Natalie's Reviews > Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Retreat

Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Jane Espenson
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's review
Mar 28, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: urban-fantasy, graphic-novel, own-comics-tpb
Read from March 03 to 04, 2011

In a Sentence: Retreat is an action-packed, climactic installment filled with excellent character development that reminded me why I fell in love with the series in the first place.

My Thoughts

In Retreat, we see a reunion of almost all of the main characters. Faith and Giles, Andrew and the Italian Slayer squad, Willow, Buffy, Xander: everyone who has been off on their own little adventures joins together in an attempt to fight off the advances of Twilight—the ultimate “Big Bad” of the season—whose true identity we still don’t know. The Slayers and their allies are getting their butts kicked no matter what they do. There are quite a few casualties, though none of the major characters get the ax. Eventually, Buffy makes the decision to escape and evade. The group heads off to the mountains of Tibet to visit Oz, whom we haven’t seen since his last guest appearance during season four of Buffy. Since season four, Oz has managed to get some control over his wolf side—thanks to a pre-Buddhism religion that involves a lot of meditation, herbs, and charms. Buffy hopes that, if the Slayers follow Oz’s way of life, they’ll be able to hide their magic from Twilight and disappear off the grid until they can regroup and figure out a way to fight back.

I was so happy to see Oz again. He’s always been one of my favorite characters, and my heart just about broke when he left. In spite of the fact that Willow is now a lesbian and Oz has had a kid with his wife/girlfriend (not sure which), I still can’t help but hope that Oz and Willow will get back together. Long shot, I know, but I adored those two together! Oz and Willow’s reunion was subtle, but it also illustrated a lot of what Willow has been struggling with throughout the last few seasons: mainly, the fact that she will probably never get to have the normal life and family that Oz now has, and no matter how hard she tries, she STILL has trouble with her addiction to magic.

"Oz: We’re just trying to teach you not to bottle up the poison (magic) inside you.
Willow: But without the poison, what am I?"

And then there's this one...

"Oz: Will, what is up with you? You’re pissed at me…
Willow: You skated out, Oz. You got out of the game, and then you…you did something to make sure you couldn’t get pulled back in—
Oz:…I’m normal. I’m human. I have a family. And you can too.
Willow: It’s not true...Not with what I am! Not with what I have to do.
Oz: You can be done, Will. You can just be Willow Rosenberg."

Wow. I'd pay BIG money to see the scene above acted out on screen with Seth Green and Alyson Hannigan reprising their original roles. It nearly brought tears to my eyes in book form...I can only imagine how awesome it would have been on TV!

This is definitely a character-driven issue, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. Aside from the big interactions between Oz and Willow and Willow and Buffy, we also get to see Faith and Buffy start to bond again, repairing their relationship—which was virtually destroyed in seasons three and four. Furthermore, there’s an awesome scene between Xander and Buffy, in which Xander comforts Buffy about her doubts concerning Willow, and tells her that he’ll be there for her no matter what. The friendship between Xander, Buffy, and Willow has always been my absolute favorite part of the series, so it was nice to see a lot of that brought into the series again.

Overall, I think Retreat is one of the best installments of season eight. I can’t wait to read the last two trade paperback collections, which will finish off the season.
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