Buffy Season 8 (warning! here be spoilers)

(Written shortly after the release of issue 19)

Graaah!! Who the HELL is Twilight?!!! My original guess -- Riley -- proved close, but no cigar. After reading the latest issue, I went and trawled the internet for reactions. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who suspected Riley. Him being the masked Big Bad made a lot of sense. He had been pretty badly burned by Buffy, and if his ‘amazing’ wife left him, the misogynistic feelings clearly expressed by Twilight could develop. More broadly, the themes introduced in season 8 echo the ones (somewhat badly) developed in season 4 -- science against magic, male against female, the individual against the collective. And although Riley switched sides, he could easily switch back. He was always too much of a creature of the Initiative to ever fit in to Buffy’s world. And now that she has an army behind her, Riley could well see her reputation for resisting authority as dangerous. All the clues were pointing in one direction. Turns out it wasn’t quite the right one.

What now? The question of Twilight’s identity has been eating at me for days. Initially, I settled on Xander, because what a dramatic betrayal that would be! But there was also the claim made by Joss Whedon (head writer! yay!) that season 8 was ‘all about Anya’, even though she hadn’t really been mentioned much so far. Maybe her death sent Xander round the bend? But no. In issue 1, Twilight is seen floating above Buffy while Xander is still at Slayer HQ. Also, Twilight would have no need for ‘inside men’, Xander being as inside as they come. So dead end.

Maybe Giles? He clearly has few qualms about killing humans, albeit baddies. His would also be a dramatic betrayal. But Giles was all for the empowerment of slayers at the end of season 7. Why would he change his mind? Also, the whole idea behind the second arc was that Giles, Faith, Gigi and Roden were being played by Twilight so that they destroy each other, as Twilight explains to his followers. Why would he deceive them? Plus, like Xander, Giles is on the inside, so no need for an inside man.

Oz? He’s not part of the slayer team, and Willow’s rejection may have burned him up to the extent that he starts hating all women. But that doesn’t really fit Oz, who is cool as a cucumber (normally...). Also, Oz is slated to return in two issues time, in a story about Harmony. Is that gonna be his big reveal? Unlikely.

Angel? He’s tied up in his own season 6, Spike with him. If either of them are the Big Bad, it is because of developments in another series, published by another company, which is both very messy and also bad storytelling. This pretty much rules out any resident Angel series characters (Wesley, Connor, Gunn etc.)

Robin Wood? Twilight lifted just enough of his mask to show us he wasn’t black. Nope.

Andrew? On the inside. Also... no.

Graham, the other surviving initiative member? He shares some Riley elements. But his reveal would be a damp squib. He is too d-list. This also rules out people like Clem, Parker, Willy the barman...

Adam? Again, there’s the Initiative link. But he’s dead. Also, he would require a bit of a personality transplant to sound like Twilight. And a facelift.

The Master? There would be a certain neatness to having him back at the end. And he has a similar voice to Twilight. But, again, he is dead. Also, he has nothing to gain from the closing of the Hellmouths and the end of magic -- Twilight’s ultimate goal. Ditto the Mayor.

I’m grasping at straws. There’s just too little information to go on thus far. I’m gonna go with Adam for now, because I think there is something in the thematic link between seasons 8 and 4. But really all bets are off. This Joss Whedon guy is a genius...

BTW, I’m just gonna put this out there. Issue 5 of the series -- The Chain -- is one of the best things Whedon has ever done. Word is bond.

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