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).
When it comes to a Willow that both radiates on-screen Power, and that makes you want to don your “knee-high thigh length boots” (that just ooze Sex Appeal) – then there’s really no better season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, than Buffy Season Six:
Best season to watch for “Darker Evil Willow” – the “Black in Witch” – Buffy Season Six
Here do I find that Willows character is akin to a Willow Tree, that just happens to be at the edge of some “Mighty Chasm”. The Chasm is Witchcraft, and it’s “gravity” is her Quest for Power. Yet, this is no ordinary Chasm – for Willow adds two further ingredients. The first ingredient is added knowingly: her desire to “jump” into the Chasm, which comes from her desire to learn. The second ingredient is added unknowingly: her emotional state continues to fluctuate – and she has no choice, but to careen down the sides, with a great big grin on her lips! It’s a Power thing 🙂 The roots of her Quest for Power, are found in the very first episode (of season six) – where she brings Buffy back “from beyond the Grave”. It’s Willows “single minded” determination that she’s her resurrect Buffy, even when the rest of the Scoobie Gang, appear to have “changed their minds”. It’s her “single mindedness”, that sees Willow using magic more than she should, even when the Scoobie Gang voice their concerns. It’s the magic that begins to dominate Willow, even ignoring the advice of Tara – wanting to change things, “just the way” she wants them to be. It’s the darker magic that seeds itself in Willow, which along with her “revealed” friend Amy – is just “much more fun”. Yet, are we really to be surprised? For there’s a saying: Power Corrupts. And in Willow’s case, does Power not only Corrupt – for she becomes like a Sun, that radiates her “Sense of Self”, through both her friendships, and her willingness to help Buffy. Whilst Buffy seems to have “lost the plot” (such as her relationship with Spike), Willow knows exactly what she wants: More Power! It radiates through her Being. It radiates through her Soul. It radiates through her Spirit. It may be rooted in Darkness, but Willow doesn’t care! For a time: she Eclipses Buffy. It’s roots lie not in Jealousy. It’s vines lie not in Friendship. It’s leaves lie not in Morality. For it’s Revenge – a dish that’s best served Cold. And Willow, is “best equipped” to serve that dish: an Emotional Wreck, Lost in Space, no need for Friends, just “Two to Go”.
With Willows thoughts being beyond all logic/reason, Willow fights Buffy: eventually rendering Buffy unconscious (by hitting her with some powerful blue lightening). Fate then intervenes – as Giles returns, leading to a magical duel between himself and Willow: he blasts her across the room, he commands her to stay down and he binds her in a stasis field (to prevent her from causing further harm).
Evil Willow – Smiling – With a red Fireball in her Hands
Unfortunately, Evil Willow is too powerful to be defeated so easily: she’s able to use mind control (on Anya) to help free herself from the stasis field. The magical duel then resumes, with Willow eventually defeating Giles and absorbing all his powers (which he borrowed from a coven). In doing so, Willow becomes more powerful, which combined with her emotional state, leads her to conclude that: the whole world is suffering emotional pain (and that it must be stopped). Thus, she decides to destroy the world (even though this goes against everything that Tara stood for). Fortunately, Willow has managed to overlook one emotion: love. And it is love that finally defeats her: when Xander tells her he loves her (as a friend).
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.
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 🙂