Grave-Giles is able to bind Willow, but not for long. Soon her rampage begins again, but an influx of true magick makes her see the world in a new light. Now she can feel the pain of every being on the planet, and she decides that their pain must end. Even if she must destroy the world to do it.
"Grave" is quite the finale! Sure, it make not be earth-shattering conclusion of "Becoming" Part 2, the thought-provoking surrealism of "Restless" or even the heartbreaking series finale(ish) feel of "the Gift", but it definitely a finale with epic feel and powerful message about finally embracing life no matter how unbearable it may seem. It's what the whole season has been building up to and the writers do it in a brilliant fashion. It's great to have Giles back, it been over half a season since we last saw him yet AnthonyStewart Head doesn't miss a beat in this episode. Giles' is fearless in his confrontation with Willow and is in utter disbelief when Buffy feels him on what's happened to the gang since she left. In the past, I always found Giles' sudden bust of laughter bizarre yet watching it again now, I find it very appropriate and something Buffy needed as she soon starts to laugh too. It's like the saying, "Things may seem bad now, but years from now you'll laugh about it". Buffy needed to find the humor in situation to see how despite everything that's happened...it's okay. After the big laugh, Giles feels bad about living but Buffy tells him he was right for leaving, that she needed to be an abult, which is big progress in seeing that Buffy is starting to become at peace with herself again.
Once again, I do find that Anya is pretty pathetic when dealing with Willow. You'd think after being a demon for 1000 years she'd be smarter and have a few tricks up her sleeve but Willow just makes her look like a fool again. Anyway, the fight between Giles and Willow is awesome, full of more great special effects. The moment where Willow smarks at Giles' weakness and heals her wounds like their nothing was chilling, Alyson just playsmenacingwell, adding in her signature Willowisms to mix to make it believable as well. I loved the twist with Giles and how he overdoses Willow with good magic to start reverting back to her normal self. Meanwhile, Willow's latest spell causes Buffy and Dawn to be trapped under a graveyard where the sisters are finally forced to confront their issues with each other head on. Dawn has been filling not only distant from the gang but overprotected all season and it's time that she be treated like a adult not just a kid. Dawn makes a strong point about Buffy's endless protectiveness being pointless when trouble finds Dawn all the time, it's not just about of Buffy's life anymore, it's hers too and there may come a day when Dawn may have to protect herself. It's probably the most honest and genuine moment from Dawn all season and it's one Buffy quickly accepts as when both of them start being attacked by Grave monsters Willow conjures, Buffy finally trusts Dawn to find by her side. It's apivotalmoment for both sisters and the moment where Dawn manages to kill a monster all her own with some nice moves,solidifies the notion that Dawn is starting to come into her own.
The final moments of the episode are by far some of the most powerful moments from the series. For the first time, Buffy isn't the hero standing against the villain trying to end the world, it's Xander of all people. While it's a little ridiculous andsuicidal for Xander to even attempt to stop Willow, it's a incredible moment for not on him but Willow as well. At this point, you forget these two have been friends long before they met Buffy and who better to remind Willow of her true self than her best friend since childhood? Nicholas Brendan is exceptional and Alyson couldn't be more engaging. The whole yellow crayon speech with the heartfelt I love yous are tearjerkers, not to mention the sight of Willow finally letting go and breaking down gets me everytime. Then you have Giles telling a shocked Anya that Xander saved them. You could tell she would think Xander would be the last person she would have to thank for saving her life as well as the world. Lastly, we have Buffy happily crying to be alive to Dawn's disbelief. Buffy finally gets it after a year of struggling to live her life: she should be embracing the best parts of life not suffering because of the worst part. Life is beautiful and wonderful, something she declares to wants to show and share with Dawn. Oh and Spike survives his trials with the demon in Africa....things couldn't be better?......Until he gets back his soul! Uh oh! Overall, "Grave" isn't exactly a masterpiece but it's a stunning ender to the darkest year of the series that promises the gang finally healing and finally accepting adulthood to the fullest.