From the moment Buffy has her epiphany on the tower, I start losing it, no matter how often I’ve seen The Gift. Joss Whedon always said that he never worried too much about plot details if he could cut through to the emotional truth. In S5 I think he combined plot and emotional truth incredibly well. While my views on which is the best season are intense but variable, to quote Anya, on a given day S5 is my favorite season.
I’ll start with the ending, because that’s the whole point of the season. Indeed, it’s the whole point of the series. Buffy’s dive off the tower is the end of her journey. As you know, my view is that Buffy’s journey was one of becoming an adult. As I read it, her dive represents the fact that she’s leaving childhood behind and launching herself into the new dimension of adulthood. James Marsters: “Thematically, I think that [Joss] tied up his original premise, which is how does a young child become an adult and pass through adolescence. And all of us vampires are just metaphors for those problems. I think that in the moment that she sacrificed her life to save her sister she became a true adult.”