Last night was the Last Blue Buffy.
(You’ve seen Blue Buffy before in these entries, although not referenced as such.)
This is the end image from the opening sequence – for the first two seasons, during which Nerf Herder is playing the Buffy theme music – when the last power chord hits, Blue Buffy fills the screen.
In Season Three, the introduction changes, and a different Buffy becomes the finishing image – slightly yellow, although she still has some blue in her outfit. That’s the reason that the Last Blue Buffy is significant – because it means the season finale of Season Two.
The end of Season Two has always left me a bubbling, sobbing mass. It didn’t do that last night – it brought tears to my eyes, but I knew it was coming, so I was prepared. (okay – this is the eighth time I’ve watched the entire series. So I knew it was coming the previous six times, as well. Let’s just say I’m getting better). When Joss Whedon puts Buffy on a bus, and she leaves Sunnydale, I’m just no good for anything for a while.
Now, I’ve always just taken the sadness of the end of Season Two at face value. But last night, I think I found some connection – from Buffy on a bus to myself, and maybe a bit of an explanation why it hits me so hard.
At the end of Season Two, Buffy’s mother learns that she is the Slayer – and demands that she stop doing that. When Buffy goes back out the door to save the world – one more time – Joyce tells her not to come home. So, Buffy’s thrown out of the house.
When she gets to the school after this, looking for Giles, Principal Snyder tells her she’s expelled.
Giles then winds up tortured – because of Buffy’s mistake in being elsewhere. Then, Buffy kills Angel to save the world – right after Angel gets his soul back; so she has to do this to her sweetie. It’s all a little much. In fact, she pretty much loses everything.
None of these things ever happened to me. But, I did lose everything.
In April of 1983, my wife and children came to join me in Germany, where I was stationed. It wasn’t long before I realized that something was very wrong, and sometime in May, she took the boys back home to Alabama, divorced me, and married another man.
I didn’t see the boys for two more years. When they left, they were 2 and 3 years old, respectively.
My ideas of who I was – as a husband, as a father, as a provider – all fell away, and I became just a drunk. I spent the next two years trying to drink myself to death. I even failed at that.
Now, this turns out to have been the best thing that could have happened to me – but the pit of despair that I lived in for two years was awful. An Army chaplain came to see me and told me that I had suffered a trauma; looking back, I can see what he meant.
So I know what it’s like to be punched in the gut, and unable to fully inhale; to be staring out a window but not seeing what I’m looking at; to be so bereft that one doesn’t even know what to think about the things one is thinking about.
So when I see Buffy on that bus, I think I’m transported to some extent back to that period of emptiness. And I think that realizing that, when I last saw this episode, reduced the intensity of the experience for me.
Because, after all, it turned out all right in the long run 🙂