Willows character then goes further off the rails: when Tara is shot (and dies), causing Willows “cold turkey” to come to an abrupt end. As such, Willow hits the dark magic’s again, and attempts to bring Tara back (even though Tara had earlier said that “magic can’t be used to alter the natural order of things”).
Evil Willow – With Red Eyes – Starting to “go off” the rails
This is proven to be so, as Willows magic is prevented from working: Tara died a human death (through human causes), and everything is as it “should be”. Having lost control of her emotions, Willow decides to seek revenge on the humans she holds responsible for Tara’s death: Andrew, Jonathan and Warren (all old school acquaintances – that just so happen to have been running a “crime gang” together).
It is at this time (whilst having a hard time dealing with her emotions) that Willow realises how to turn Amy back from being a rat (by using a “Reveal It” spell). For a time, Willow has a new friend to practice magic with, who unlike Tara, does not have any morality concerns regarding magic (and its use).
Darker Willow – Smiling (with the “fun” in magic)
Amy helps lead Willow along a forbidden path: using magic for fun/pleasure. When this does not prove to be enough (for Willow), Amy introduces Willow to Rack (a warlock), who helps her experiment with black/dangerous magic: eventually resulting in Willow summoning a demon. Shortly after, things come to a head when Willow nearly kills Dawn (Buffy’s sister), and Willow is forced to admit that she needs help with her addiction to magic. It is here that we find the concept of a “spring clean“, when Buffy and Dawn help Willow remove all magical items from Buffy’s house (such as candles, charms and crystals), thereby removing temptation (so that Willow stands a better chance of going “cold turkey”). For a while, the tougher approach works, and “old reliable/nerdy” Willow is back (e.g. using computers for research).
Shortly after, Willows character changes as she starts to use magic for non-essential purposes. For example: Willow conjures up confetti to decorate Buffy’s house with (after Anya and Xander announce their engagement), raising concern from both Giles and Tara (as she could have just gone to the local store to purchase some).
Darker Willow – My magic couldn’t harm a fly!
Willows character then undergoes a more serious change, as she starts to use magic to make things the way she wants them to be (without regard for others). For example: Willow deliberately casts a spell on Tara to make her forget about an argument that they have had (ironically over Willow using too much magic). When Tara discovers the truth, she gives Willow a stern warning that “you know how powerful/dangerous magic is” and that “too many spells is not good for you Willow”, eventually leading to Willow agreeing to go “cold turkey” for a week (i.e. not cast any spells). Unfortunately, Willow is so addicted to magic, that she casts a spell almost immediately, and when Tara finds out, she leaves Willow.
Willows character then starts to go off the rails – for two specific reasons. First: she starts to make use of darker magic (instead of just lighter/safer magic). Second: she starts to make use of too much magic (instead of accomplishing some tasks naturally). Initially, Willow has no choice but to play with darker magic, when she undertakes a “Resurrection Spell“, with the aim of bringing Buffy back from the mystical death that she suffered (after defeating Glory).
Darker Willow – At an early stage of the Resurrection Spell – With “sacrificed blood” upon her face
The spell involves Willow speaking several incantations, together with: using blood from a sacrifice (within a specific urn), enduring several tests (cuts, lumps, a snake emerging from her throat) and powerful red fires engulfing Willow (whilst she casts the spell). Willow eventually succeeds in resurrecting Buffy, although she is a “little drained” afterwards (and as such, is unable to cast any spells – for a while).
When it comes to a Willow who is both “helpful”, and is regarded by her friends as a “powerful witch” – these are my favourite seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Best season to watch for “Powerful Willow” – the “Scoobie Gang Witch” – Buffy Season Five
At this time, I feel that Willows character is akin to a Willow Tree, that appears to be strong; yet unbeknown to her (and her friends), decided to grow it’s roots in “sand stone“. At the core of the tree, there is no denying that her witchcraft is helpful to Buffy (especially when it comes to her encounters with Glory). Yet at the leaves of the tree, does Willow appear to have gained a reputation for “spells going wrong” (especially in the eyes of Giles and Anya). This is a fact that is overlooked, by various members of the scoobie gang, depending upon “which way the wind is blowing”. For example, Buffy seems not to notice/care whether Willows spells can go wrong; whilst Giles and Anya are “more than happy” to go along with – when their “lives are on the line”. Yet, at the base of the tree, does the “sand stone” make it’s presence known – for Willow is too emotional. From a distance, does there appear to be strength in both Willows character, and her emotions; yet at close range, do we start to realise that Willow is only strong because of Tara. This is first evidence when Glory (temporarily) destroys Tara’s mind – as Willow reacts like most lovers would (by lashing out); but with a complete lack of morals, decides to “lash out”, by resorting to Black Magic! It is here that I started to wonder about “two things”. The first: how did a “computer nerd” that always “followed the rules” even consider going against the Wiccan Rede? The second: if Buffy had never encountered Glory (or Glory had just been, lets say, a simple vampire); would Willows character have wanted/needed to experiment with spells, that continued to grow in power so much? My answer to both questions is essentially “the same” – it’s much more fun to be “yourself”; and like many of us, we may have (at least for a time), forgotten exactly who our “authentic self” is! In Willows case, she liked to learn, and as “knowledge is power”, so is her witchcraft 🙂
Later (despite Willows failed assault on Glory), Willows magic still continues to prove its worth: being able to temporarily freeze Glory, being able to throw Glory (backwards), being able to raise a “force field” (to help protect the scoobie gang) and being able to re-power a telephone (so that Buffy can call for medical assistance). Willows growing ability/willingness to undertake dangerous spells is again illustrated when she later assists Buffy (who has suffered from a “mental shut-down”).
Willow – in deep Meditation (within the Depths of Buffy’s Mind)
After arranging several candles, Willow starts to mediate, entering a trance which allows her to navigate through Buffy’s memories, eventually “snapping her out of it”. Again, this (necessary) spell raises concern from Giles, who regards the spell as “extraordinarily advanced”. Willow then takes her powers a stage further, when she enters Glory’s mind, in a bid to regain Tara’s mind (and disorientate Glory). Doing so involves Willow placing a hand on both Glory’s and Tara’s heads, then channelling explosive blue energies between herself and them (until her spell completes). Later, we also learn that Willow has gained the ability of telepathy (when she speaks with Spike, through his and her minds).
It is not until Buffy starts to battle Glory (a hell god who has been banished to Earth) that we realise just how powerful Willow is becoming. This is first evidenced when Willow (with the help of Tara and some magic dust) casts a “Teleportation Spell” on Glory: to remove her from a fight that Buffy was losing. In doing so, Willow again encounters concern from Giles, who advises her that the spell was “dangerous for an adept at your level Willow”.
Willow – with Darkest Magick and “revenge intent” Black Eyes
Further evidence of Willows growing power (and lack of emotional control) occurs after Glory destroys Tara’s mind. Willow seeks revenge, and after reading a book on “Darkest Magick“, goes knocking on Glory’s door. It is here that we first encounter the darker side to Willows character, as she uses black magic to cause Glory pain: Willow freezes Glory, then lashes out with powerful blue lightening. Willow also makes use of several other nasty spells in her assault against Glory: throwing of shards from a shattered mirror, throwing of a bag of knives and summoning of a serpent. Unfortunately, none of this has any lasting affect on Glory (as she’s a god), and Buffy has to intervene to rescue Willow (as Willow has tired herself out).