This post is also available in: Français
If you watched season 6 of the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then you probably had your little queer soul crushed when the show’s creators killed off Willow’s witchy girlfriend Tara by literally having a misogynist, heterosexual rapist shoot her in the heart (albeit accidentally). A lot of queer fans complained, as the incident continued an unfortunate long-running TV trope of killing off gay characters. But now, Marti Noxon, the showrunner behind Buffy season 6, admits that she regrets killing Tara, saying, “I feel we went too far.”
In an interview with Vulture, Marti Noxon was asked how she feels about the supernatural drama’s feminist legacy, especially since the ex-wife of the show’s creator, Joss Whedon, accused him of having multiple sexual and emotional affairs with young women while working on Buffy.
Noxon replied, “There were parts of season 6 where I feel we went too far. We pushed into some categories that almost felt sadistic and that Buffy was volunteering for things that were beyond just ‘bad choices’ and were almost irresponsible for the character. That may have to do with my own history. [Laughs.] The personal, right? It’s personal. And I think that killing Tara was — in retrospect, of all the people, did she have to die?”
Tara’s death really did screw with Buffy‘s entire audience. For those who didn’t watch, Tara and her girlfriend Willow met in college and both bonded over their shared interest in magic. Tara really never came into her own, only ever being Willow’s supportive girlfriend.
At the start of season 6, Willow resurrects Buffy after her lethal battle with a goddess, Glorificus, season 5’s big bad. Throughout the rest of season 6, Willow gets increasingly addicted to using magic, causing her and Tara to break up after Willow incorrectly uses a spell to wipe everyone’s memory clean, to hilarious and confusing effect.
Slowly, the two reconnect as Willow deals with her addiction. But then — WHAM! — Tara gets shot in the heart by an evil jerk, and Willow is unable to resurrect her because she basically spent all her resurrection powers on Buffy. Great.
Striken by grief and a taste for revenge, Willow then turns super evil (or into “Dark Willow,” as fans call her), basically torturing and then skinning Tara’s murderer alive and then trying to destroy the entire world because of her pain. Luckily, her longtime friend Xander Harris saves the day by appealing to Willow’s (platonic) love for him.
While Tara’s murder disappointed the show’s queer fans and darkened an already dark and somewhat depressing show even moreso, it helped pave the way to Dark Willow, providing the show’s uneven sixth season with a memorable villain that set one of the show’s most beloved bisexual characters against all of her heroic friends.
Pretty badass. Too bad a kind lesbian witch died in the process — Tara and Willow forever.