturation. What needed healing was loss and grief and that takes time.

24-08-13, 10:53 AM
I must say I took it to be healing from all the events of S6 emotionally.

Firstly with Tara she probably still had some of her grief to get through and although I don't think you can be healed of grief a new relationship could help you feel a sense of being able to move forward beyond it, even if you aren't really ready to fully at that point.

Her control issues which fed the dark!Willow events sure are behavioural but her response to her actions will include how she emotionally deals with what she did. So there is not only a sense of how she moves forward in dealing with her issues practically but also moving through and understanding how she and others feel about her actions.

So although 'healing' is probably not the most accurate wording to encompass all of those issues I thought it was really considering them all and how she positively moved forward from them during S7 with residual grief and personal growth. Having a place where you are supported and accepted is I think the best thing to help with all of that and imo Willow was shown she had that in spades just by being brought back despite any reservations.

Sosa lola
24-08-13, 03:25 PM
I would have loved to see a Willow/Dawn healing storyline. Dawn was the one against Willow coming back so soon and didn't seem to trust her upon her return. She'll take it upon herself to help Willow cope and heal so that she won't turn dark again and through that she will grow to trust her again. Willow doesn't need a new girlfriend and to be honest, BtVS could use more friendship storylines in those last two seasons. Too much attention is given to relationship and nothing to friendships.

Local Maximum
24-08-13, 07:02 PM
I don't want to wade too deeply into this, because my current mission with at least the televised seasons is to appreciate what's there rather than wish for 'druthers. I think the way in which a relationship with Kennedy helps is for two reasons: one is helping Willow, the other helping to demonstrate ways in which Willow has learned from her experience.

A big, big part of her s6 blowout and a big reason Willow went to such dark places is that she never believed herself capable of living with pain and loss, and, more generally, couldn't believe that the world could be a worthwhile place if there is a sufficiently big loss. The big turning point emotionally in s6 is ultimately learning that she can survive losing Tara permanently forever. That doesn't happen until she breaks down crying with Xander, but it did happen. After that, she mainly expected initially that Giles would kill her for what she had done before she realized it was possible to go on actually living in a Taraless world, and she has to deal with the guilt over what she has done, and the knowledge of what she is capable of when she gives into despair and/or acts to try to prevent herself from feeling pain. One thing that I think Kennedy helps with is the realization that there are always more chances at happiness, intimacy, etc., and that each time doesn't have to be "the last time." From a personal perspective, the first three or so relationships I had, I literally did think each time that I would never ever have another relationship afterward, and so while there were no bullets (and so no flaying afterward), a big part of the loss is the belief that what's been lost is not just the individual relationship or the individual person, but the possibility of what that relationship represented. With Kennedy, I think Willow genuinely gets a relationship that is nice and helpful, but which is not taken by either of them to be the relationship that will define themselves and define meaning in the world.

That Willow will also risk her relationship with Kennedy and accept the possibility of it ending -- e.g. accepting that they might be permanently broken up at the end of "Get it Done" -- is both consistent with her newfound realization that Life Goes On as well as Kennedy being a less intense, all-encompassing relationship, and helps to demonstrate that Willow is able to roll with losses at least a little better, having a better idea of what happens when she lets herself give in to despair.

Now, what I really would have liked is to focus on Willow's friendships. Buffy, Xander, Giles, Dawn. Anya, too -- I love mostly all Willow/Anya scenes, and I think Willow's changed perspective on Anya in early season seven, in "Same Time Same Place" and "Selfless," again helps with Willow's growth as well as helps with self-forgiveness. But even more, yeah, she needed to find a place to get comfortable with herself and her close friends, Xander especially but all of them, would really have helped with that. At the same time, I also kind of see the converse, which season eight also suggests, that sometimes a person has to go away from the people who know one a certain way to find a new way of being. So, I dunno. I feel better about the Willow/Buffy rift that is still there in season seven after season eight acknowledged and elaborated on it in interesting ways (though season nine dropped the ball on that, at least from the Buffy end of things, as it did on almost all Buffy-related things and many Willow-related things and things related to other characters).

Anyway, I think that healing from Tara's death and dealing with the Darth Rosenberg blowout (and other ethical failures in season six) are interrelated, because the latter was pretty closely related to the former. For both, I think Willow needs to know that it's possible to be happy with herself and to forgive herself even if the person on whom she had hung her hopes for happiness is gone. And I think she needs to recognize that Tara's loss really is a big deal, really is major, but that it also doesn't have to define her, and that she doesn't have to feel guilty for having a life even if Tara's gone. Believe that there are more chances for good in the world. I don't know how to demonstrate that well, and am not a writer. I think season seven did okay on those fronts, and though I imagine that it could have done much better I'm mostly okay with what we got.

25-08-13, 12:56 PM
I liked how it was done in the show.

Willow was superpowerful and could be a great force for good in the world. And that's what she became.

If anything, I still reason they should have had Willow simply do a Big Ball of Sunlight spell and have her kill all the Turok-han. Buffy and Co. could have simply been fighting the Turok-han trying to escape the sunlight or sun beams.

25-08-13, 08:12 PM
I voted "other", so I think I should explain.

To me, the way to heal would be to gain and accept forgiveness and love from all the people that she loves. So to speak, to find back her place among the Scoobies, and that includes making peace with herself.

17-10-18, 09:26 PM
All caught up.

All said regarding writers, producers, actors, directors, viewers, readers, etc. are what I remember, my opinions, etc.

* The choices seem to assume that Willow went through the ‘rehabilitation’ thing with Giles and returned in “Same Time, Same Place” (B 7.03) as she did in BtVS S7.

While it also seems to assume that Willow gets with Kennedy, I’m not going to be as wedded to that.

Given the above, the idea of Willow’s “going to prison a la Faith” is beyond ludicrous. Willow was needed in the Scooby Gang and she’s very useful in BtVS S8. How is Willow’s going to prison for over 3 years going to help her and/or help the world? Without Willow, the First Evil likely wouldn’t have been defeated and Buffy may have died in either BtVS S7 or BtVS S8.

* Angel in BtVS S3 suffers almost no consequences for his BtVS S2 actions.

Spike suffered consequences in BtVS S3 because he helped Buffy save the world. Spike suffered no consequences for getting the Judge together.

Willow simply wanted to kill the Trio. Giles is largely responsible for Willow’s being a world-ending threat. Why shouldn’t Willow have been ‘healed’ by the end of BtVS S7?

It’s one thing to object to Willow’s being rewarded for her Dark Willow actions by becoming a ‘goddess’ by the end of “Chosen” (B 7.22), but if Angel and Spike are ‘forgiven’ and get to ‘move past’ things, why can’t Willow?


* Willow’s been closer to Buffy than Willow is to Xander since sometime in BtVS S1 (maybe outside of when Willow is having an affair with Xander in BtVS S3).

Why would Willow ‘heal’ through her friendship with Xander more than Willow would ‘heal’ through her friendship with Buffy?

* Buffy was able to ‘move on’ from Angel. Why shouldn’t Willow be able to ‘move on’ from Tara? And it took longer for Willow to ‘move on’ from Tara.

Spike dated Harmony after Drusilla dumped him and eventually Spike gets with Buffy.

Willow shouldn’t have to be celibate to ‘honor’ Tara or whatever. It doesn’t matter if Willow couldn’t love someone as much as she loved Tara, Willow could still date again after Tara’s death.



The poll shows you favor/ed Willow “going to prison a la Faith”. Yet you seem fine with how the Angel situation was handled after BtVS 8.40.

I wonder if your regard for Willow has changed since your last post in this thread.

I maintain that Willow should have kept the Seedling inside her.


* Willow went to ‘rehab’ after “Grave” (B 6.22) and she wasn’t using magic to try to ‘control things’ in BtVS S7 or after. Even in post-BtVS S8, Willow’s obsession with magic is its usefulness to make the various dimensions better.

Sosa lola

* I don’t see how Dawn could better heal Willow than any of the following: Buffy, Xander, Spike, Kennedy, and maybe Giles.

Local Maximum

* Willow lived with pain and loss before becoming a powerful witch. Willow’s magic simply gave Willow the opportunity to try to relatively easily and/or quickly make her feel better.

Buffy’s death is a “sufficiently big loss” and a big reason Willow wanted Buffy back is because the Scoobies weren’t doing relatively well patrolling. And the Scoobies weren’t great emotionally, which hindered their ‘protecting the world from the forces of evil’ performance.

Willow by the time of Tara’s death considered she had the power to bring Tara back to life. Willow did bring Buffy back to life.

If Buffy in BtVS S5 had the power to cure Joyce’s cancer or bring a non-zombie Joyce back to life, Buffy would do that.

I don’t even consider Spike’s trying to kill Angel to save Drusilla is particularly evil.

* I consider Willow would have gotten solace by killing Jonathan and Andrew. But the Scoobies made her believe that killing Warren Meers was a bad thing. And Willow suffered for that in BtVS S7 and BtVS S8.

Notably, Angel over in AtS is never made to feel bad that he tried to murder Wesley.

* BtVS S6 for Willow is largely about acceptance from the Scoobies and learning to embrace her magic again rather than fear her magic.

* BtVS S8 and BtVS S9 for Willow is largely about Willow’s love of magic and power versus Willow’s love of Buffy. And at the end, it’s an open question which Willow loves more.

* Kennedy is simply never as important to Willow as Tara was and later the Saga Vasuki is.

17-10-18, 10:29 PM
The poll shows you favor/ed Willow “going to prison a la Faith”. Yet you seem fine with how the Angel situation was handled after BtVS 8.40.

I wonder if your regard for Willow has changed since your last post in this thread.

Nope I voted for 'Other', the option below the a la Faith one.

Thanks for linking to the post, that helps (especially when you're jumping us back five years! :o), and I stand by what I said in the thread, that Willow being accepted back despite reservations, being shown that she was loved and supported, was the best way for her to heal. A great deal of that is down to Buffy. I love STSP and the connection between them at the end, sharing power like that, I think it's really significant and what Willow needs to be able to move forwards. But there is a lot for her to work through with her grief too. Forgiveness is significant though and something that a lot of characters benefit from through the seasons. Getting the opportunity to be able to move forward and strive to improve themselves. We saw it with Willow, Buffy herself, Faith, Spike, Angel, Giles, Anya, Wes etc