Why Willow and Kennedy's Relationship Worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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While not the titular character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Alyson Hannigan's Willow Rosenberg was iconic in her time.

She was a best friend, genius hacker, and a powerful witch.

She was a hero to computer nerds who wanted to take back their power because "it's the computer age. Nerds are in!" 

Willow Rosenberg Credit- Buffy the Vampire Slayer

She was also a hero to those struggling with their sexuality.

Willow's relationship with Tara was one the first long-term lesbian relationships on U.S. television.

They were #relationshipgoals times ten. Tara's death was heartbreaking, and many fans agree that Willow should have ended up with her first girlfriend.

Tara Dies. - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Instead, Willow ended the show with a new girlfriend and even newer vampire slayer, Kennedy.

In fact, the majority of Willow's character arc in the final season centered around her "rebound girlfriend." This was disapointing on multiple scales.

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Aside from breaking our shipper hearts to see Willow with anyone other than Tara, viewers may have felt that after her arc in season six, Willow deserved more than for her season seven arc to revolve around her love life.

Remember, season six had Willow struggling with a magic addiction, killing Warren, and almost destroying the world. 

Dark Dark Willow - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Willow's relationship with Kennedy was not where fans expected the story to go for our favorite witch.

The Kennedy character was predictably unpopular after Tara, who she was so different from, but maybe that was the point. A Man, or woman, is judged by the company he/she keeps; who you're with can say a lot about you. 

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Let's take a look back at Willow's romantic history includes: 

Alexander (Xander) Harris, Daniel (Oz) Osbourne, and Tara Maclay.

What do all those relatipnships have in common?

On the surface, nothing, but if we dig a little deeper we find some similarities.

Xander/Willow Nearly Kiss - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Xander was Willow's best friend since they were both in foot pajamas together hanging out in his bed.

He knew her better than anybody, and no matter what was going on, he always cared about her and wanted her in his life.

Willow could more or less be herself with Xander. Their relationship was a friendship first; her crush came second.

Willow Kisses Oz - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Oz was different than Xander. He was cool in a very unintentional way.

In the word of Joss Whedon "Somebody just so cool that he would see how cool Willow was – even if she was wearing a big Eskimo outfit. Because she’s wearing a big Eskimo outfit."

Oz Sees Willow - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Oz sees how cool Willow is just by being herself, and he respects her enough to turn down a kiss and later sex when Willow is offering but not ready.

He's also a major brain, just like our girl. All the things Willow is insecure about, Oz digs.

They have common interests and good conversation.

Tara and Willow - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Then we have Tara.

Tara and Willow first bond over the fact that they are both witches, which is a huge part of Willow's life at this point. They are also both a little shy and awkward, more comfortable in a classroom than at a party or on the battlefield.

Their initial "dates" are practicing spells and hanging out getting to know each other.

On the surface, different, but also a lot alike. Unlike Buffy or Xander who seems to base a lot of their romantic choices on sexual tension, Willow seems to choose partners with common interests which she can feel comfortable around.

She likes people who will value her as an equal and treat her with respect. She bases relationships on comfort, trust, and friendship.

Willow and Tara "I Trust You" - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Xander was comfortable because the two had been friends for so long and knew each other so well.

Without that history, her interest might not have been peaked. Oz and Tara have more in common; they are both quiet, off-to-the-side sort of people.

They are outsiders, though in Oz's case he is more of an outsider by choice.

They are like Willow, both in how she saw herself and how she wanted to see herself. And they saw her and liked what they saw, which always counts.

Introducing Kennedy - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Then you have Kennedy.

She is not shy. She is loud and competitive.

She wants to take charge and she'll speak up if she feels like things are not going the way they should, which is more often than not.

She's not a witch or a brain, and on her first date with Willow, it becomes clear that they don't have that much in common.

She is powerful and fierce in a very obvious way. She's a little dangerous and incredibly pushy. She doesn't seem like Willow's type at all.

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Except Willow's changed. She's gone from the shy and reserved brain to the big guns, to the big bad.

She took a life, and even though Warren deserved it, that still leaves a huge mark.

Willow is still Willow, but she is different. She is powerful in ways that scare her, but she knows she can't just run from her power and pretend it doesn't exist.

She's darker and more dangerous, and she has to find a way to live with who she is now.

Bored Now - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So she meets Kennedy, a girl who is loud and dark and dangerous and unafraid of who she is.

Would the Willow who fell for Xander, Oz, or Tara have been into that? No, probably not. But Willow is different, and so her relationships should be.

Season Seven had a lot going on. There were a mess of new characters, and Spike's whole arc took center stage.

Arguably the season should have spent more time on The Core Four. For whatever reason, they were only able to give Willow, Xander, and Giles limited screentime.

For Willow, the big thing was showing how last season changed her and how she was the same. Her relationship with Kennedy shows us this.

Willow and Kennedy Kiss - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So, was Kennedy the one true love that Willow should have ended up with? Probably not.

But she was more than "rebound girl." She was who it made sense for Willow to be with at the time, and having Willow be with her worked for Willow's character arc.

We wouldn't have believed a new epic love yet anyway; we were still smarting from Tara.

Putting Willow with Kennedy may have been the right choice after all.

What are your thoughts? Share them with me in the comments. Let's discuss!

Leora W is a staff writer for TV Fanatic..

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Quotes

Cordelia: You'll be okay here. If you hang with me and mine, you'll be accepted in no time. Of course, we do have to test your coolness factor. You're from L.A., so you can skip the written. So let's see...vamp nail polish?
Buffy: Over?
Cordelia: So over. James Spader?
Buffy: He needs to call me!
Cordelia: Frappachinos?
Buffy: Trendy but tasty.
Cordelia: Josh Tesh.
Buffy: The devil.
Cordelia: That was pretty much a gimme, but you passed!

Joyce: Okay, have a good time! I know you're going to make friends right away, just think positive.
[Buffy leaves the car]
Joyce: And honey...
[Buffy turns around]
Joyce: Try not to get kicked out.
Buffy: I promise.