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Celebrating Buffy and Willow’s Complex Friendship

Celebrating Buffy and Willow’s Complex Friendship

While re-watching the particularly underrated Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Restless” in preparation for this year’s Galentine’s Day, I noticed something special about Willow and Buffy’s friendship. In this unorthodox season four finale, which picks up right after the gang saves the world from the government baddie Adam, the Scoobies are trapped in their dreams and must make their way through some legit subconscious leaps and bounds, courtesy of the first Slayer.

In Willow’s dream, Buffy is the only Scoobie to insist that Willow’s wearing a costume and hiding her true self. Who else would know her better than even she knows herself? Towards the end of the dream, Buffy rips off Will’s grown-up college student “facade,” finally revealing high school Willow in all her sweet, meek glory, nervously reading her book report of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in front of her friends and two loves. (Hello, random Oz and Tara fandom we didn’t know we needed!)

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That moment in “Restless” points to some major BFF goals. Buffy and Willow became exceptionally close in less than 12 episodes, and remained so for the entire series. During the high school years of the first three seasons, the two built their friendship on mutual admiration and respect after being labeled misfits of Sunnydale High. These seasons were lined with lots of girl talk in the bathrooms, venting about boys/vampires, researching demons in the library, and casting wacky new spells. You know, innocent teenage stuff. Oh–they also had that one sleepover in Buffy’s room with garlic braids, stakes, and crosses at the ready because evil Angelus broke into both of their rooms and killed Willow’s fish. Ovaries before brovaries, am I right?

Towards the end of high school and going into college in seasons three and four, Buffy and Willow were at peak friendship levels. Willow started to evolve into more than just a sidekick to Buffy’s superhero struggles, grabbing hold of her own sense of self while remaining vigilantly at Buffy’s side for most of these coming-of-age episodes. From graduation to the government work, what didn’t kill them made them stronger. Their college gal pal moments included picking out courses in the graveyard and alternating slayage with study sessions. Some of their most heartbreaking hugs were also shared during these two seasons, particularly when Buffy broke down and confessed to killing a man with Faith in season three and when Oz left Willow after a nasty fight with a she-wolf early in season four. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)

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Between seasons five and six, something revolutionary happened in their friendship. Buffy and Willow became equals. After years of fighting baddies and saving the world, the superhero slayer and her human friends reforged their unique gift: their friendship, something all other slayers before Buffy lacked. And building on her self discovery as not just another sidekick, Willow turned badass

Willow (literally) lost Buffy in the end of season five and Buffy (metaphorically) lost Willow in the end of season six, but the crux of those losses transformed their friendship forever. In perhaps the dopest bonding moment ever, Buffy and Willow shared one woke AF mind-meld chat inside a comatose Buffy’s mind during “The Weight of the World.” Willow alone brought Buffy back from the brink of catatonic apocalypse catastrophe.

It doesn’t stop there–in season six, their friendship got a bit damaged, but it’s only after their epic finale fight that they started to take their friendship to a whole ‘nother level. They kicked it lady-style in the TV series’ final season and saved the world once again. After doing away with junkie Willow, rehab Willow helps Buffy the most. Hear me out–Buffy randomly becomes the leader for tons of teenage slayer wannabes, which makes her wig out in new and scary ways, and who’s got the most experience dealing with nerves? Here’s looking at you, Red!

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Their trademark gal pal moment from season seven showed up in the end of “Same Time, Same Place.” Worn out, physically and mentally, Willow and Buffy recharge their energy and friendship in a meditative chill sesh. The effects of this moment echo through the comic seasons to follow. Also on their Galentine’s schedule in season seven were some wicked spell casting to save their slayerettes and scythe powering-ups, cause scythe matters!

In the comic seasons eight to 10, Willow and Buffy have had their share of issues–it wouldn’t be a Whedonverse without personal battles and character shifts. But these gal pals are experiencing a renaissance of friendship. In “Long Way Home: Part 4,” Buffy saves Willow from the return of Warren in the nick of time, and Willow delivers the rad line, “Have I ever told you about my best friend…?” Jump forward to the recent finale of season 10 and the two are pretty close to unstoppable, owning their strengths and weaknesses as they rewrite the laws of magic side-by-side. Finally, we got another silly and strange dream scene together in “Slayer, Interrupted,” which comes full circle in showcasing the power of their friendship that we saw back in “Restless.”

Galentine’s Day exists because of close female friendships like Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins, Cher and Dionne, Buffy and Willow. These are just a few reasons why I adore Buffy and Willow’s friendship. Like IRL friends, there are many ways to celebrate your BFFs. Three cheers for all the gal pals everywhere! Season 11 of Buffy is on-going right now with its side series, “Buffy: The High School Years,” continuing this year too. What are some of your favorite Buffy and Willow moments? Let us know below!

Images: 20th Century Fox

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