1. Of all the missed opportunities on Buffy, the one that frustrates me the most is the way Dawn's origins are almost entirely dropped after S5. Just an observation in S6 that she's "not the key anymore", and then nothing? Except Willow threatening to turn her back into an energy ball...but it's never explored what this really means to Dawn and the people around her, not after S5. She didn't exist for the first fourteen years of her life. That's going to be a little more than one damn season's worth of angst. In S6 she's afraid that Buffy doesn't want her around...and this is never connected to her keyness? Her lack-of-realness?
This is as important an aspect of Dawn as being the Slayer is of Buffy. And it's basically just dropped.
2. "I do know I was ... pretty out of it, and I had ... not-not a dream ... exactly, more like I had this ... knowledge, i-it just came to me like ....truth, you know? Even though it didn't seem...possible, even though I shouldn't even think such things." Yes, that would be what being crazy feels like. Although of course for Joyce, the knowledge turns out to be true! Actually, the idea of crazy people having access to the reality of the world in a way that sane people do not possess is very interesting and strange. On ByVS, we see it with both the insane people who can see Dawn's true form in S5 and with Drusilla.
3. Ben says that he's been cleaning up Glory's messes "whole damn life". Did he turn into Glory when he was a toddler? Evil toddler Glory throwing tantrums and tearing down the walls? Did his parents know? Why Ben, anyway? Have people written fic about Ben's childhood? A fandom this big, they must have. Hmmm.
4. I'm oddly lukewarm on Spike this time around. Fool For Love was awesome, don't get me wrong (I forgot that Spike claimed that Nikki Wood liked it when he killed her. Um.), but on a scene-by-scene basis I'm just not enjoying him as much as I did back when. I am really loving Dawn, though. But I have to admit, her height drives me crazy. She's fourteen! She shouldn't be that tall!
5. I alternate between liking Riley and wanting to bang his head repeatedly into a brick wall. Prior to Riley letting himself get bit by vampires, I actually think the problems in his relationship with Buffy were a no-fault situation. He had nothing was her and was lost, and wanted a more intense relationship. Buffy had family, friends, school, Slayer duties, etc., and wanted something calmer. And when he's not having attacks of stupidity, Riley is a good boyfriend. He really is there for her throughout her mother's illness, in whatever way she needs.
But, okay. You have problems with your relationship. Do you, A. Talk to your significant other about your problems, B. Wait until your significant other's mother is away from death's door, and then talk to her about your problems, or C. Tell one of her friends about your problems but not her, and then, while her mother is at death's door, go behind her back and metaphorically cheat on her?
Fandom, as well as the characters on the show, focus on the level of feeling Buffy has for Riley, whether it qualifies as "love", whether she "loves" him as much as he loves her, whether she "loves" him the same way she "loved" Angel and/or the same way she will "love" Spike. One of the most dismaying parts of the confrrontation between Buffy and Riley is when she says, "I've given you everything that I have, I've given you my heart, my body and soul!" And he tells her he doesn't feel it.
I don't think Riley meant to blame Buffy for his choice to let himself get bit. But when someone catches you betraying them and your first response is to explain to them why you did it, which happens to because they aren't passionate enough about you...the framework is that Riley just did an incredibly unloving act to Buffy because he loves her sooooooooooooo much and she doesn't love him. And the onus is on her to prove that she loves him. Because of course he loves her. Even though he just hurt her, and she didn't hurt him.
Well, I guess you always hurt the one you love.
It's worth noting that before going to talk to Buffy, Riley visits Spike and goes from threatening him to drinking with him. The drinking past commences right after Spike observes, "Ain't love grand?" Right after Spike told Riley that if he could, he would kill Riley, someone whom Buffy clearly cares about and relies on regardless of whether or not she's in "love" with him. And Spike would do this why again? Oh, right. He's in love with Buffy.
Here's a question: What would have happened if Riley hadn't been given that offer by the army, that short deadline? What if Buffy had had more time to decide if her relationship with Riley was something worth fighting for? Would they have stayed together? Would they have broken up, anyway?
6. I really, really like Anya and Xander as couple, and I'm not sure why. Because I get why people think he's not the crazy about her. There is a sense of convenience to their relationship. And yet...they clearly have a great sex life, and I love the way they play off of each other. They seem very...comfortable with each other, and that's not a bad thing, you know.