Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6 (2001 - 2002)

SEASON:

Season 6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Critics Consensus

Buffy gets an A for effort, but a bleaker tone and some jarring plot twists make this penultimate season a series low.

63%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 19

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 217

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Episodes

Air date: Oct 2, 2001

Months after the death of the titular vampire slayer (see "The Gift"), her friends finally seem to be adjusting to life after Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) are living with and caring for Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Spike (James Marsters), Xander (Nicholas Brendon), and the others are carrying out routine patrol duty with assistance from the Buffy-bot, whose presence gives the illusion that the Slayer is still alive. Anya (Emma Caulfield) works at the magic shop and longs for Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) to return to England and leave her in charge. Buffy's former watcher finally departs on the very day that Willow finishes her secret preparations to resurrect Buffy. Xander expresses misgivings about this supernatural enterprise, but his Wiccan friend convinces him that Buffy may be suffering unspeakably in some unknown hell dimension. Joined by the Scoobies in the woods outside town, Willow calls on the darkest of magicks to implore the god Osiris to bring back her friend. Unfortunately, at that very moment, a demon biker gang arrives, having bested the Buffy-bot in combat and learned that it isn't really the Slayer. Willow's spell thus disrupted, she and her devastated friends flee, convinced that their chance to bring Buffy back has been wasted. Six feet under a nearby tombstone, however, Buffy's decomposing corpse suddenly reanimates. Originally broadcast October 2, 2001, on the UPN network, "Bargaining, Part 1" marked episode 101 of the cult-favorite series. A new beginning in more ways than one, this resurrection-themed episode also marked the program's move to UPN from the rival WB network. It was originally shown in a two-hour block with "Bargaining, Part 2."

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Air date: Oct 2, 2001

As the newly resurrected Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) horrifically digs herself out of her grave, her friends scatter, unaware that their necromancy actually worked before it was interrupted by a demon biker gang. Meanwhile, those same demons continue to pillage Sunnydale, overjoyed that the only Slayer now standing in their way is the ineffectual Buffy-bot. Spike (James Marsters) valiantly protects Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) from the carnage, while Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and the others do what they can to battle the leather-clad fiends. Meanwhile, a near-catatonic Buffy wanders the town and witnesses her robot double being dismantled by the bikers. Ultimately, she must face off with the demons in an alley while her nearby friends slowly realize she's the real Slayer and not the 'bot. Elsewhere, Dawn learns of her sister's return from the mutilated robot and rushes off to find Buffy, who, still speechless, has fled from the Scoobies. The Summers sisters find one another atop the rickety tower from which Buffy fell to her supernatural death some months earlier. Dawn can't seem to believe it when Buffy asks her if this is Hell and seems on the verge of taking a second plunge. Hysterical, the girl tells Buffy she can't live without her. The pair barely make it to the ground before the tower collapses, but Buffy doesn't look nearly as happy about her return from the dead as Dawn does. Originally broadcast October 2, 2001, on the UPN network as part of a two-hour block with the previous installment, "Bargaining, Part 2" marked episode 102 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Oct 9, 2001

As depression and a shadowy demon haunt Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), the Slayer and her friends must deal with the consequences of her resurrection in both personal and supernatural terms. Returning to the Summers house with Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) on the night of her rebirth, Buffy hides from bright lights and expresses confusion over the changes in her home. The Scoobies turn up, excited to be reunited with their friend, but she's uncommunicative and wants to do nothing but sleep. Though overjoyed that his unattainable beloved has returned, Spike (James Marsters) blows up at Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and the others for risking such perilous magicks to resurrect Buffy -- and for keeping him in the dark about their plans. Soon, though, more pressing problems arise in the form of a phantom presence that haunts and possesses the gang one by one. Eventually, research reveals that Willow's necromancy has unleashed an immaterial fiend that seeks to steal Buffy's new life and corporeal form for itself. The Slayer eventually defeats her foe, but not the dark cloud that seems to hang over her. Buffy feigns gratitude toward her friends for bringing her back, but she confesses to Spike that she was actually in a place very much like Heaven after she died. It's only now that she's been ripped back onto the mortal plane, with all of its trials and responsibilities, that she like she's descended into Hell. Originally broadcast October 9, 2001, on the UPN network, "After Life" marked episode 103 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Oct 16, 2001

Despite the return of her beloved former watcher, domestic and financial issues compound the dark depression in which the Slayer has wallowed since her return from the dead. A flooded basement sends Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) scrounging for a loan when she learns that her mother's insurance money has long since been exhausted. Just as she's being turned down by the loan officer, Buffy witnesses a demon attacking the bank. During the confusion, the fiend's unseen accomplice makes off with a wad of cash. Angry about losing out on her loan and letting the demon escape, the exhausted Slayer heads to the training room to let off some steam. Soon Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) appears, fresh off the plane from England and full of reassuring wisdom. Worried that Buffy doesn't seem quite herself, he chastises an unrepentant Willow (Alyson Hannigan) for her foolhardy trafficking in dark magic. Elsewhere, three other former Sunnydale High misfits make use of the black arts: nerdy inventor Warren (Adam Busch, see "I Was Made to Love You"); class dork Jonathan (Danny Strong, see "Superstar"); and Andrew (Tom Lenk), the science fiction-obsessed younger brother of Tucker, the villain of "The Prom." These three hapless self-styled super-villains plan to use their ill-gotten gains from their earlier bank robbery to take over the entire town. The demon who assisted in their larceny tries to take out the Slayer, but Buffy vanquishes it -- without learning a thing about the creature's three very human accomplices. Originally broadcast October 16, 2001, on the UPN network, "Flooded" marked episode 104 of the cult-favorite series. Andrew, Jonathan, and Warren would appear throughout the rest of season six as both comic relief and the year's unlikely "big bad" villains.

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Air date: Oct 23, 2001

Skirmishes between Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the three dorky would-be villains who have targeted her continue as the Slayer attempts to hit the books and find gainful employment. While auditing classes back at U.C. Sunnydale, Buffy literally brushes up against Warren (Adam Busch), with confusing results. The dorky inventor plants on her a device that speeds time up, resulting in lost hours and missed appointments for the Slayer. Just as she figures out what's going on, the tiny troublemaker self-destructs. The next day, Buffy reports to work at the construction site where Xander (Nicholas Brendon) has agreed to hire her. First her gender and then her super-strength and over-efficiency annoy her burly co-worker's, but Buffy doesn't last long at the new job, anyway; once again, Warren and his sidekicks send demons to attack her, and in protecting her fellow workers she causes thousands of dollars in damages. Soon Buffy finds herself working for Anya (Emma Caulfield) as a salesgirl at the magic shop; this time, the nerds pull a Groundhog Day on her, looping her through this particularly annoying afternoon until she is finally able to restore time to its normal flow by making her first sale. Later, during a drunken escapade with Spike (James Marsters), Buffy comes face to face with Jonathan (Danny Strong) in battle but doesn't even know it: the diminutive would-be arch-fiend is disguised as a much larger demon. He, Warren, and Andrew (Tom Lenk) make their getaway, having successfully taken stock of the Slayer's abilities. Originally broadcast October 23, 2001, on the UPN network, "Life Serial" marked episode 105 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Oct 30, 2001

Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) follows in the footsteps of undead-lovin' big sister Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) when she ends up in the arms of a cute teen vamp. Her adventures take place on Halloween -- the same day Xander (Nicholas Brendon) finally announces his engagement to Anya (Emma Caulfield). During the festivities, Tara (Amber Benson) confronts Willow (Alyson Hannigan) about her over-reliance on magic to solve life's problems. Meanwhile, Dawn deals with her own teen angst by shoplifting from the magic shop and sneaking out with a friend for a midnight rendezvous with some handsome young lads. When her date sprouts fangs, however, Dawn is forced to dust him -- shades of Buffy and Angel (see "Becoming, Part 2"). Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), Spike (James Marsters), and Buffy eventually rescue Dawn and her friend from the mess they're in. But the Slayer leaves it up to her Watcher to mete out punishment. Elsewhere, Willow seeks to escape further scoldings by casting a spell to make Tara forget their fight. Originally broadcast October 30, 2001, on UPN, "All the Way" marked episode 106 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Nov 6, 2001

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the gang find themselves singing out their feelings in this musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The weirdness begins when Buffy interrupts her patrol to sing about post-resurrection angst. The next day, she learns that all of Sunnydale has become a great big Broadway musical. She and her friends float out various theories, but it turns out a musical demon named Sweet (Hinton Battle) has cast a nefarious spell over the town. As the enchantment forces various unfortunates to sing and dance until they burst into flames, the main characters find themselves expressing their deepest emotions. Tara (Amber Benson) sings a tender love song to Willow (Alyson Hannigan). Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Anya (Emma Caulfield) share a comical duet about their marriage misgivings. Spike (James Marsters) belts out a heavy metal number about his love/hate relationship with Buffy. Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) croons pensively about Buffy's need for independence. And Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) dances a ballet of loneliness. Dawn also accidentally reveals that Willow cast a spell of forgetfulness over Tara (see "All the Way"). Soon, Tara and Giles are harmonizing about the need to leave Willow and Buffy for their own good. Just when it seems that these tangled emotions will cause the Scoobies to combust, however, Sweet arrives to make Dawn his underworld bride. While rescuing her sister, Buffy reveals the truth she's been hiding from her friends -- when they brought her back to life, they wrenched her not from Hell, but from Heaven. The anguished Slayer then almost dances herself into fiery oblivion -- until Spike intercedes and begs her to live. Once Sweet is vanquished, the entire cast sings an uncertain song about what the future may hold. Then Spike and the Slayer sneak out and share an unexpected kiss. Originally broadcast November 6, 2001, on UPN, "Once More, With Feeling" marked episode 107 of the cult-favorite series. Several minutes longer than a typical hour-long Buffy episode, the musical had to be trimmed for subsequent airings and syndication. A cast album was also released.

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Air date: Nov 13, 2001

The fallout from the musical episode (see "Once More, With Feeling") brings two characters together but tears most of the others apart. Spike (James Marsters) tries talking to Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) about the kiss they shared but she refuses to discuss it. Meanwhile, the Scoobies express their horror at learning they wrenched Buffy from paradise when they brought her back to life. Tara (Amber Benson) confronts Willow (Alyson Hannigan) about messing with her memories and using magic to solve all of life's problems. Willow agrees to quit magic cold turkey for a week to prove she can live without it. But then she casts a spell to make Buffy and Tara forget all of the suffering they've endured. Just as Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) is announcing his departure to England to force Buffy to stand on her own, Willow's enchantment backfires. All of the Scoobies are rendered amnesiacs, and they come to various wrong-headed conclusions about their identities and relationships. Unfortunately, into this comic befuddlement comes a shark-headed demon (Raymond O'Connor) with a grudge against Spike. The fiend and his vampire minions terrorize the gang until Willow's spell is accidentally broken. Tara leaves Willow, Giles leaves for England...and Buffy once again finds herself locking lips with Spike. Originally broadcast November 13, 2001, on UPN, "Tabula Rasa" marked episode 108 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Nov 20, 2001

Warren (Adam Busch), Jonathan (Danny Strong), and Andrew (Tom Lenk) proceed with their quest to make their names as super-villains by using a ray gun to freeze a museum guard and steal a valuable artifact. As Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends investigate the crime, the Slayer continues to fend off the affections of Spike (James Marsters). When the quarrel turns physical, however, the love-sick vampire learns that he's now capable of hitting the Slayer without experiencing excruciating pain. To his dismay, he realizes that the anti-violence chip in his skull still works fine on everyone else; he can hit only Buffy -- apparently because she came back from the dead less than human. Elsewhere, Tara (Amber Benson) assures Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) that she'll always be there for her even though Tara's relationship with Willow (Alyson Hannigan) is over. As for Willow, she begins her new post-Tara life by finally figuring out how to turn Wiccan pal Amy (Elizabeth Anne Allen) from a rat (see "Gingerbread") back into a human. Amy and Willow embark on a night on the town, turning the Bronze into their own private magical playground. Meanwhile, Spike confronts Buffy about her seeming inhumanity. They fight ferociously, but somehow the battle turns into a tryst of super-heroic proportions. After two years of yearning, Spike finally makes love with Buffy -- savagely, as an abandoned building crumbles around them. Originally broadcast November 20, 2001, on UPN, "Smashed" marked episode 109 of the cult-favorite series.

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Air date: Nov 27, 2001

Following their respective big nights out (see "Smashed"), Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) recoils from her liaison with Spike (James Marsters) while Willow (Alyson Hannigan) suffers a colossal hangover from doing too many spells with Amy (Elizabeth Anne Allen). Anya (Emma Caulfield) and Xander (Nicholas Brendon) continue to worry about Willow's descent into magic, while Tara (Amber Benson) grows despondent that her fears about Willow were well-founded. The next night, Willow again meets up with Amy, this time to visit a mystically hidden hang-out where a sorcerer named Rack (Jeff Kober) doles out powerful magicks that function like drugs. Although her blissful spell/trip ends badly, Willow heads back to Rack's the next day -- this time with Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) involuntarily in tow. Buffy catches Amy stealing magical supplies from Willow's room and learns about the witches' activities together. She enlists Spike's help in tracking down Willow and Dawn but warns her vampire suitor that their tryst meant absolutely nothing and won't be repeated. Meanwhile, Willow drags an angry Dawn away from Rack's abode, and they end up in a desperate flight from a demon whom Willow accidentally summoned while under the influence. The demon is vanquished, but Dawn suffers serious injuries and Willow is left a gibbering, guilty wreck. That night, Willow suffers from Wiccan withdrawal as Buffy watches over her attempt to kick the magical habit. Originally broadcast November 27, 2001, on UPN, "Wrecked" marked episode 110 of the cult-favorite series.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6 Photos

Tv Season Info

Series 6 of the sci-fi series where a cheerleader is chosen to battle the forces of evil as she weathers the storms of young adulthood.

News & Interviews for Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6

Critic Reviews for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

But where Willow leads them, and where this season opener leads them all, looks to be a dark and scary place, with a few of the characters due for very major changes and conflicts. That's nothing new for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Nov 17, 2017 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Although an ensemble effort, the show still belongs to Gellar, who has disarmed detractors with her charm and versatility.

Oct 23, 2018 | Full Review…

Credit for thinking big, but most of season six is a big miss.

Nov 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer spared no expense with its musical episode...it's as glorious and campy as it sounds.

Aug 7, 2018 | Full Review…

But in its sixth season, when too many television programs find themselves "Going Through the Motions," Whedon elevated Buffy to its highest peak.

Nov 22, 2017 | Full Review…

Much darker than Buffy needed to be. Never forget the brilliance that is "Once More, With Feeling" though.

Nov 22, 2017 | Full Review…

I was frustrated and disgusted that Giles got a salary for being a Watcher but Buffy risked her life sans stipend and had to work shitty jobs. I know it's supposed to be a metaphor for being a college dropout and sudden caregiver, but it annoyed me.

Nov 22, 2017 | Full Review…

True, it's unfair that Willow and Tara suffered like they did, but is any character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer free of grief?

Nov 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Season 6 of Buffy carries more powerful resonance than any other moment in the show's history.

Nov 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Depressing though the season may be, it is also the most ambitious in its scope - it tried to show how bad life could become, without the sugar-coating. While it may have succeeded in its nihilistic goal, it also lost that good old Buffy feel.

Nov 21, 2017 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…

Tara's death completes what has become a rather homophobic and pathological representation of lesbian desires and relationships over the course of the past season.

Nov 21, 2017 | Full Review…

This is why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a seminal feminist show, and will always be one, and why season six at its core is a great season.

Nov 21, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6

  • Dec 25, 2020
    This is my favorite season overall! Great story telling and character development! As well as very dark themes coupled with plot elements that hit very close to home even if it is being told in this fictional supernatural universe. I have much love for this show but especially this season! A must watch for sure!!
  • Feb 01, 2020
    Always loved this show and this season was one of my favorites. Another example of the irrelevance of the 'professional critic's' opinion.
  • Jan 01, 2020
    This season doesn't get enough credit, it has become one of my favorites because it pushes the Buffy verse outside of its comfort zone.
  • Dec 22, 2019
    Definitely the most despair-filled Buffy season. Good plots and character work, but general despair makes some parts hard to watch. The middle of the season had some TERRIBLE episodes.
  • Oct 12, 2019
    Season 6 of Buffy is one of the more divisive in the series. Initially, I wasn't a huge fan of this season; however, the more I age, the more I identify with the struggles these characters faced. Hannigan's performance in this season is the standout and allows for such a raw, dramatic experience. The struggles in this season are very adult, which is dramatically different to the adolescent issues faced in the earlier seasons. The storyline throughout much of the season isn't the greatest, but the final triad of episodes is excellent and worth watching the season.
  • Oct 02, 2019
    Buffy is back from the dead. It's too bad that this is weakest season though. Despite a memorable musical episode. Most of the season has Buffy against her weakest villains. 3 nerds who decide they are her arch enemies. Things get interesting and sad when they accidentally kill Willow's girlfriend. Which gets Willow to bring out the dark side with dark magic.
  • Aug 27, 2019
    This season is rough but so is life and I appreciate what Whedon tried to do here. Double Meat Palace is television camp gold.
  • Mar 27, 2019
    This rating is for the original TV series, not the HD remaster. Try to see the original version if you can, they messed with the artistic integrity of the original by messing up all the color screening in the remaster which makes night time look like day, the actors look like plastic, etc. Buffy the Vampire Slayer started off as a campy and cheesy show comedy show but quickly developed into a show with great drama in it and quickly became one of my favourite shows as I watched it over the seasons. It never takes itself too seriously, sometimes poking fun at itself, yet it delivered a surprising amount of character development and drama for a show that started as a silly premise based on the original movie (the original movie was pretty boring, the show is way better)..
  • Jan 06, 2019
    Spike and Buffy Begin. Making this one of my favorite seasons
  • Aug 11, 2018
    One of the best TV shows for Sci-Fi! Can’t wait for new show!

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