Notice how vampires were phased out as the Big Bad by the end of Season 2 of Buffy. You had the Master, Spike, Drusilla and Angelus and, briefly, Mr Trick. Then the next five seasons made way for Gods, Military Hybrids and the First Evil.
This, by the way, is why Season Six is a festering sore on the Buffy series. Nerds! C’mon!!! The Dark Willow villain was way too late to save that doomed plot arc.
Point being that vampires weren’t the threat anymore because – hey – easy kill! And there’s only so many ways you can decapitate, impale or burn a vampire in 40 odd episodes before it becomes passe.
An occassional source of debate between Karen – High Queen of Buffydom – and myself is the method by which the Judge was dispatched midway in Season 2. The rules behind the Judge were that he couldn’t be killed by any weapon forged and she and I infer different interpreations from this.
Karen maintains, and she’s technically correct as the Monster Manual for Buffyverse, which has Joss Whedon’s blessing, explains that since the rocket launcher that blows the Judge to pieces wasn’t forged but assembled, it contravened the rules resulting in its success.
My opinion is that when the lore surrounding the Judge was written, the most devastating weapons were those that were forged and that it’s to give an impression as to how invincible the Judge was. However that was then and this is now and the Judge was only as invunerable as the advancement in the field of weapons research allows.
After all, if no weapon forged could kill the Judge I assume picking up a stout branch or hundred and getting you and your mates to give him a few thousand solid whacks would get the job done. And maybe that’s how it went when they dismembered him the first time.
My point being that a villain was created who, for all intents and purposes, was unbeatable and in that episode – Innocence – how to kill him was about Plot C.
Also I’m a big fan of the “Use A Bigger Gun” strategy.
Harry Dresden carries around this damn hockey stick and the only way I was sure it actually did more than just be a damn stick was the mystic glow that surrounds it at the opening credits. It isn’t until about episode 5 that it actually gets put to use.
Turns out it fires stun bolts. Peachy! I could get the same result just by swinging it someone’s head. Now I can be a wizard too.