I was musing on this season’s overall arc and had a sudden realization. I might be completely off-base here, but has anyone else noticed this season is all about the interplay of fantasy and reality?
The Big Bad this season was supposed to be life itself-bad jobs, bad relationships, family tension. This season’s ostensible Big Bad, the Geek Trio, have been all about fantasy. They want to be cartoon-style crime lords, with a secret lair and laser beams and all that stuff. I can’t recall them ever referring to Buffy by name, only as The Slayer. She’s supposed to be their arch-nemesis, to round out the fantasy. That she’s a human with problems of her own doesn’t enter into their equation.
Warren gets pissed off because Buffy foils his super-human strength ploy. She won’t play along in their lame fantasy. He stoops to using a gun, something only a few of Buffy’s previous opponents have done. He wounds her and kills Tara with a stray bullet. In doing this, Warren brings Willow’s wrath upon his head. I can’t recall the Trio ever mentioning Willow and what a threat she is to them. I imagine The Witch didn’t have quite the same ring to it as The Slayer and so their fantasy didn’t take her into account.
All of the other Big Bads had evil plots, but they had some reasoning behind them. The Trio are doing all of this because it would be fun. It was a game, like the literal game they played with Buffy in “Life Serial.”