“Buffy” Season 6 (2001-02, UPN), episodes 1-17 — “Buffy” (7 p.m. Tuesdays, UPN), in its sixth season, has dropped off a bit from the emotional rollercoaster of Season 3 and the epic challenges of Season 5. Much of Season 6 has been as surreal as Doublemeat Palace, where Buffy flips burgers for bucks between slayings. Sure, we’ve seen the Buffy-Spike liaison, Willow’s magic addiction, Xander leaving Anya at the alter, and the rise of the Brotherhood of Evil Dorks. But the season’s first “wow” moment didn’t come until the most recent episode, “Normal Again.”
A brilliant episode that managed to be self-mocking and depressing while also allowing Sarah Michelle Gellar to act her leather pants off, “Normal Again” posited the notion that Buffy has been in a mental institution for six years, coming up with delusions of vampires and super-friends. While the episode ended with an intriguing scene that suggested that, indeed, it might all be a dream, there are too many contradictions for the theory to hold up. So rather than a cliffhanger, the episode stands as an intriguing oddity like “The Wish” that might find a spot on fans’ Top 10 episode lists.
But the question remains: how will the season end? Whedon and co-producer Marti Noxon have said this year’s finale will be unlike any of the previous seasons. This isn’t much of a clue, but it is interesting to note that each of the previous five seasons have ended with the villain being defeated and Buffy reaffirming her hero status. And in “Normal Again,” Spike made some pointed comments about how Buffy is addicted to the misery of being a tortured hero. A
— John Hansen, ” ‘Buffy’s’ Joss Whedon still full of ideas,” NDSU Spectrum, April 19, 2002