- "Let me tell you something about Willow. She's a loser, and she always has been. People picked on Willow in junior high school, high school up until college with her stupid mousey ways. And now Willow's a junkie! The only thing Willow was ever good for...the only thing I had going for me were the moments, just moments, when Tara was looking at me and I was wonderful. And that will never happen again."
- ―Dark Willow to Buffy Summers
Dark Willow was Willow Rosenberg's dark half, created by the grief and rage over the death of Tara Maclay as well as all of the absorbed dark magic from the Magic Book. As Willow delved deeper into witchcraft, her addiction to using magic for everyday needs and as a shortcut to simple problems began to grow until she abused her powers. After a failed attempt to resurrect Tara, Willow decided to avenge her on her own, resulting in a clash with her own best friend.
Personality and Appearance
In contrast to Willow's usual sweet and demure nature, Dark Willow was vengeful, arrogant and viscous, similar to the Wishverse Vampire Willow. Willow showed a degree of self hatred as she pointed out her former self's flaws and made it clear that even she found Dawn irritating and threatened to turn her back to the Key. She was also unsettlingly quiet and spoke in few sentences. Most of her attitude came from her rage over the injustice of Tara's death and she made it a point to torture Warren right before flaying him alive.
Dark Willow wore a black jacket over a black shirt, along with black pants and black boots. Her hair became jet black upon absorbing black magical textbooks and had a widow's peak. Her eyes also tended to be pure black. Her skin was very pale and her face had noticeable black veins, due to the dark magic corrupting her.
Becoming a Witch
Willow began to use witchcraft as a way to help Buffy slay the numerous threats that lived in Sunnydale. At first, it took Willow effort to simply levitate a pencil, but as she grew up, so did her abilities. Willow regularly practiced magic with her friend and later girlfriend Tara and with her, blossomed as a full blown witch, allowing her to confront the hell goddess Glory, a feat which established Willow was becoming increasingly powerful. After Buffy's death, fearful that she was stuck in a hell dimension due to mystical circumstances, Willow broke the rules of life and death and brought Buffy back.
However, Willow began to use magic far too often: often, it was for situations that didn't require magic or to "fix" things, such as Buffy's memories of being in heaven. Tara attempted to stop her, seeing that it was a full blown addiction. Willow attempted to stop, but after two memory wipe incidents, Tara had enough and finally broke up with her.
New Friends and Addiction
Shortly after being dumped, Willow finally managed to reverse the self inflicted rodent spell on Amy Madison by instead conjuring the spell to reverse it, instead of merely trying to change Amy back. The attempt was successful and Amy was restored. Amy and Willow grew closer together but Amy, as a witch, tempted Willow into using her magic during a night out in the Bronze, simply for the sake of fun. However, Willow suffered from an intense burn out: the amount of magic she used caused her to feel weak and powerless. Amy remedied the situation by bringing Willow to the warlock Rack, an old friend of Amy's. Rack, in exchange for a "taste" of Willow's own power, infused her with his own. Rack's magic led to Willow becoming addicted to the darker magics.
Willow began to depend on Rack much like an addict to a drug dealer: still hurting from the breakup, a simple plan to go out with Dawn turns into a run for another magic high from Rack. Willow showed her lack of responsibility and negligence as she left Dawn alone for hours. Willow then attempts to still make it up to Dawn, but her attempts are thwarted when the demon Mandraz attempts to kill Willow and Dawn, a demon conjured by Willow while infused with Rack's magic. As the girls fled on a car, Willow uses her magic to make them go faster, which causes her to crash the car. While alive, Dawn has a broken arm and is nearly killed until Buffy and Spike arrive to fight it. Willow manages to use her magic to vanquish it properly, but Buffy and Dawn are far from grateful: Dawn outright slaps her away and Buffy is furious at her actions. Tearfully admitting she has a problem with magic because of Tara leaving her, she decides, with some words from Buffy, to finally stop using magic and return to helping Buffy with technology and her own intelligence, which she manages for a while. This is enough to convince Tara to give their relationship another chance and finally, near the end of Entropy, they get back together.
Buffy finds new rivals in the shape of the Trio, a team of "super villians" consisting of Warren Mears, Jonathan Levinson and Andrew Wells: geeks and outcasts bent on destroying Buffy in order to take over Sunnydale. They managed to rival Buffy using their advanced science and magic together, but were foiled numerous times. Warren manages to acquire super strength on par to Buffy and the Trio begins to try and steal money: however, Buffy manages to beat Warren by destroying the stolen Orbs of Nezzla'Khan: Warren escaped the police, but Andrew and Jonathan are arrested promptly.
While Buffy and Xander were talking in Buffy's backyard, Warren arrived in Buffy's house and stated he was tired of Buffy always beating him and took out a gun. He managed to shoot Buffy, but as he runs away, shot another bullet over his shoulder. The first bullet strikes Buffy in the chest, but the second strikes fatally strikes Tara's back while upstairs with Willow and killed her.
Instantly, Willow attempted to bring Tara from the dead like she brought Buffy back. Willow's attempt to resurrect Tara fails however: she was a human killed by a human and Osiris declares it is the natural order, unlike Buffy, a warrior killed by magical energy. Willow banishes Osiris in rage and is informed by Xander that Xander shot Buffy. Putting two and two together, Willow storms off to the Magic Box.
As Willow walks in, her emotions alone causing the nearby lamps to explode, Anya tries to calm her down and tries to stop Willow when she tries to take all the dark magic books. However, Willow effortlessly freezes her in place and summons all the books in a table. She then absorbs all of the information in the books, turning her hair jet black.
Willow then goes to the hospital to heal Buffy with her enhanced magic, now donning black clothes and a frigid cold personality. Willow, Buffy and Xander then head out to get Warren: however, Buffy and Xander have no clue that Tara was killed in the crossfire and only want to turn over Warren to the police. Willow instantly makes it clear that she intends to personally kill Warren. Buffy attempts to stop her, but ultimately, Willow finds Warren in the woods and, with her magic, flays Warren alive and goes after the rest of the Trio.
Willow however, begins to experience low power during a car chase and decides to go to Rack for a recharge. At the same time, Dawn, with the aid of the demon Clem, arrives around the same time, Dawn finds Rack hanging in the air unconscious in the air and is shocked to find Willow gone fully dark. Disturbed, Dawn tries to flee and then tries to reason with Willow. Willow shows how corrupted she's become and threatens to return Dawn to her original state of being: The Key, stating how much Dawn irritated everyone, just as Buffy arrives.
As Willow and Buffy try and talk, locked with Dawn in Rack's room, she subtly teleported herself, Buffy and Dawn back to the Magic Box, right to Andrew and Jonathan. Willow then tried to kill them but Anya was able to conjure a counter spell to stop her magic from harming them. Willow instead used magic on herself, giving herself the power to "beat them to death". Finally done with talking, Buffy decided to fight her own best friend to stop her from going over the line. Willow's magic was too strong for Buffy's power to keep up, but was saved by the timely intervention of Giles, wielding the power of the Devon Coven.
Giles's borrowed magic is able to stop Willow's rampage temporarily with a binding field, but Willow uses Anya to reverse it and beats Giles and Buffy, destroying the Magic Box in the process. Willow then gets rid of Buffy by conjuring a homing fireball to wipe out Jonathan and Andrew, which would also kill Dawn and Xander, since they are trying to help them escape Willow's wrath. Willow then heads to Kingman's Bluff and then attempts to finally end the world: she begins to drain the Earth's life force through a demon's effigy, since in her delusional mind, it's the only way to stop all pain in the world (namely her own). Xander arrives and blocks the ritual and begins to remind her of the old Willow. As she starts to break down, Willow finally stops her rampage and spares the Earth from dying.
Willow's stint as Dark Willow served as a reminder of her loss of control and using powerful magic would cause Willow to revert to her black hair and veins, so she became increasingly wary of going overboard. A future Dark Willow appeared in the Buffy comics, lacking much of her magic but able to conjure Buffy out of her own time and to her own, all for the sake of having her own best friend kill her. Dark Willow then returned as Willow finally accepted her as part of herself.
Powers and Abilities
- "You once called me a rank arrogant amateur. Well buckle up Rupert, because I've gone pro."
- ―Dark Willow to Giles
Dark Willow was an incredibly powerful witch that could wield massive amounts of magic effortlessly and take on Slayers and demons. She could conjure destructive electrical blasts, move objects with her mind and enchant her own natural strength. A key aspect of Dark Willow is that she would generally take magic from other sources in order to keep going, since the power she wielded would take a lot out of her own reserves.
An added bonus of her new power kept her from dealing with her humanity and grief, until she took the Devon Coven's magic, which connected her with the little humanity she had left unconsumed by dark magic.
Anya also stated that she did have one weakness, she could only teleport airborne. This was shown when she killed Warren Mears and then teleported to the jail cell to make Jonathan and Andrew her next victims. Another weakness is how much magic she used and her need to take more magic.
She later engaged in a fight with Buffy Summers, a Slayer, by enchanting her own body after her magic blasts were unable to hurt Jonathan and Andrew, due to Anya's counter spell. She was also able to fight Giles and take his own power. With the Devon Coven's power added to the magic she stole from Rack, it was enough to allow her to end the world, once and for all. However, the magic also allowed her to reconnect with her emotions and, with a speech from Xander, she finally broke down and began to cry.
- Telekinesis: Willow was able to move objects with her mind: she was able to control cars and trucks, books and was able to toss people aside with ease and even freeze them in place
- Spell Casting: Willow was able to boost her own strength to match Buffy, use a locator spell to find Warren and block his attacks and even break free of Giles' magic. It's also possible that she gave herself knowledge over martial arts and enhanced agility, since she was able to block Buffy's blows and leap above her with ease.
- Pyrokinesis: Demonstrated when Willow reduced Warren's body into nothingness
- Electrokinesis: Willow was able to conjure lightning and control the severity, as she shot Buffy and Warren without killing them outright
- Magic Absorption: Willow absorbed the power of Rack and Giles in order to keep going: after taking the Devon coven's magic from Giles, she was became able to destroy an entire planet
- Chronokinesis: Dark Willow from the 23rd Century pulled Buffy into the future.
- Teleportation: Willow was able to teleport to other locations, but was limited since it took time: she was also able to teleport others with herself
- Sensing: Willow was able track Warren through his essence, although Warren exploited this to trick her by putting part of his essence on a robot duplicate.