30 days of BTVS, Day 24 : Favorite season 6 episode.
I really love Hell’s Bells. (I also really must hate myself because most of my favorite episodes are the one that hurt me the most).
I love it because it has that perfect whedonian balance between silly/funny and tragic/heartbreak. When I watch it again, I can almost fool myself in the beginning and imagine it is actually a very happy episode about a wedding, romcom style, with demons a really bad bridesmaids dresses. And Sarah Michelle Gellar is really good at entertaining the fooling, every one of her scenes is so funny you can’t imagine your heart is going to break some minutes later.
And I love it because this is maybe the only time that I can’t relate to one of the characters of the show. I get what are Xander’s issues in general. And I love the character, and if he were real he would probably be a dear friend of mine. But I always thought it was unfair. He doesn’t really believe in what the demon shows him. I am almost certain he would have found another excuse not to get married anyway. Because the whole season is about how he doubts his choice, and how he actually isn’t ready to get married. Which is okay, everyone can make mistakes. But, as every character in the season, he just tries to ignore the issue. And he hurts Anya so much doing it. And he even puts it on her, basically, when he acts like it is what he saw in the fake flashforward that convinced him it wasn’t a good idea.
And Anya doubted it too, but she was ready to work for it. She was ready to trust that they would do everything to be happy and that their love was good enough. And, once again, Xander had the right not to love her enough, but he had no right to do it that way. He should have cancelled the wedding a long time ago. He should have shared his fears. He should have done what he could not to hurt the woman he loved. And I mean, all the other mistakes made by all the other characters during all the shows, I can forgive, because they always did their best. But this one ? He didn’t try at all. And I always thought nobody actually called him on it. And it still pisses me off because it is unfair.
And that makes me love the episode even more. Because most shows don’t go there. Most shows don’t make a villain out of the heroes, they can’t make people mess up for real, all the characters always have a lot of reasons to do what they do and the audience is supposed to forgive them. But Xander in that moment is unforgivable, because he knowingly hurt someone by not being able to face his own shortcomings.