Xander resurrects Buffy at the end of season one; at the end of season six, he's a carpenter and he's ready to give himself up to save the world. There's a subtle continuity there. However, in season one, vampires can't breathe--in season seven, that's questionable. Why no continuity on something so elemental?
I'm often stunningly indifferent to the obvious, and have only just realized that the First's parade of spectres tormenting Spike early in the season were in fact all the Big Bads from seasons past: the Master, the Mayor, Adam, Glory, Warren. Dru stands in for Angelus, Willow doesn't factor, and Buffy's appearance suddenly becomes mysteriously significant. I guess I was distracted at the time trying to find everyone's relevance to Spike, and they all have one, even if tangential, which is interesting--the mayor's being the most tenuous, as he merely referred to Spike during his brief S3 visit.
Related to Big Bads, it occurred to me the other night that in every single season, we get what might be called a secondary hero--secondary to Buffy--who plays some key role that you may not even think of as traditionally herolike. In season one, Xander saves Buffy, thus contributing directly to Buffy's success in slaying the Master; in season two, Willow resouls Angel, making Buffy's victory more certain, if slightly too late; in season three, everyone contributes ensemble-style to kill the Mayor; in season four, ensemble again to defeat Adam (huh, that's interesting); in season five, Giles kills Ben to ensure Glory's defeat, but as in season two, it's still too late--a portal has opened and some kind of sacrifice is necessary--Buffy this time instead of Angel (and hey, I never noticed the symmetry of *that* either); in season six, it's of course Xander who saves the world outright, taking the spotlight entirely (though in actuality Willow defeated the Geek Trio after flipping from hero to antihero, so you could say it's a shared spotlight).
On an entirely different note: look at who has been ritually bled to open the seal--Xander and Spike. What's that about? And what does it mean that Xander's closure with Anya was achieved in Spike's bed? After he'd declared himself gay, by the way? What's *that* about? Heh. I love how if you elide certain facts, you can twist a story to your ends in so many ways.
This season, Spike moved in with Xander, Xander came out of the closet, and Xander had sex in Spike's bed.
What? It happened.
I waver between a vague sense that they will end this season with some kind of metaphysical closure (for instance, closing the Hellmouth literally), and a suspicion that they will instead shake the world up hard and start fresh with a reinvented mythos of good and evil, slayers and vamps. I lean toward the reinvention idea because I think they are banking on a new series down the line. Barring that, I really believe that ME has the presence of mind to consider their fans, and would enjoy leaving the playing field open for fan-fiction.
God, I need to wake up. I *must* do something with my brain today. I can feel it kicking at the inside of my skull, whining to be let out.