"Chosen", the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is the twenty-second episode of the seventh season and is the one hundred forty-fourth episode altogether. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon. It originally broadcast on May 20, 2003.
A bloody Caleb rises and Buffy finally kills him with the Scythe by slicing him in two from the crotch up. Angel gives Buffy an amulet intended to be worn by someone ensouled, yet more than human. He tells her he will fight alongside her, but she turns him down, asking him to instead organize a second front with his team in case she loses to The First. They discuss Spike, his soul, and Buffy's feelings for him. He shows obvious jealousy and annoyance about the fact that Buffy has feelings for Spike. Buffy in turn, annoyed by his childish and possessive attitude he has towards her, questions his maturity, asking "Are you twelve?". When Angel asks about the future, and if he has a place in it(which is basically asking if they will ever get back together.) Buffy explains that she still needs to grow up, using a cookie-baking analogy. As he walks into the shadows, echoing his very first appearance, Buffy tells him there might be a future for them, but it will be a long time coming, if ever. He walks off after saying "I ain't getting any older."
Back at the house, Dawn angrily kicks Buffy's leg for having Xander try to take her away from Sunnydale in the previous episode. Spike is in the basement, working out his anger on a punching bag with a crude drawing of Angel's face on it. Buffy arrives and sees this, causing her to be irritated, stating they someday she should put them in a room and let them fight out their problems and that she has "had enough jealous vampire crap for one night." He asks for the amulet, whose exchange he had witnessed from the shadows, and she explains that it is very powerful and meant only for a champion. She then hands it to him. Buffy tells Spike coyly that Faith still sleeps in her bedroom and she has nowhere to sleep. Spike says he doesn't want Buffy downstairs with him, because he still has his pride. When Buffy starts to walk upstairs, he says he doesn't have any pride at all when it comes to her and he says she can stay.
Later that night, Buffy finds herself unable to sleep and paces the basement as Spike sleeps. Suddenly the First appears to her in the guise of Caleb, unhappy that she killed its lieutenant but notes that there's an army of the undead waiting to rise. Once it does, and the forces of evil outnumber the good the scales will tip in the First's favor and it will become corporeal. The First then shifts into Buffy's form and taunts her, reminding her that she's the slayer, and she's alone as there is only ever one Slayer in the whole. The First disappears as Spike wakes, and Buffy tells Spike she's realized something she hadn't considered... they're going to win.
The next morning, Buffy unveils her plan to the potentials off-camera. Afterward, Willow expresses her concerns about using magic again to Kennedy. She says this is the most powerful magic she will have attempted and asks Kennedy to kill her if it turns bad. Faith and Principal Wood also have a discussion while preparing the school for the battle. Wood demonstrates that he understands her defensiveness over getting emotionally involved with men and asks her to give him a chance after the battle. During the night, Buffy goes to the basement, where she apparently spends her last night with Spike.
The next morning, everyone arrives at Sunnydale High in a yellow school bus. The Potentials head to the seal in the basement while Kennedy helps Willow set up her spell in Principal Wood's office. After trying to give a farewell speech, Andrew is dragged off by Anya. Dawn leaves to set up her post with Xander, determined to see her sister again. Principal Wood leaves to wait at his post for Giles. The core four share a moment talking about going to the mall after saving the world which causes Giles to say "the earth is definitely doomed" (echoing the end of The Harvest, part two of the series' pilot episode). Xander and Willow walk down the hallway with Buffy before each one peels off, leaving Buffy walking alone to the seal. The Potentials, Faith, and Spike are waiting, and the Potentials/Slayers cut their hands to open the seal with their blood. They climb down the hole in the ground and come face to face with the army of Turok-Han. The Ubervamps spot Buffy, Faith, and the Potentials, and attack. "Come on, Will," Buffy pleads.
Willow sits in Principal Woods' office, the Scythe before her. While chanting a spell, she places her hands upon the Scythe, and both she and the Scythe light up in an ethereal glow and her hair turns white, the opposite of Dark Willow. A flashback to Buffy's final speech to the Potentials reveals that Willow is channeling the essence of the Scythe in order to activate Potentials all over the world. Defying the tradition of only one Slayer per generation, Willow's spell will raise an army strong enough to do battle with The First. As Willow performs the actual magic, Kennedy tells Willow that she is a goddess. "And you're a Slayer," Willow replies. Willow then lies on the floor, exhausted and exclaiming "That was nifty!", as Kennedy takes the Scythe to Buffy, who is deep in the fight with Faith and Spike against the army of the Turok-Han, now numbering in the thousands.
As she pauses to give orders, Buffy is stabbed through her abdomen from behind by one of the Turok-Han and falls to the ground. She passes the Scythe to Faith and asks her to hold the line. As she lies on the ground, she sees several newly activated Slayers fall, including Amanda. In the halls of the school, a few Turok-Han make it to the surface and attack the group guarding the entrances. A small group of Bringers also appear and attack. During the battle, Anya is cut down by a Bringer.
Andrew fights until he is overwhelmed. Principal Wood is brutally stabbed by a Bringer who is then killed by Giles. Xander and Dawn take on some Turok-Han who are disintegrated by sunlight when Dawn throws open a skylight window, but more follow. In the Hellmouth, The First then appears to Buffy as a mortally wounded copy of herself, sarcastically saying "Oh no. Ow. Mommy, this mortal wound is all... itchy." It then kneels down in front of her and mocks her attempt to stop its plans, "You pulled a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down.", before asking Buffy "What more do you want?" Ordering The First to "get out of my face!" Buffy arises with renewed determination and knocks several Turok-Han off the ledge. Other Slayers are reinvigorated as well. The First disappears.
Just then, Spike's amulet consumes him in blue light and blasts a hole upward into the sky. The sunlight is channeled through the amulet and in powerful rays that begin dusting the Ubervamps. The ground begins to shake and rocks tumble. The surviving Slayers start to flee. Buffy tells Spike to do so as well, but he insists on finishing it. They share a quiet moment as the world crumbles around them. With tears in her eyes, Buffy tells Spike she loves him, to which he replies "No you don't. But thanks for saying it." He orders her to leave as he has to stay and finish the job. Buffy leaves and Spike disintegrates as the Hellmouth collapses.
On the way out of the school, the Slayers find Andrew crouched in a corner. Xander yells for Anya, but doesn't see her dead and mangled body lying nearby. Dawn pulls him out. Faith is the last onto the bus and it pulls away, with Dawn looking through back for Buffy. Buffy, in the meantime, has climbed to the roof of the school and is running along rooftops trying to outrun the enlarging crater. She leaps onto the top of the bus. Watching as the bus speeds off out of town, the entire town collapses into itself.
The ground stops shaking. Everyone gets off the bus. Xander asks Andrew about Anya's death. He comforts Xander by telling him that Anya died saving Andrew. Faith looks after a wounded Principal Wood. While Kennedy, Vi, and a few others tend to the wounded Slayers, everyone joins Buffy as they look at the large crater which was once Sunnydale. Giles asks how this could've happened, since everyone either died or is alive and with them. With sad eyes, Buffy answers with one word: "Spike." A silence follows, as everyone remembers their fight. Giles mentions that they should go to Cleveland as there's another Hellmouth there and lots more work to do. An exhausted Faith responds "Can I push him in?" The Scoobies, together with Faith and Dawn, look at the devastation of Sunnydale. Then, Dawn asks "What are we going to do now?" Buffy slowly begins to enigmatically smile as she contemplates the future ahead of her.
Buffy's "cookie analogy" highlights her very young age. She essentially tells Angel that she is not ready to settle down as she is not entirely done growing up. This was used to highlight Buffy's youth as in later seasons she was portrayed as being older than she was, following her mother's death and her parental role to Dawn, as well as her increasing duties as a Slayer.
Irritated by the jealousy between Spike and Angel, Buffy says "I should just put you two in a room so you can wrestle it out.' This comes to pass in 'Destiny'.
Buffy and Giles made up again after Giles betrayed her in "Lies My Parents Told Me" when Buffy assures Giles she appreciates his opinion.
Buffy refers to her deselection as a leader in "Empty Places" with the sentences "I hate that there's evil, and that I was chosen to fight it. I wish, a whole lot of the time, that I hadn't been. I know a lot of you wish I hadn't been either."
Stunt woman Ming Liu portrays a newly activated Slayer in the final battle. Ming Liu previously portrayed Xin Rong in Fool For Love as the Slayer killed by Spike. She is seen on-screen in this episode, ironically with Spike, as they both fight the Turok-Han, and then again onscreen after Buffy begins to fight back after being taunted by the First. During a string of scenes depicting the Slayers over-powering the Turok-Han Vampires she can be seen wielding an axe against one of the Vampires.
The vampire that stabs Buffy is seen to be slain by Vi right after stabbing her.
Andrew's exaggerated storytelling abilities are finally useful when he comforts Xander by saying Anya died saving his life.
The scene in which Giles, Buffy, Xander, and Willow are together in the hallway before they eventually split off into their separate parties mirrors a scene in "The Harvest", in which Buffy, Xander, and Willow ignore Giles completely, and walk off talking to each other about how Buffy could get herself kicked out of school, leaving Giles to remark to himself "the earth is doomed." In this episode, the same thing occurs when Buffy, Xander, and Willow ignore Giles completely and walk off talking to each other about Xander's new look and what they could do at the mall when the battle is over. Giles is still left standing there alone, looking back at them, where he comments that "The earth is definitely doomed."
In his first appearance to Buffy in Sunnydale, Angel walked out of the shadows. In this, his last appearance to Buffy in Sunnydale, he backed into the shadows.
Giles mentioned the existence of a Hellmouth in Cleveland. Wishverse Giles repeated news over the phone that Cleveland was in bad condition, presumably due to demons.
In opposition to her fear of turning into "Dark Willow" by using such powerful magic she turns into "White Willow", showing she recovered from her magic addiction.
Spike returns from his apparent death to be resurrected nineteen days later in the Angel episode "Conviction," and plays a major part in that series until its conclusion. After this, Spike becomes a champion in his own right.
Spike once again destroys the Welcome to Sunnydale sign: this time it initially survives the destruction of Sunnydale only to fall into the crater moments later.
Buffy's final line in the show is "Spike." Anya's is "Bunnies." Caleb's is "You don't have the...".
The red hooded cape Andrew wears while playing Dungeons & Dragons is a part of the costume Buffy wore in Fear, Itself."
Dawn refers to herself as 'Junior Watcher', establishing the role she will play in the vast army of Slayers created.
After failing to send Dawn away, Buffy accepts her role in the oncoming battle and as a full-valued member of the Scoobies, something she struggled with since Dawn's first appearance in her wish to protect her.
The last shot of the series is of Buffy with Faith in the background—the two longest serving Slayers after all the newly activated ones.
Although Buffy is by no means alone in the final scene, she is without a male partner, bringing home the point that she doesn't need to rely on anyone but herself.
When Buffy asks what the group wants to do tomorrow, Xander replies "Well, mini-golf is always the first thing that comes to mind." This is a call back to the first episode of season 2, where he suggested the same thing after destroying the very first big bad of the series, The Master.
Caleb, vertically bisected (groin first) by Buffy with the Scythe
One Turok-Han vampire, dusted by Amanda
Three Turok-Han vampires, dusted by Vi
One Turok-Han vampire, dusted by Buffy
Four Turok-Han vampires, dusted by Buffy with the Scythe
One Turok-Han vampire, betrayed by Giles
Two Turok-Han vampires, betrayed by Anya
One Turok-Han vampire, snapped by Spike
Three Turok-Han vampires, dusted or cut in two by Faith with the Scythe
Three Turok-Han vampires, burned by the sun, declenched by Dawn
Anya Jenkins, cut down by a Harbinger of Death
One Harbinger of Death, killed by Giles with a sword
Two Turok-Han vampires, dusted by Rona with the Scythe
Amanda, killed by a Turok-Han vampire
The remnant hundreds of Turok-Han vampires, all burned with a pure light by Spike
Spike, himself burned by his pure light (but not forever)
Behind the Scenes
In a BBC interview before this episode aired, writer/director Joss Whedon said, "If nobody cries... then I've definitely failed. It's really emotional - you're supposed to laugh, cry, and gasp with excitement - as well as take away a beautiful feminist message." He acknowledges that the magic unleashed from the Scythe in this episode is "somewhat convenient," but as a writer, it was more important for him to get to the show's message of empowerment by showing what Willow's magic and Buffy's status as the Slayer means to each of them. He also admits that the Turok-Han vampires in this episode are far easier to kill than in previous episodes (in which Anya noted their tough breastbones make staking them extremely difficult) because "Again, I was more interested in the showing the empowerment than I was in the continuity."
Whedon knew he "wanted to kill somebody... brutally and suddenly and never really pay it off. I wanted a death that was a real middle-of-the-battle death—the opposite of the Spike death, perfect, noble." Emma Caulfield stated at the beginning of Season 7 that this would be her last season on Buffy, even if the show was renewed for another season, and so Caulfield was happy to have Anya be the character who was killed. She is the fourth owner of The Magic Box to be killed in the series and means that every one of the 'Core Four' has lost a significant other during the series: Willow losing Tara, Giles losing Jenny, Buffy losing Angel.
While writing this episode, Whedon apparently wanted to have the Powers That Be grant Buffy one wish. She would arrive at Willow's door and say that she had a wonderful time shopping for shoes; Willow would ask if she had used her wish on buying shoes. Buffy would then step aside and reveal Tara, Willow's late girlfriend, standing in the doorway, alive and well again. This idea was not used because of scheduling issues with Amber Benson, the actress who plays Tara.
In the original script the conversation between Buffy and Angel was supposed to be longer making Angel reveal to Buffy that he loved Cordelia and also that he had a son, making Buffy the only one that knew of Connor. This was ultimately changed so not to confuse too much of Angel's storyline with Buffy's.
Whedon said on the final DVD Commentary that David Boreanaz was only available for 7 hours to film his scenes and that the core four would never die.
Gellar's stirring speech was shown in two parts in this episode, but it was filmed as one scene, half of which was deleted in the editing room (DVD commentary).
According to Joss Whedon in the DVD commentary, he decided that Amanda would be the only Potential present during the Dungeons and Dragons scene so that Sarah Hagan could get some more screen time since her character would get killed off at the climax of the episode.
The Mutant Enemy monster is actually animated in this one (as opposed to just a paper monster walking across the screen) and growls at the viewers, in a way saying goodbye to them as well.
The rousing battle music during the final battle between all the Slayers and the enemy is the same used on the season seven DVD title menus.
Whedon wrote the last scene of this episode at the same time as the season opener.
There are several alternative scripts on the internet. Some have Anya surviving, Xander dying to save Dawn while others feature cameos from a whole host of memorable characters like The Master, Glory, Joyce, and the Mayor.
"Chosen" attracted 4.9 million viewers on its original first run. Although those numbers seem low compared to earlier seasons, it was actually one of the highest rated episodes of the season as viewership at this point in the show had diminished.
The 30-second television ad begins with the mention of sponsor Acuvue Cam, cutting to a montage of clips from "Chosen," such as Caleb threatening, Buffy and Spike in the Hellmouth, Willow enchanted, and Buffy knocking three Turok-Hans off a cliff. It also features clips from previous episodes of the season, such as Xander lighting a match ("Get It Done"), the Hellmouth seal ("Storyteller"), and Buffy rising from the floor in ("Never Leave Me"). Throughout the ad, the voiceover utters: The end is here… Be there when the Slayer takes her last stand. Will this be Buffy’s final hour? Or her finest hour? The earth shattering series finale… The ad concludes with a final mention of Acuvue Cam.
Warner Bros. chose to announce that Spike would be joining the cast of Angel a week before this episode aired, a move that was criticized due to it lessening the impact of Spike's death in the Hellmouth towards the end of this episode.
An exchange between Dawn and Vi was cut:
Dawn: "And the Master grabbed Buffy from behind and bit her. She tried to move, but he was too strong. he fed on her blood and tossed her in the water, cackling insanely as the bubbles rose around her and she slowly drowned to death."
Vi: "Do you have any other stories?"
Dawn: "She gets up again. It's very romantic. Guys, you gotta stop worrying. It's Buffy. She always saves the day."
Pop Culture References
Willow's spell ended with the line "Oh, my Goddess." This is the title of the season 5 finale of Charmed.
Dungeons & Dragons: Giles, Andrew, Amanda, and Xander play the popular role-playing game (or a simulacrum of it) the night before the final battle.
Trogdor the Burninator: During Giles, Andrew, Amanda, and Xander's D&D game, Giles is attacked by Andrew's Trogdor the Burninator , a popular creation of Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, of which Whedon is a fan.
Dawson's Creek: When Angel returns to help Buffy and shows jealously toward Spike, Buffy gets annoyed and says "Are you just going to come here and go all Dawson on me every time I have a boyfriend?" implying that Angel's jealousy over her echoes that of Dawson Leery, the love-lorn and sensitive title character of the show, which also aired on the WB.
Elizabeth Taylor: Spike thought the amulet he had to wear made him look like the famous actor Elizabeth Taylor.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
When Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles are left alone just before the fight and casually discuss their plans for tomorrow a member of crew (although possibly Dawn) can be seen behind Xander just before Buffy begins to speak. Also a member of crew (although similarly this could be Robin Wood) is seen in the background behind Giles as he says "aren't we going to discuss this?".
When fighting, running on the buildings and on the bus Buffy has pointed shoes; when the bus stops and she jumps down from it, she is wearing different shoes; next shot she wears pointed shoes again.
When Buffy is evacuating the school through the hallway, she is holding the scythe right-side up, but in one quick shot where she stands as the building crumbles she is holding the scythe up-side down and in the next shot when she exits the building she is holding the scythe right-side up again. Changing wielding of a cold weapon (though being a "magical" one as it is) is a good relief from weariness, itch and hand sweat, unless you are wearing gloves (which Buffy doesn't) so it's reasonable that she rolled and moved her grasps.
During the scene where the newly-activated Slayers are fighting the Turok-Han army, Amanda impales an ubervamp with a seemingly double-pointed wooden spear. However, it can be seen the side she impales the ubervamp with is blunt even though it can be heard from a sound-effect that it died afterwards.
The episode was nominated for both a 2003 Emmy Award in the Category of Special Visual Effects for a Series, and for the 2004 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
Season Seven explores the fundamental separateness between the Slayer and other people, which the series finale turns upside down. As J. Lichtenberg points out in her essay on heroism in the Buffyverse, Buffy is a hero because she makes her own rules. "Finally an adult, Buffy rejects the fate laid out for her by the Council of Watchers and a couple of old men millennia ago," Lichtenberg writes. "She finally achieves her goal of normality - not by changing her own nature, but by making others like her."
SFX, a British sci-fi magazine, called "Chosen" the 8th best episode of Buffy (number one was "Hush").
Whedon kept the Slayer's scythe prop after this final episode.
In classic Buffyverse style, writers and producers retire a set, in this instance Sunnydale in its entirety, by utterly destroying it.
Dawn has the final line on the series
This episode begins Joss Whedon's style of killing major characters at the end, as well as sparing the final antagonist (as The First cannot be killed). The former would be repeated in Angel, Firefly/Serenity, Dollhouse, and The Avengers, and the latter would be repeated in Angel and Serenity (as Dollhouse's main antagonist is killed off and the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently ongoing where Whedon referred to Thanos as "the ultimate overlord of villainy and darkness" and may or may not follow the pattern with him). Interestingly enough, Spike's death shares similarities with Coulson's death in The Avengers, since both are popular characters and both are revived in a spinoff.
Xander - "Well, mini-golf is always the first thing that comes to mind."
Giles - "I think we can do better than that."
Buffy - "I was thinking about shopping. As per usual."
Willow - "Oh. There's an Arden B. in the new mall."
Xander - "Oh, good. I could use a few items."
Giles - "Well, now aren't we gonna discuss this? Save the world or go to the mall?"
Buffy - "I'm having a wicked shoe craving."
Xander - "Aren't you on the patch?"
Willow - "Those never work."
Buffy - "Never."
Giles - "And here I am, invisible to the eye, not having any vote."
Xander - "See, I need a new look. It's this whole eye patch thing."
Buffy - "Oh, you could go with full black secret agent look."
Angel - "Oh... Well... That's great. Everyone's got a soul now... You know, I started it. The whole having a soul? Before it was all the cool new thing."
Buffy - "I love you."
Spike - "No, you don't. But thanks for saying it."
Dawn - "We destroyed the mall? I fought on the wrong side."
Xander - "All those shops, gone. The Gap, Starbucks, Toys 'R' Us. Who will remember all those landmarks unless we tell the world of them?"
Willow - "The darkest place I've ever been, this is what lies beyond that. This is too important for me..."
Kennedy - "Buffy believes in you."
Willow - "You know, Buffy, sweet girl; not that bright."
Andrew - "We will defend it with our very lives."
Anya - "Yes, we will defend it with his very life."
Xander - "And don't be afraid to use him as a human shield."
Anya - "Good. Yes. Thanks."
Buffy - "I just realized something, something that really never occurred to me before. We're gonna win."
Angel - "I'm gettin' the brush off for Captain Peroxide. It doesn't necessarily bring out the champion in me."
Buffy - "You're not getting the brush off. A-Are you just going to come here and go all Dawson on me every time I have a boyfriend?"
Angel - "Aha! Boyfriend."
Buffy - "He's not. But he is in my heart."
Angel - "That'll end well."
Buffy - "What was the highlight of our relationship? When you broke up with me or when I killed you?"
Anya - "Come on, let's go assemble the cannon fodder."
Xander - "That's not what we're calling 'em, sweetie."
Anya - "Not to their faces. What am I, insensitive?"
Spike - "Most people don't use their tongues to say hello. Or, I guess they do, but..."
Giles - "I used to be a highly respected Watcher, and now I'm a wounded dwarf with the mystical strength of a doily."
Faith - "It's pretty radical, B."
Giles - "It's a lot more than that. Buffy, what you said, it-it-it flies in the face of everything we've ever—every generation has ever done in the fight against evil. I think it's bloody brilliant."
Buffy - "You mean that?"
Giles - "If you want my opinion."
Anya - "Oh, God. I'm terrified. I-I didn't think... I mean, I-I just figured you'd be terrified, and I would be sarcastic about it."
Andrew - "Picture happy things. A lake, candy canes, bunnies..."
Anya - "Bunnies! Floppy, hoppy, bunnies!"
Willow - "Did you find out anything about the scythe?"
Buffy - "It slices, dices, and makes julienne preacher."
Giles - "Caleb?"
Buffy - "I cut him in half."
Willow - "All right!"
Anya - "He had that coming."
Xander - "Hey, party in my eye socket, and everyone's invited. Sometimes I shouldn't say words."
Buffy - "So here's the part where you make a choice. What if you could have that power, now? In every generation, one Slayer is born, because a bunch of men who died thousands of years ago made up that rule. They were powerful men. This woman is more powerful than all of them combined. So I say we change the rule. I say my power should be our power. Tomorrow, Willow will use the essence of this scythe to change our destiny. From now on, every girl in the world who might be a Slayer will be a Slayer. Every girl who could have the power will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Slayers, every one of us. Make your choice. Are you ready to be strong?"
Caleb - "Stupid girl, you can't stop me. You don't have the ba..." [Buffy swings the Scythe up into Caleb's crotch, cutting him off mid-sentence]
Buffy - "Who does, nowadays?" [Buffy yanks the Scythe up through Caleb's body cutting him in half and killing him. Angel gets up nearby]
Angel - "Okay. Now I'm pissed. Where is he?!" [Buffy looks at Caleb's two halves and then at Angel who follows her gaze]
Buffy - "He had to split." [giggles]
Spike - "Now, go!" [Buffy runs] "I wanna see how it ends."
Buffy - (Dawn kicks Buffy in the shin) "Ow."
Dawn - "Dumbass." [Buffy looks at Xander]
Xander - "Don't look at me. This is a Summers' thing. It's all very violent."
Buffy - [glares at Dawn] "If you get killed, I'm telling."
Giles - "I don't understand. What did this?"
Buffy - "Spike."
Spike - "I can feel it, Buffy."
Buffy - "What?"
Spike - "My soul. It's really there. Kind of stings."
Spike - "Gotta move, lamb. Think it's fair to say, school's out for bloody summer."
Willow - "This goes beyond anything I've ever done. It's a total loss of control, and not in a nice, wholesome "my girlfriend has a pierced tongue" kinda way."
The First as Buffy - "Oh no... Ow! Mommy, this mortal wound is all... Itchy. You pulled a nice trick. You came pretty close to smacking me down. What more do you want?"