“It’s too dangerous! We can ski down these crazy Alps in the morning, but till then, television’s Tina Fey … we must find a way to keep warm.” – Willow to Tina Fey
Issue #10 is an extra long stand-alone story penned by Whedon himself, titled “Anywhere But Here”. The focus has shifted away from Faith and Giles, and back to the core players. Buffy and Willow are off on a mission to enlist the aid of a powerful demon against the threat of Twilight, while Xander and Dawn have some quiet time back at the castle. The overall theme, as reiterated over and over by Sephrilian — a big wormy-looking Tichajt demon with huge teeth, arms, and four faces, who exists in some kind of warped time/space bubble — is that humans are big fat liars who hide things even from the ones they’re most close to. And the Scooby Gang is no exception.
Willow learns that Buffy and the Slayerettes robbed a Swiss bank to acquire the funds they currently use to keep the world safe from demons, which Willow considers the “first domino” in the New Initiative War. Buffy learns that Willow had sex with a mermaid. Xander learns that Dawn did not actually have sex with her thricewise ex-boyfriend, but rather with his roommate — a broody, cigarette-smoking, guitar-playing “bad boy” — and that this is why she was giant-ized. We see a future glimpse of Buffy beaten and bruised, and are told that somebody close to her will betray her.
And then touchingly, we hear Willow’s agonized explanation of why she never brings her girlfriend Kennedy around. On some level, she holds Buffy responsible for the death of Tara. If not for bringing Buffy back to life, her world would not have gotten so chaotic, and Tara would still be alive. Willow seems afraid to ever have to make a bad decision like that again, and her solution — for better or worse — seems to be to keep those parts of her life separate.
On a lighter note, we see several chuckle-worthy fantasy sequences. Buffy on the beach with Daniel Craig. Willow at a ski lodge with “Television’s Tina Fey”. And Buffy in a period piece fantasy with both “Little Women Christian Bale” and “Reign of Fire Christian Bale” at the same time. And even these sequences are poignant, because they show us that Buffy and Willow are more inclined to share semi-embarrassing fantasies such as these with each other than they are to discuss the very serious issues that stand between them as friends.
In the end, the worm demon proves uncooperative, and Buffy and Willow make quick work of it. Then they walk they own separate ways. Which is a sharp contrast to the issue’s opening scene — Buffy clinging to Willow as they fly through the air. Clearly, the truth has NOT set them free, and we are left thinking that the divide between them will only grow wider in the coming days.