Willow’s character then has to atone for what she has done. Firstly, she has to change her attitudes (and beliefs) towards magic. Secondly, she has to accept responsibility for the fact that she caused pain to her friends (and enemies). Thirdly, she has to face up to the fact that Tara is dead. Giles is able to help with the first of these: by taking Willow to a coven where she can work towards reconnecting with the “true essence of magic“. This is achieved by helping Willow connect with nature, and in doing so, become closer to “Mother Earth” (and all things good). Willow has a harder time dealing with the second: as she’s worried that the Scoobie Gang won’t want to know her (after what she did to them).
Willow’s Atonement – What if they won’t take me back?
Upon returning to Sunnydale, Willow does not have time to see whether or not she’s fully recovered, as her magic is required straight away: Willow casts her “Demonic Energy” locator spell (with assistance from Anya), involving candles and the scattering of powder on a map, to help her track down a demon (that’s been flaying its victims). The Scoobie Gang initially suspect that Willow may be responsible for the flaying (because that’s what she did to Warren), although Dawn eventually discovers another possibility: a demon. It is only after encountering this demon (and chatting with Anya), that the Scoobie Gang realise that something else is a foot: as Anya can see Willow, but the rest of the Scoobie Gang can’t. It turns out that Willow has not yet fully recovered: she was so afraid of her friends rejecting her, that she managed to subconsciously cast a spell, whereby they were unable to see each other. Once the spell is reversed, an important indication of friendship occurs: Buffy allows Willow to take energy from her, so that Willow may magically heal herself (from the injuries the demon inflicted).
To help exact her revenge, Willow decides she needs more power, and as such, heads straight for the local magic shop. Upon entering, it is obvious that Willow is not herself: her mere presence being enough to shatter several electrical lights; on her way to the shelves containing the “black arts books“.
Evil Willow – Rede like never before!
Willow then demonstrates a new approach to learning: when she proceeds to absorb their text (by “sucking” it out of the books and into herself). Although Willow has lost control of her emotions (running on pure grief/fury/rage), she has not yet lost her ability to help others: as she saves Buffy’s life by magically removing a bullet that would have killed her (as Warren initially shot Buffy). Despite this, Buffy refuses to help Willow destroy those responsible for Tara’s death (as the scoobie gang does not kill humans). This refusal is enough to serve as the final catalyst for Willows emotions: as she casts aside “old reliable/nerdy” Willow and becomes “Evil Willow” (with black eyes and dark veins across her face).
Willow starts to learn more about the divine, when Miss Calendar tells Willow that her “rose quartz necklace has healing powers”. Unfortunately, Angel (Buffy’s vampire boyfriend) reverts to his former evil ways and kills Miss Calendar. As a result, Willow is asked (by the school principal) to take over the responsibility of teaching her lessons.
Early Willow – Pencilled a Path with her new found interest!
Whilst going through Miss Calendar’s lesson plans, Willow discovers Miss Calendar’s files on “paganism and magic”, together with some related internet links. Willow is unable to resist starting to read them – and later tells Giles that she finds the files “really interesting”. Willow then has one of her first dabbles in witchcraft, when she makes some scapulars (i.e. protection charms) using sulphur, to help protect the scoobie gang from a couple of ghosts (that are haunting their school). Willow’s reading does not stop there, and she continues to read Miss Calendar’s files for educational (and fun) purposes.