Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E09 – The Wish

In the ninth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia’s heartbreak over Xander’s infidelity causes her to make a wish that Buffy never came to Sunnydale. Whoops! If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

I like “The Wish.” I think it’s a creepy, surreal, and sometimes hilarious take on the concept of parallel universes. I will enjoy any episode that focuses on Cordelia. Never in my life did I think I’d see Willow and Xander as vampires. All of these things are good, and I won’t back down from this.

But Marti Nixon makes, in my opinion, two critical mistakes that bring this episode down from HOLY SHIT FUCKING AMAZING to Well, that was fun. They don’t ruin the story, but I certainly liked it less because of these things:

1) The shift away from Cordelia Chase

I’m happy that this story picks up immediately from the end of “Lovers Walk,” which is also known as “The Episode That Will Destroy Your Heart For The Rest of Your Life.” It’s a smart choice because that last episode is such a monumental chapter in these character’s lives. The cold open focuses initially on Xander and Willow, and, for the first time in the show’s history, gives us a scene where they are both just as irritating as the other. I wasn’t sure why the show insisted on showing us how hard this situation was on Xander and Willow, especially since I did not feel the slightest bit of guilt for their situation. I did not feel sorry for them. They brought this on themselves. Both frame the break up as a tragedy for them, and good god, it’s so annoying.

I came to recognize that this was done on purpose. People do this all the time, and once the show switches over to Cordelia, it makes sense why were shown these scenes in that order. Xander and Willow are upset, sure. Things are awkward. But we see that Cordelia is completely and utterly heartbroken, and it’s this implicit reminder that we should be feeling bad for her. The contrast is so jarring because she’s the one who looks like a wreck. And why shouldn’t she? She sacrificed her social standing to date Xander. She changed more of her outlook on life and her attitude than Xander ever did. She’s the one who truly lost in this situation. We see that when Harmony and her former group of friends reject her almost immediately upon her returning to school.

So I understand how, in that moment of rage and sadness, Cordelia tells Anya that she wishes Buffy had not come to Sunnydale. Is it an irrational wish? Of course it is. She’s blaming Buffy for what’s really the fault of Xander and Willow. That’s what I thought the whole point of this was: the show was revealing the flaw in Cordelia’s logic. By creating a parallel world where this wish is real, Cordelia quickly realizes that SHE HAS MADE A HUGE MISTAKE. Okay, I also must admit that Cordelia’s mistake is really entertaining to me. There’s so much detail to this alternate world! Daylight curfews; no bright clothing allowed; no student driving; A MONTHLY MEMORIAL AT SCHOOL.

It only gets better. THE MASTER IS BACK. WHAT THE FUCK! Giles leads a group of kids called the “White Hats” and they slay vampires! LARRY IS A VAMPIRE SLAYER BLESS YOUR HEART LARRY.

And then Cordelia is eaten by Xander and Cordelia. Is it a shocking plot twist? It most certainly is. The show technically kills off a main character. (Actually, by the episode’s end, every main character aside from Giles is killed. Weird.) But I don’t know if the twist has any value aside from being shocking. The whole point of this alternate universe is to show Cordelia that she needs to assign blame where it needs to go. That’s half the entertainment and half the humor. It’s the whole dynamic of it. As soon as she’s killed, the story loses it’s life. It’s still fascinating to watch in a way, especially since I’m left wondering how it’ll all be resolved. It’s neat to see who else makes a cameo appearance, too. But this was a Cordelia-centric story, and you just eliminated her point-of-view halfway through.

Things switch to Giles for the most part, and while I won’t deny seeing him as the hidden Watcher rushing to save Sunnydale, it’s just not the same. But in order to explain this, I need to bring up my other point:

2) No one remembers anything

Before I get to my thesis, let me just say that I love the scene at the plant. That machine is one of the most fucked up things this show has ever put on the screen, and the final battle with Buffy, Angel, Larry, and Oz is brilliantly shot. There’s so much emotional weight to it, too! Watching Xander and Willow be staked is haunting and unsettling, even if we know that they’re not really dead. Buffy’s death is just plain upsetting to me. (Interesting that the Codex still comes true in this reality. DUN DUN DUN.) When Giles destroys Anyanka’s amulet, I waited to see how this would be addressed.

It’s simply erased. Logistically, it seems to make sense. Giles said that destroying Anyanka’s power center would un-do all the wishes she granted, so that’s technically what this does. So I get that this had to happen in one way of thinking.

In terms of these characters, though? It stinks. I hate it. No one learns anything. No one remembers anything. Nothing happened. No one grew, no one became a better person, and the only person who could have possibly gleamed a message from all of this is the audience. I think I would have preferred a barely tolerable explanation that kept the ramifications of that parallel world in someone’s mind. I suppose that since Cordelia died in her wish, it was inevitable that all of this wouldn’t matter. But I’m just not a fan of stories that don’t matter. Why tell them if they just disappear and if they have no lasting effects?

Still, I liked “The Wish,” if only for the chance to see more Cordelia and to watch Marti Nixon bring this fucked up version of Sunnydale to life. It makes up for the ending of the episode, though I may never heal from Xander and Willow being sexy, leather-wearing vampires. How weird.

Death Count: Look, I don’t fucking know. None of it counts! It all doesn’t matter! So what are your thoughts on this? Do I count the bazillion characters who die on screen?

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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489 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E09 – The Wish

  1. Sadie_TARDIS says:

    Ah, "The Wish". Definitely in my category of "different" episodes that really go above and beyond the ordinary narrative, nyfb vapyhqvat "Uhfu", "Gur Obql", "Bapr Zber Jvgu Srryvat", "Abezny Ntnva", naq cebonoyl "Fgbelgryyre" naq "Pbairefngvbaf jvgu Qrnq Crbcyr". Sbe zr, guvf vf gur rcvfbqr jurer Ohssl ernyyl fubjf jung vg pna qb.

    The final scene is obviously waiting to be mentioned as one of the most powerful in the series; only an episode of a Joss Whedon show involves the entire main cast of the show killing each other, and make it beautiful. For me, one of the things that stands out most is the direction keeping the main characters from reacting too much to one anothers deaths; Oz shoves Willow on that stake just as he would any other vampire, Buffy barely spares Angel's death a glance, and, after staking Xander, actually turns away before he dusts. It's just such a powerful reminder that these people don't know each other, that they're not the characters we know and love, and that so much is dependent on one little change, and that maybe, somewhere in another universe, Richard Wilkins and Darla and Drusilla are drinking tea and slaying monsters while our characters wreak havoc in their lives. Once the possibility of an alternate universe is broached, that concept can never really be taken back, and there's no telling what could happen. Something else I find very powerful about this installment is that our versions of the characters don't remember it; at the end, there's no lesson learned about making deals with demons or being good friends. For us, and for us alone, the curtain is wrenched away and we see the other side, but the characters don't. The same mistake might be made again, which is terrifying and exciting all at once.

    One thing that I've always had a question about is the logistics of what Giles actually achieved by destroying Anya's necklace; if one "small" wish could end the world, how is it that ALL of her many years of wish-granting being reversed didn't change the world the characters live in to some degree? Seriously, in all that time, Cordelia was the first person to make a wish with far-reaching effects? It just sounds odd to me, and like something the writers didn't think through all the way when they wrote that line.

    Something else that's so incredibly poignant is seeing how very different these characters can be; Giles is remarkably the same, barring circumstances, and so are Angel and Oz, but Willow? School nerd become a sadist to rival Angelus at his worst? Buffy more hardened and cynical than Faith and Kendra put together? This is some phenomenal writing and acting. Another thing that jumped out at me was the fact that this episode illustrated what I see as the fundamental difference between Cordelia and Buffy; when Cordelia feels lost, abandoned, hurt, or traumatized, her defense mechanism in to dress up, play the part, and act as if everything is perfect, which probably has contributed a great deal towards her long-standing snarky-evil-top-of-the-social-heap persona, while Buffy, as illustrated abundantly in past episodes, dresses down, huddles in on herself, and tries to disappear, which is probably the reason that her queen status in her previous school fell apart so quickly after she discovered she was the Slayer; she couldn't go on playing the part in the midst of all her new personal turmoil. Ah, subtle character development, how I love you.

    I could go on about the brilliance of the episode in general; the amazingly desolated set pieces, a whole world constructed around one person's absence from one small town. But everyone else saw it, and I don't have to wax eloquent; suffice it to say that this episode is close to the very, very top of my Buffy list. And then, of course, there's this line to top it all off:

    "Some have argued that such an advancement goes against our nature. They claim that death is our art. I say to them… well, I don't say anything to them because I kill them."

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    • Danny_SAP says:


    • glyneth says:

      Well remember that Anyanka's specialty is getting revenge on men who have done women wrong. Not that a change there couldn't have far-reaching effects, but mostly I'd imagine the men getting the raw end of the deal, there. Boils, warts, things falling off, etc.

      • Sadie_TARDIS says:

        True, but considering the fact that fur'f orra nebhaq sbe pybfr ba n zvyyraavhz, vg frrzf sne-srgpurq gung Pbeqryvn jbhyq or gur svefg tvey va uvfgbel gb znxr n zber rkgenintnag jvfu juvyr qrnyvat jvgu ebznagvp cnva. Whfg vzntvar ubj fperjrq-hc rirelguvat jbhyq unir orra vs gur jvfu nobhg nyy zra prnfvat gb rkvfg jbhyq unir pbzr gehr; lbh'er gryyvat zr gung ab bgure jbzna va n gubhfnaq lrnef bs jvfu-znxvat rire fnvq fbzrguvat yvxr gung gb Nalnaxn? Vg frrzf yvxr n qrzba jvgu ure ibpngvba bcrengvat sbe gung ybat jbhyq unir punatrq gur ragver snoevp bs ernyvgl ol guvf cbvag. Whfg zr?

        • glyneth says:

          Jryy vs fbzrbar jvfurq nyy zra gb prnfr gb rkvfg, gura Nalnaxn jbhyqa'g unir n wbo nalzber? :Q

        • cait0716 says:

          V fbeg bs snaxjnax guvf njnl nf gur nzhyrg bayl haqbvat gur pheerag jvfu. Fb vs, fnl, Byns unq tbggra uvf unaq ba gur nzhyrg naq oebxra vg, ur jbhyq unir ghearq onpx vagb n zna. Npghnyyl, gung'f n onq rknzcyr orpnhfr fur ghearq uvz vagb n gebyy orsber fur jnf n iratrnapr qrzba. Ohg, V guvax vg znxrf frafr? Naljnl, V guvax guvf jvfu bayl ernyyl nssrpgrq Pbeqryvn. Fur tbg genafcbegrq gb guvf nygreangr jbeyq, naq unq vg fghpx fur jbhyq unir whfg qvfnccrnerq sebz gur bevtvany jbeyq. Ohg gur erfg bs gurz jbhyq unir pbagvahrq gb tb nobhg vg. Fvapr Tvyrf jnf sbphfrq ba gur jvfu Pbeql znqr jura ur fhzzbarq Nalnaxn naq oebxr gur nzhyrg, ur fnirq ure yvsr ol jvcvat bhg guvf nygreangr ernyvgl jurer fur qvrq.

        • emstar says:

          Perhaps its because they smashed it IN the other reality? Like if she had gone on to grant a bunch more wishes inside of that reality they would also had been reversed. She just hadn’t been kicking around that Cordelia created dimension long enough? Reaching maybe but I’m choosing that answer! Hehe

        • settlingforhistory says:

          Nf jr frr n punenpgre bs gur Jvfuirefr yngre va Qbccrytäatynaq gur nygreangr havirefr zhfg fgvyy rkvfg. Zl gurbel vf gung Pbeql naq Nalnaxn jrer fvzcyl chyyrq bhg bs vg jura Nalnaxn'f nzhyrg gung unq yrq gurz gurer jnf qvfgeblrq.
          Gung zrnaf gur jvfurf jbhyq abg or erirefrq, ohg gur bar jub jvfurq jbhyq tb onpx gb vf bevtvany havirefr. Fbzrjurer gurer vf cebonyl n havirefr jvgubhg zra naq nf gurer ner na vasvavgr ahzore bs cnenyyry havirefrf, gur npghny Ohsslirefr fvzcyl rkvgf nybatfvqr vg.
          Fb gur jbzna jub pnhfrq gur Ehffvna eribyhgvba jbhyq unir unq gb qrfgebl gur nzhyrg urefrys va beqre gb renfr gur rirag sebz guvf havirefr, ohg gurer jbhyq fgvyy or n havirefr jurer vg unccraq.

    • NB2000 says:

      Buffy barely spares Angel's death a glance

      And just strides through the dust like it's not even there. That's the part that gets me.

    • emstar says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with you on this episode Sadie, well said. Also I appreciate that its an episode which takes you out of the current world that the scoobies are in and gives the audience some time to “breathe” after the life-laltering decisions the characters have made in Lovers Walk. I want the Oz, Willow, Cordelia, and Xander to stay in that pain for a little while (since the reality of Joss Whedons characters is one of the major draws of the show) and I think if people were learning lessons so early in the game it would start to negate that pain too quickly. These people effed up and they should have to sit with that quilt for an eipsode or two. The Wish is a nice way to get us some action and drama without letting anyone start to crawl out of the quagmire the ‘real’ scoobies have gotten themselves into.

      This is one of my all time favourite episodes: heartbreaking drama at the end, a fully fleshed alternate reality, a hard assed uber cynical buffy and (of course) vg frgf hc na rivy Jvyybj gb erghea va Qbccrytnatynaq.

    • Nos says:

      You forgot "Erfgyrff" :p

    • robin_comments says:

      "how is it that ALL of her many years of wish-granting being reversed didn't change the world the characters live in to some degree?"
      My fanwank here is that it only reversed the last wish — the wish that had created the scenario in which the necklace was destroyed. I don't think Giles has an in depth grasp on vengeance demon mechanics.

    • notemily says:

      when Cordelia feels lost, abandoned, hurt, or traumatized, her defense mechanism in to dress up, play the part, and act as if everything is perfect, which probably has contributed a great deal towards her long-standing snarky-evil-top-of-the-social-heap persona, while Buffy, as illustrated abundantly in past episodes, dresses down, huddles in on herself, and tries to disappear, which is probably the reason that her queen status in her previous school fell apart so quickly after she discovered she was the Slayer; she couldn't go on playing the part in the midst of all her new personal turmoil. Ah, subtle character development, how I love you.

      I love this observation! And it shows how important things like costuming are.

    • Ophiucha says:

      "Seriously, in all that time, Cordelia was the first person to make a wish with far-reaching effects? It just sounds odd to me, and like something the writers didn't think through all the way when they wrote that line."

      How can we really know that she was the only one ever? I mean, things of catastrophic effect have happened in small areas, even world wide. How much of speculative fiction is about that very idea, that these things were not unexpected or unknown disasters? How can we know that Anyanka or another demon wasn't at – say – Roanoke? Maybe a German girl in the 1920s wished her cheating boyfriend was dead, and maybe, in another world, that boyfriend runs his car over Goebbels, but since she wished him away, that man was in power. Given that Anyanka's amulet was only just destroyed, I'd think it is safe to assume that many of the wishes she granted were never reversed and maybe the world they live in is the result of those wishes, and any other magics like hers?

      Buffy's disappearance was no doubt quite spectacular, maybe it's even the most interesting *Anyanka's* ever seen, but I doubt it's the first time anything catastrophic has ever occurred as a result of a wish in this world. Just my thoughts, anyway. I probably overthink things and watch too many shows about time travel. :p

  2. Jenny_M says:




    • alz says:

      Interesting, I don't think I've ever heard anyone else quote this episode…

    • Hyaroo says:

      One thing that I've always had a question about is the logistics of what Giles actually achieved by destroying Anya's necklace; if one "small" wish could end the world, how is it that ALL of her many years of wish-granting being reversed didn't change the world the characters live in to some degree? Seriously, in all that time, Cordelia was the first person to make a wish with far-reaching effects?

      Obviously, I'm not the writers in question (and it's been a while since I even saw this episode), so this is just going to be pure speculation and might be completely wrong, but with the whole "parallel universe" vibe going on, I more or less imagined that any wish of that magnitude didn't alter reality so much as it created a new reality — and then you had two parallel realities; one specifically tailored to meet the standards of the wish as it had been made, and one where the wish was never made in the first place.

      So what alternate-Giles really did when breaking Anyanka's power center was… destroy an unknown number of parallel worlds that had been created from her power, including his own. Hmm…. that's kinda… dark, innit?

    • Delta1212 says:

      It's my favorite, too.

  3. settlingforhistory says:

    The Wish is clearly in my top ten of best Buffy episodes, maybe even in the top five.
    Some things I really love and some things I’ve noticed after several re-watches:

    It’s so sad the way Cordy tries to be her old self and that it doesn’t work, because her superficial friends have chosen a new leader in Harmony. They don’t need her anymore and I think she has changed enough to no longer fit in with them.

    Naln vf zhpu zber qrzbal guna fur vf yngre, znlor orpnhfr jr qba’g xabj ure lrg, ohg jura fur svtugf jvgu Tvyrf V guvax fur vf npghnyyl fpnel. Jura jr frr ure nf n qrzba yngre fur vf zber shaal guna rivy.

    The small changes even before we figure out what’s going on are so perfect and subtle: Winter Brunch, the colors, garlic on lockers, the crosses everyone wears, really small classes, and monthly memorials.

    Anya and Cordy’s meeting is quite similar to Cordy meeting Buffy in the pilot, but now Cordelia is in Willow’s shoes. She and the new girl are still bonding over fashion.

    It’s funny how without Buffy people of Sunnydale finally have to stop denying the existence of demons. Still people are living there, but maybe they can’t get out. *shiver*

    ”Oberq abj” Bu tbq, gung yvar ol Jvyybj jvyy or zhpu fpnevre va frnfba fvk.

    The scene with Angel is so disturbing, Angelus would maybe have deserved this, but Angel here hasn’t even killed Jenny, he has just waited for Buffy to arrive.

    (V ybir gung Ohssl jnf va Pyrirynaq gur jubyr gvzr, ng gur bgure Uryyzbhgu.)

    Sarah looks awfully thin, no idea why, but I like the effect it has on her overall appearance as a hardened warrior.

    They should have brought Jessie back for this episode, but maybe there was no reason to turn him as bait without the Slayer there and they just killed him.

    That machine really freaks me out; getting killed this way is so much worse than a vampire bite.

    The way Angel dies is the same way he is sent to hell and mirrors Buffy’s dream even more.
    His last word is always “Buffy”.

    I love that slow-mo sequence and the music is so eerie.

    So the prophesy got fulfilled anyway, but this time there is no chance to bring Buffy back and her death is so much more brutal.

    V'z fb tynq gur jevgref qvqa'g qrpvqr gb znxr Nalln fvzcyl n zbafgre bs gur jrrx.
    Fur vf fhpu n terng punepgre naq V'z unccl fur'f svanyyl urer.

    Vg'f shaal gung Pbeql'f jvfu jbhyq unir nssrpgrq crbcyr bhgfvqr bs Fhaalqnyr, ohg Fcvxr', Snvgu', Xraqen'f yvsrf jbhyq unir orra pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag, abg gb zragvba gung bs nyy gur crbcyr va gur Vavgvngvir naq Gnen jbhyq fgvyy or jvgu ure njshy snzvyl.

    Stuff I’d still love some fanwank to:

    Nf jr gur Jvfuirefr fgvyy rkvfg nsgre Tvyrf qrfgeblf gur nzhyrg, fb qvq Naln perngr vg be whfg fraq Pbeql gb vg?

    Qvq Pbeql abg erzrzore orpnhfr fur qvrq be orpnhfr ure jvfu jnf erirefrq?
    Qvq Naln erzrzore vg?

    Would Kendra still be called as the new Slayer even though Buffy died years later?
    Also, does Faith have a better life now that she isn’t the Slayer?
    Fur qvqa'g unir gur orfg puvyqubbq nf sne nf xabj, ohg ng yrnfg ure Jngpure jbhyqa#g unir orra xvyyrq vasebag bs ure.

    Angel still saw Buffy being called, so didn’t Whistler know where she would go to?
    Jnf vg n pubvpr orgjrra gur gjb uryyzbhgurf rira va gur "erny" Ohsslirefr?

    Fcvxr jbhyq unir sbyybjrq Ohssl gb Pyrirynaq, evtug?
    Gurer jnf abguvat va Fhaalqnyr sbe uvz rkprcg gur uryyzbhgu naq ur pbhyq unir gung va Pyrirynaq, gbb.

    • dazyndara says:

      ”Oberq abj”


    • cait0716 says:

      "Winter Brunch" was a perfect detail


      V guvax Naln perngrq vg jura Pbeql jvfurq vg. Fur frrzf gb vzcyl guvf yngre jura fur'f gnyxvat nobhg gur jbeyq jvgubhg fuevzc va Fhcrefgne. Vg vf jrveq gung vg fgvyy rkvfgf, nygubhtu ure fcryy nyfb frrzf gb or qbvat n ovg bs n grzcbeny guvat fvapr gurl tb onpx gb orsber Jvyybj tbg fgnxrq. Znlor fur perngrq, yvxr, n havirefr ohooyr. Vg'f n jubyr, cbchyngrq havirefr, ohg vg bayl rkvfgf sbe guerr qnlf (naq vg rkvfgf va gubfr guerr qnlf va crecrghvgl, V pbhyq trg vagb jrveq culfvpf fghss ohg V'q engure abg)

      V qba'g guvax Pbeql erzrzorerq gur jvfu, ohg Naln zhfg unir. Be znlor fur qht nebhaq naq svtherq bhg jung unq unccrarq bapr fur ernyvmrq ure nzhyrg jnf zvffvat.

    • robin_comments says:

      Zl snajnax vf gung gur Jvfuirefr qbrfa'g rkvfg nalzber, orpnhfr jnf n erjevgr bs gur 'erny' bevtvany OgIF havirefr — Naln genafsbezrq gur OgIF havirefr vagb gung, vafgrnq bs zbivat Pbeql sebz havirefr gb havirefr. Gung onfvp nygreangr havirefr fpranevb zvtug rkvfg fbzrjurer, vs lbh ubyq gur vqrn bs gurer orvat n zhygvghqr bs nygreangr havirefrf, ohg vg jbhyqa'g unir n Pbeqryvn Punfr fhqqragyl npgvat bhg bs punenpgre naq oevatvat Ohssl gb Fhaalqnyr va guvf snfuvba. Naln npprffrf vg n srj rcvfbqrf yngre ivn n "grzcbeny sbyq" — ABG havirefr ubccvat ohg tbvat onpx va gvzr gb jura gung JNF gur ernyvgl hagvy Tvyrf haqvq vg.

      Naln vf qrsvavgryl zber fpnel naq vagvzvqngvat urer guna yngre va gur frevrf. (Gubhtu V'q nethr gung fur'f fgvyy cerggl qrzbal va Qbccyrtnatynaq nf jryy, qrfcvgr orvat genafsbezrq zbegny. Pbzcyrgryl sbphfrq ba frys-tengvsvpngvba jvgu ab pbaprea sbe uhzna yvsr. Ure qrirybczrag bs rzcngul gnxrf gvzr, nf fur'f fbpvnyvmrq guebhtu pbagvahrq pbagnpg jvgu gur Fpbbovrf.)

    • notemily says:

      I honestly never understood the Winter Brunch thing until I read this comment and it clicked.

      Vg’f shaal ubj jvgubhg Ohssl crbcyr bs Fhaalqnyr svanyyl unir gb fgbc qralvat gur rkvfgrapr bs qrzbaf. Fgvyy crbcyr ner yvivat gurer, ohg znlor gurl pna’g trg bhg. *fuvire*
      Znlor gur Znlbe xrrcf gurz sebz yrnivat. Vg vf UVF gbja.

    • GamgeeFest says:

      As I understand it, Slayers are called when they're a certain age, so if Buffy was older when she died, then it probably would have skipped Kendra and gone straight to Faith.

      V'z onfvat guvf bss Xraarql'f nffhzcgvba va frnfba 7 gung gur lbhatre gur fynlre, gur orggre, naq gung fur sryg fur jnf nyernql gbb byq gb or pnyyrq. Gurer'f nyfb n qrsvavgr qvssrerapr va nggvghqr orgjrra gur lbhatre Ohssl bs frnfba 2 jub fnpevsvprf Natry gb fnir gur jbeyq, naq gur byqre Ohssl va frnfba 5 jub jbhyq abg pbagrzcyngr jngpuvat ure fvfgre qvr gb fnir gur jbeyq. Bs pbhefr, fur fjvatf onpx nebhaq gb orvat jvyyvat gb fnpevsvpr gubfr fur ybirf va frnfba 7, ohg ol gura gur fgnxrf ner fb zhpu uvture.

    • g_aurelia says:

      They should have brought Jessie back for this episode, but maybe there was no reason to turn him as bait without the Slayer there and they just killed him.

      I'm not sure about the timing, but he may have been doing Six Feet Under at this point.

  4. hpfish13 says:

    Unsurprisingly this is #5 in Joss Whedon’s top twelve episodes he didn’t write, and here’s why:

    “Dark, dark and dark, with just a little bit of darkness thrown in. Cyhf, gur svefg nccrnenapr bs “Oberq abj.” Xander’s hand on the back of Willow’s head when they bite Cordelia. This is where we enter the tunnel, by way of the looking-glass.”

    What struck me on this rewatch was how much I still cared about the AU characters. Seeing Willow get impaled by Oz hurt to watch. And that’s just one horrible thing in a whole episode of horrible. But all this horribleness is entirely entertaining and makes you appreciate the actual universe even more.

    I don’t have a lot to say about this episode, other than that it is amazing, and such an interesting exploration of the little (and huge) ways a single person’s presence (or lack of presence) makes a difference on many people’s lives.

    Nyfb, NALN!!!!!! Frpbaq snibevgr punenpgre va nyy bs gur Ohssl-irefr!!!! Abj V ernyyl pna’g jnvg sbe Qbccrytnatynaq.

    And the official episode information is
    Episode 9: The Wish
    Written by Marti Noxon, Directed by David Greenwalt
    Original Airdate: 12/8/98
    “Cordelia finds out you must be careful what you wish for. When she tells her new friend Anya that Buffy is to blame for all her problems, Cordelia unleashes a demon that only Buffy can save her from.”

    That is one misleading summary…at least the second half is.

    • cait0716 says:

      I love Xander and Willow's kiss through Cordy's next. It is strangely erotic, which is exactly how I like my erotic (and why I flock to vampire literature)

    • tanbarkie says:

      "When she tells her new friend Anya that Buffy is to blame for all her problems, Cordelia unleashes a demon that only Buffy can save her from.”

      To be fair, this is accurate. What the summary doesn't mention is that Buffy isn't there to save her. πŸ˜€

    • robin_comments says:

      "What struck me on this rewatch was how much I still cared about the AU characters. Seeing Willow get impaled by Oz hurt to watch."
      That upsets me sooo much. Every time I watch it. naq gur frpbaq gvzr, nsgre jr'ir tbggra gb xabj inzcver Jvyybj orggre, rira JBEFR. (V tbg fb nggnpurq! V nz yvxr Jvyybj, V jnag gb vzntvar ure ehaavat jvyq naq serr fbzrjurer, univat n punapr… bx fb fur rngf crbcyr JUNGRIRE. V QB ABG PNER. VYH INZCVER JVYYBJ. V JBHYQ TVIR LBH UHTF VS LBH JBHYQ NYYBJ VG JVGUBHG QENVAVAT ZR QEL.)

    • Jae says:

      By the way, where are you getting these Joss quotes? I'd love to review the whole list (and I have no idea which ones I've missed by now πŸ˜‰ .

      • hpfish13 says:

        They are from the episode guide that came with my copy of the chosen collection. I don't have time to post the full reasons at the moment (maybe later?), but briefly, the previous episodes are The Pack, Ted, Passion, and I Only Have Eyes For You.

    • Nutty says:

      <3 <3 <3 NALN <3 <3 <3

  5. Jul gryy gurz vs gurl whfg qvfnccrne naq vs gurl unir ab ynfgvat rssrpgf?
    Bu, Znex. Lbh qba'g ernyvmr lbh whfg zrg n jbaqreshy arj znwbe punenpgre! Bar jub unf svarffr pbzvat bhg bs ure obggbz!

    • dazyndara says:

      V xabj evgr! Bar bs gur orfg punenpgref RINE, naq ur qbrfa'g rira erznex!

    • Sophi says:

      Svarffr sybjf sebz ure tragyl, yvxr fcrpvny fpragrq gbvyrg cncre sebz ure obggbz gb lbhef.

      Rkprcg cebonoyl orggre sbe gur raivebazrag.

      Naq ubcrshyyl abg hfrq.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Rira snaf jub qba'g yvxr Gur Jvfu, whfg unir gb ybir vg sbe Naln.
      Gung vf nyy gur ynfgvat rssrpgf gung jr arrq, V guvax. V'z fb rkpvgrq gung fur vf svanyyl urer gb fgnl.

    • VicarPants says:

      Bu, vfa'g ur tbvat gb srry fvyyl, yngre.

      *bites lip*

    • robin_comments says:

      vxe? guvf vf na njrfbzr fyrngu punenpgre vagebqhpgvba rcvfbqr! cyhf, inzcver jvyybj gheaf bhg gb or pubpx shyy bs sberfunqbjvat sbe bhe onol jvgpu. Znex jvyy or rngvat uvf jbeqf yngre ba guvf frnfba, jba'g ur?

  6. Kickpuncher says:

    The show technically kills off a main character


    No one remembers anything. Nothing happened. No one grew, no one became a better person, and the only person who could have possibly gleamed a message from all of this is the audience.



  7. Mary Sue says:

    Ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause for the real star of this episode: Willow's corset.

    Me? Shallow?
    I'm okay with that.

  8. misterbernie says:

    I wanted to write thoughts on this, but then I got sick :/

    So I'll just state HOLY FUCK I LOVE THE WISH SO MUCH
    And that I actually like that nobody learns any lessons because I severely dislike the standard AU where everybody leaves wiser and with more appreciation for shit.

    German title: Was wäre wenn – 'What if' (or most literally, 'what would be if').

    • Jenny_M says:

      Yep, my favorite kind of AU stories are AU stories where like…it is literally an AU. Nobody in the "real" reality remembers anything about the AU.

      Mostly I just love the AU genre because I think it gives writers SO MUCH ROOM TO PLAY.

      (Now "AU" doesn't look like a real thing anymore and I keep going "Au, au, au!" out loud.)

    • enigmaticagentscully says:


      Having no consequences means that this episode was kind of like an extended 'what if?' fanfiction…and I am 100% OK with that. I'm thrilled just to see our characters live out different lives in different circumstances without it having to have any impact on our canon storyline.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Makes me think of Timothy Dalton's beautiful line in "The Lion in Winter" (1968 version): "'What if' is a game for scholars." (OMG, that fucking movie is one of the best things that ever happened on a screen! Anyone who hasn't seen it should watch it immediately!)

    • notemily says:

      Aw, I hope you feel unsick soon.

      Also, I really like that German title!

  9. Danny_SAP says:

    XANDER I’ve left a few messages. Sixty… Seventy… But you know what really bugs me? Okay, we kissed. It was a mistake. But I know that was positively the last time we were ever gonna kiss. WILLOW Darn tootin’! XANDER And they burst in, rescuing us, without even knocking? I mean, this is really all their fault. BUFFY Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic. XANDER Mine is much more advanced.

    This recap is focused mainly on Evil Willow because, I mean, hello… but I do want to note that Xander being pissed off and feeling like… vindictive that Cordelia is mad at him and won’t return his calls is unbelievable. I’d actually forgotten how much of an extra-special douchebag he is in this episode. And also, if they hadn’t found you out, that would not have been the last time you two kissed. Because you two are awful and only feel bad because you got caught.

    Head to toe pleather never looked so good.

    WILLOW Oz, wait. Please? What I did… When I think that I hurt you… OZ Yeah. You said all this stuff already. WILLOW Right, but… I wanna make it up to you. I mean, if you let me, I wanna try. OZ Just… You can leave me alone. I need to figure things out. WILLOW But maybe if we talk about it, we could… OZ Look… I’m sorry this is hard for you. But I told you what I need. So I can’t help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can feel better about yourself. That’s not my problem.

    So Oz is pretty much flawless, y/y?

    WILLOW Bored now. This is the part that’s less fun. When there isn’t any screaming.


    Sure, it’s the “evil sexual deviants” trope but… um… how hot is this?

    MASTER You killed the girl that sought the Slayer? XANDER It was too easy. WILLOW I felt cheap.

    I remember finding a buffy .wav file site and listening to this one over and over and over again.

    (This recap is apparently too long. Continued in the reply.)

    • Danny_SAP says:

      <img src="; />

      WILLOW So, you're pleased? MASTER Ecstatic. WILLOW Then… can I play with the puppy? MASTER Ooo. Be my guest.

      PUPPPPPPIEEEES!!!!!! So Marti Noxon knows that puppy play is a thing, right? There's no way she could write this scene without knowing. NNNNnnng.
      <img src="; />

      Willow: Bored now. She walks over to the wall of whips, chains and other instruments of torture. Willow: Daytime's the worst. (runs her hand over the leather) Cooped up for hours. Can't hunt. She takes a pair of iron shears and clinks it along the bars of the cell. Willow: But the Master said I could play. Inside the figure begins to stir. Willow: Isn't that fun, Puppy? She unlocks the cell door and swings it in. Willow: Aw… Puppy's being all quiet. Come on. Don't be a spoilsport. The man groans as she straddles him. She grabs him by the hair and jerks his head up. It's Angel, and he moans from the rough treatment. He seems constantly short of breath. Willow: Guess what today is? She runs the tip of the shears along his chin and down his throat. Willow: Today the plant opens. It's a big party. She licks him from the base of his ear to his forehead and runs her sharp fingernails along his neck. Willow: You remember I told you about the plant? All those people you tried to save? It's gonna be quick for them. Not for you, though. It's gonna be slow for you. She flips him over onto his back and straddles his stomach. He lets out a painful moan. Willow: That's right, Puppy… Willow's gonna make you bark. (smiles)

      I wanted to leave the Buffy-vs-Angel descriptions in because it is SUCH HOT GOD DAMN SMUT.
      <img src="; />

      MASTER She's still alive, you see, for the freshness.

      I love how excited and nerdy Mark Metcalf plays The Master
      <img src="; />
      Nicely made creeptastic killing machine, propmaster.
      <img src="; />
      Continuing my series of neck snapping screen caps. This end scene is another .wav file I listened to a lot… though I'm not really sure why. I guess that's what we did when we didn't have bootleg VHS tapes.
      Transcripts modified from Buffy-vs-Angel.

    • cait0716 says:

      <3 Vampire Willow.

      And, yes, Oz is flawlewss

    • _Bailey_ says:

      "Knaqre orvat cvffrq bss naq srryvat yvxr… ivaqvpgvir gung Pbeqryvn vf znq ng uvz naq jba'g erghea uvf pnyyf vf haoryvrinoyr. V'q npghnyyl sbetbggra ubj zhpu bs na rkgen-fcrpvny qbhpuront ur vf va guvf rcvfbqr."

      Ur'f whfg nf onq sbe gur erfg bs gur frnfba. Ur erterffrf gb frnfba bar, bayl guvf gvzr bire Pbeql vafgrnq bs Ohssl.

      Naq V svaq "Gur Mrccb" jbefr sbe Knaqre orvat n qbhpuront. Lrf, Pbeql'f orvat zrna, ohg LBH PURNGRQ BA URE NAQ OEBXR URE URNEG. Gung zrnaf lbh ner abg nyybjrq gb "evfr nobir" ure gnhagf gur jnl Knaqre qbrf ng gur raq bs guvf rcvfbqr — rfcrpvnyyl abg vs ur fgvyy fhccbfrqyl srryf onq nobhg vg/unf srryvatf sbe ure. V'z abg gelvat gb whfgvsl Pbeql'f npgvbaf, ohg V svaq Knaqre'f nggvghqr gbjneq ure rira zber ercerurafvoyr.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Gur bar guvat V ungrq nobhg Gur Mrccb unf abguvat gb qb jvgu Gur Mrccb vgfrys – ohg gur snpg gung, arkg rcvfbqr pbzrf nybat, naq Knaqre vf onpx gb rknpgyl nf ur jnf ng gur fgneg bs Gur Mrccb. Vg'f bar bs gubfr rcvfbqrf gung qba'g punatr nalguvat, rira gubhtu gurl'er nyy yvxr "naq gura V yrnearq n inyhnoyr yrffba!" V qvfyvxr rcvfbqrf yvxr gung ba cevapvcyr.

        Bgure guna gung, jryy, V'yy gnyx nobhg zl gubhtugf ba Gur Mrccb jura jr trg gurer.

    • notemily says:

      Oz IS flawless. I didn't know ANYONE who approached relationships in such a healthy way when I was his age.

      I love all your screencaps especially the first two.

  10. haguenite says:

    I love this episode so much. For Vamp!Xander and Vamp!Willow and the terrible, terrible machine, and showing just how awful not just Sunnydale is without Buffy, but how awful Buffy is without Sunnydale, Giles, and her Scoobies. It really shows the impact on both sides. And that slow-motion scene with everyone killing people they love in the real reality? Fantastic.

    I really don't have the same problems with it Mark does. I think the focus stays on Cordy long enough (but then I can only adore Cordy in certain amounts: it's too easy to gorge on her) and though I'm not generally a fan of retconny stuff, I think it works here and it doesn't need to be a learning experience. Different strokes, eh?

    • tanbarkie says:

      It's interesting, because at the time the episode came out, Cordy's death was a huge subversion of the usual handling of this story type (which is similar to what Mark's expectations seem to have been): that the whole point of the alternate universe is to teach the one character who remembers the "real world" a lesson, It's a Wonderful Life-style. There must have been dozens of 90s scifi episodes that followed that basic outline.

  11. dazyndara says:

    Poor Cordelia, I just want to give her all the hugs. Specially when Harmony et al. are so mean to her :S

    Nyfb Naln LNL! Frrvat ure urer znxrf zr fb rkpvgrq sbe shgher rcvp dhbgrf, ohg nyfb fb fnq jvgu gur jubyr Knaqre jrqqvat fgbelyvar πŸ™

  12. erinmarie says:

    Xander and Willow, PLEASE STOP. THIS BEHAVIOR IS NOT CUTE OR ENDEARING IN THE SLIGHTEST. I know, as Mark pointed out, the show doesn't validates their actions and shows them in contrast to Cordelia's heartbreak but UGH. Doesn't mean I have to enjoy Xander acting like Cordelia leaving him after he cheated on her for weeks is outrageous.

    V xabj guvf vf nyy frg hc sbe Pbeqryvn tbvat gb Y.N., juvpu GUNAX TBQ orpnhfr Pbeqryvn ba Natry vf yrtvgvzngryl cresrpg. V nz jvyyvat gb svtug nalbar jub fnlf bgurejvfr. Ohg guvf genafvgvba cunfr vf abg sha πŸ™

    • Anninyn says:

      It makes me very angry.In general I like Xander, seeing him as desperate for affection and approval, but I really dislike him right now.

      I also really dislike disliking Willow, because WILLOW. I LOVE Willow, and I hate that right now I think she's behaving like a spoilt little girl.

      Although, I really like that all the characters, even the cute nerdy one, are flawed, and I like that Buffy seems to be all 'these guys are my friends so I love them, but I am going to point out their idiocy.'

    • erinmarie says:

      doesn't validate**
      lol what is subject-verb agreement

  13. LadyViridis says:

    It's interesting that you see the death of Cordelia and the retcon at the end as critical flaws, I never really even noticed either of them. Or at least, I didn't think they were problems.

    I think it's because for me, it doesn't really matter that no one learns anything here. That's not the point. The point is to show us as viewers just how important it was that Buffy come to Sunnydale. Not only is everyone else's life horrific without her, Buffy herself is damaged; obviously wounded both physically and mentally. She's tough and battle-scarred, and lacks the support of her friends and family that not only provide her physical backup, but also rein in her flaws. One of which is the tendency to charge into battle without thinking, resulting here in her death.

    I think there's probably a lot of analysis you could do here about how the alternate universe focuses and magnifies all the characters' flaws and shows how in the real universe they're all better off by balancing each other out, but I'll leave that to others since I'm not really familiar enough with the show to pick up everything. This is definitely one of the episodes I enjoyed the most, though. Every once in awhile, it's nice to get another look at things to see how it might have been if the plot went a different direction. πŸ™‚

    • pandalilies says:

      I cannot upvote this enough. Thank you for saying what I would have, if I had been able to write it out that well.
      It's the character analysis and seeing how it could have been that really made this episode amazing.

      • LadyViridis says:

        Aww, thank you! I often feel kind of hm, out of the loop regarding Buffy. Most of the people following the reviews seem to have seen it a million times, but my experience has been kind of odd? Like, I only watched it recently, and although I've only watched completely through S4, the first episodes I saw were random parts of S5 and S6, and between that and Internet osmosis, I was spoiled for nearly everything going in. So a lot of times my reactions to things aren't really the expected ones, and it's hard for me to comment because I feel really outside the fandom, and don't have the in-depth knowledge of a lot of people.

        • @wickedzen says:

          Your 'Buffy' experience resembles my own. Gur svefg rcvfbqr V rire fnj jnf "Gur Ercynprzrag" (qbhoyr-Knaqref). Gur svefg frnfba V jngpurq va vgf ragvergl jnf Frnfba 3.

          • LadyViridis says:

            Zl svefg rcvfbqr jnf Naln naq Knaqre'f jrqqvat. Abg gung V xarj vg jnf gurvef; V jnyxrq va naq jnf yvxr "Fb… jung'f tbvat ba?" naq zl sevraqf ner yvxr "Guvf thl vf zneelvat n tvey, ohg fur hfrq gb or n qrzba, fb ure snzvyl ner nyy qrzbaf, naq gurer vf qenzn." Naq gura rirelguvat sryy ncneg.

    • tanbarkie says:

      Yeah, the lesson, if there is one, is for the viewers, not Cordelia per se.

      Gung orvat fnvq, n ybg bs Znex'f vffhrf jvgu gur (nccnerag) erfrg ohggba ng gur raq jvyy or qrnyg jvgu bapr jr trg gb Qbccrytnatynaq.

      Fcrnxvat bs juvpu, PNAABG JNVG SBE QBCCRYTNATYNAQ. N gbc 5 rcvfbqr va zl obbx.

    • Dee says:


      It's a lesson for the viewer. Things may not be peachy-keen for the scoobies in Sunnydale, but there is a bigger picture. It could be much much worse.

      In the scene after Anyanka's amulet is destroyed and we're back in Sunnydale, it's a relief to see Buffy, WIllow & Xander facing relationship problems together…instead of, y'know, being blood-sucking demons and killing each other.

      All is right in Sunnydale!

      • Dee says:

        And while Willow and Xander are complete dolts – their friendship and support are what make Buffy a better slayer and an all-around happier person.

  14. Inseriousity. says:

    I love this episode. Firstly, Anya and when she turns around it's like HOLY CRAP! And there are lots of dark moments as a Sunnydale without Buffy is not a good place to be. Makes me wonder if Xander and Willow were part of the White Hats and died in the line of duty or whether they died as innocent bystanders of a messed up world. Either way, Cordelia learns that no it's not Buffy's fault, these monsters are still around even if Buffy's not.

    And then everyone dies! Angel dies and Buffy doesn't care. Xander dies and Buffy dances away (lol that little skip she does after that is so weird it makes me laugh every time) and Oz kills Willow. Hooray Giles saves the day and no-one's dead. Anya saying 'Done' after the end of each wish is so funny and actually the new wishes sound more interesting so she should've waited til she'd finished and then said the creepy DONE!

  15. Karen says:

    Poor Cordelia is having a really rough time of it. In the scene where she is sitting in her bed, burning the picture of Xander, it’s obvious how hurt and angry she is by the whole thing. But Cordelia doesn’t like to do vulnerable. So Cordelia decides to be angry. She puts on a confident face around her old friends and try to reclaim her Queen C status. But her former groupies aren’t that interested in letting her be Queen C again. They mock her for dating Xander, and the jock says he’ll hook up with her if they can keep it a secret. In Cordelia’s mind she is utterly disgraced. She’s completely lost her popularity stock in the school. Not only did she date Xander Harris, HE CHEATED ON HER.

    On the Oz/Willow front, I like that Oz is totally calling Willow out on the fact that she wants to talk things out to make HER feel better and not to make him feel better. But I do appreciate that she feels horribly guilty for what she did and is going to try to make things better. And she’s FINALLY setting up boundaries with Xander. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN USEFULY LIKE 4 EPISODES AGO. But yeah, I do think Willow is handling this a lot better than Xander.

    Cordy is trying to make Xander jealous to show him that she doesn’t need him. She wants him to know that she is over him. So Xander retaliates by trying to make Cordy see that he doesn’t care either which… WTF? YOU CHEATED ON HER. You don’t get to try to win this break up. Stop it.

    Buffy rightly calls him out on it saying that she feels weird about the whole “us against Cordelia thing”. Willow feels rightly guilty for hurting Cordelia. Xander is over it though. He’s not going to feel bad about cheating on his girlfriend because he is an asshole. Instead, he’s going to show her how over her he is after he betrayed her. GO AWAY, XANDER. I HATE YOU.

    I love that Buffy goes out after Cordelia when she leaves the Bronze. Unfortunately a vampire attacks and Coredlia is just like “NO I AM DONE WITH ALL OF THIS VAMPIRE CRAP.” In Cordelia’s mind, if Buffy didn’t move to town, Cordelia would never have gotten pulled into all the monster stuff and Xander never would have been on her radar. So she makes her wish and ANYA TURNS AROUND AND IS A DEMON WHO MAKES HER WISH COME TRUE.

    Unfortunately this creates a pretty horrific alternate reality. I’m a sucker for a good alternate universe episode (see also: “Turn Left” on Doctor Who). At first it seems pretty good. Cordelia is popular again! A guy wants to date her! But it quickly becomes apparent that without Buffy around to stop The Harvest and the rise of the Master, everything has become fairly awful. Vampires are running the town.

    In this reality, Willow and Xander are vampires who make out with each other. LOL @ Cordy being like, I wish for a whole other reality and Willow and Xander are STILL making out. Also, BZT JVYYBJ’F “OBERQ ABJ.” LRF TBBQ. Bx nf zhpu nf V qba’g yvxr Qnex Jvyybj, V qb ybir gur pbagvahvgl bs Jvyybj fnlvat “oberq abj” jura fur’f rivy.

    I have to say. I’m kind bummed that Cordelia is killed off halfway through the episode, but I understand why it happened. They needed to kill her because it’d be too easy if she were alive and could explain about Anya and the charm and the wish and everything. So in order to keep the dramatic tension going, Cordelia had to be removed from the story. Ohg gur fvqryvavat bs Pbeqryvn vf rira zber naablvat va yvtug bs gur snpg gung Pbeqryvn vf pbzcyrgryl haqrehfrq nf n punenpgre sbe gur erfg bs frnfba 3. OBBBBB. Also, XANDER AND WILLOW BITE AND KILL CORDELIA. SYMBOLIC, MUCH?

    Actually there’s a lot of symbolic killing going on in this episode. Oz kills Willow, Buffy kills Xander, and Buffy is killed by the Master.

    Without Buffy around, Giles is doing the best that he can, organizing students to fight the vampires. NYFB, YBYYY N YBG BS QRZBAVP NPGVIVGL VA PYRIRYNAQ. V ybir gung gurl ersrerapr guvf ntnva va “Pubfra”. And I like that Giles is the one to save the day in the end.

    The change in Buffy is really interesting. Kendra showed us that Buffy having friends who know that she is the Slayer is unusual, and I think Buffy’s friend have been really important for making her who she is. In this reality without Willow or Xander, Buffy has become a harder person. She’s a more focused Slayer who only works alone.

    • dazyndara says:

      "Oberq Abj" Nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnu sbe yngre.
      Nyfb V nyjnlf sbetrg gung Inzc!Jvyybj urer vf fgvyy vagb Knaqre, jurernf va Qbccrytnatynaq fur'f nyy "V guvax V'z xvaqn tnl". Znlor V'z whfg sbphffvat ba gung pnhfr DHRRE PUNENPGREF V ARRQ GURZ ABJ!

    • Pooslie says:

      Cordy forgets that she was about to be the next victim of the harvest when Buffy burst in and stopped it so she would have been dead 2 years ago!

    • RoseFyre says:

      It's not just *a* guy who wants to date her. It's the SAME guy who just said he would go out with her IF she were willing to be a dirty little secret. And now he's practically begging to date her, and willing to take an "I'll think about it" as a good sign. It's a real reversal, which is one of the things she likes – suddenly, the power is all hers again.

      But then it gets worse, and she realizes the truth – that there are far worse things than not being popular.

    • notemily says:

      Actually there’s a lot of symbolic killing going on in this episode. Oz kills Willow, Buffy kills Xander, and Buffy is killed by the Master.

      Don't forget Xander finally gets to kill Angel.

  16. Seventh_Star says:


    vg'f fgenatr frrvat naln or n zber fhoqhrq naq uhzbeyrff vapneangvba bs ure punenpgre.

  17. knut_knut says:

    I agree with your 2 critical mistakes, Mark. I was SO EXCITED we had a Cordelia-centric episode, AND THEN SHE DIED. I really liked the alternate universe- vampire Xander and vampire Willow made my skin crawl and the machine at the end was legitimately the most terrifying thing ever, but in the end this just felt like a filler episode. Maybe Fringe has ruined alternate universes for me?

    It was still fun, but I’m not sure how or if it ties future episodes yet.

    • Noybusiness says:

      You should try not seeing it as a Cordelia-centric episode. It just makes you think it is for a bit.

      • knut_knut says:

        You’re right, it’s not really a Cordelia-centric episode, and I think this is one that is grow on me if I rewatch the series. BUT I WANTED A CORDELIA EPISODE!! [Game of Thrones spoilers] V srry yvxr bar bs gubfr crbcyr jub pbzcynvarq raqyrffyl nobhg Arq’f qrngu jura ur jnfa’g rira gur znva punenpgre, whfg n pngnylfg. You can’t kill Cordelia! She’s the main character in this episode even though she’s actually not!

        • monkeybutter says:

          Lbh *guvax* gung obgu Arq naq Pbeqryvn ner gur znva punenpgref, ohg bbcf, gur jevgref jrer whfg fgevatvat lbh nybat. V jnf fnq nobhg naq fhecevfrq (lrf, fhecevfrq, V gubhtug ur'q trg bhg bs vg fbzrubj!) ol Arq'f qrngu, naq V jbhyq unir ybirq vs guvf jnf ragveryl Pbeqryvn-pragevp, ohg V nyfb ybir gur jevgref sbe zrffvat jvgu bhe rkcrpgngvbaf guvf jnl.

          • cait0716 says:

            More GOT spoilers (first book/season of the show)

            Gur jevgref qvq na rkpryyrag wbo jvgu Arq'f qrngu. Rira gubhtu V'q ernq gur obbx V jnf fgvyy unys rkcrpgvat uvz gb trg bhg bs vg fbzrubj. V zrna, lbh pna xvyy uvz va n obbx, ohg n GI fubj vf qvssrerag, evtug? Lbh pna'g whfg xvyy gur ureb. Bu jnvg.

            • knut_knut says:

              V nterr. Gurer jnf guvf yvggyr fyvire bs ubcr ng gur raq bs gur rcvfbqr gung, ununun, znlor vg jnf nyy n qernz! Ohg ab. Ubjrire, V'z tynq gur jevgref fgnlrq fb pybfr gb gur obbx. Vg jbhyq unir orra jrveq gb xrrc Arq nyvir, frrvat nf uvf qrngu ernyyl fgnegf rirelguvat.

              [ACoK Spoilers] V'z jbeevrq gung gurl'yy punatr n ybg arkg frnfba. Ab bar jnf pnfg nf Rqzher Ghyyl, evtug? Jung vs gurl phg uvz bhg pbzcyrgryl??

              • monkeybutter says:

                [Continued spoilers through AFFC:] V unir ab vqrn jung gurl'yy qb, gou. Juvyr V yvxr gur Oynpxsvfu (gur bayl qrprag Ghyyl jub vfa'g Png), V pna nyzbfg haqrefgnaq trggvat evq bs uvz. Ohg jung ner gurl tbvat gb qb jvgubhg Rqzher shpxvat guvatf hc naq juvavat naq orvat gur tebbz bs gur Erq Jrqqvat, be Wnvzr'f artbgvngvba yngre (gubhtu, V thrff lbh arrq gur Oynpxsvfu sbe gung, gbb)? Nfvqr sebz gur EJ orvat uhhhhtr, gung'f n uhtr punenpgre zbzrag sbe Wnvzr fvapr ur xrcg uvf cebzvfr.

                Netu, V obgu ybir naq ungr gung gurl pna xrrc zr ba zl gbrf yvxr guvf!

          • knut_knut says:

            I did love the twist. After Cordelia died I was like WELL…NOW WHAT. I'll just have to hold out for a real Cordelia-centric episode. ONE DAY IT WILL COME

    • Karen says:

      Yeah, I get why they killed Cordelia off from a plot standpoint. (She could have just told Giles about the wish and what happened with Anya and then the episode would have been over.) But I'm still mad that we didn't get a full episode all about her.

  18. Anninyn says:

    Buffy is just so… hard, and broken. The deaths at the end of this one broke my heart.

    When I first watched this, I was OK with the ending, but then I was, what… Wow, I was REALLY YOUNG. After the emotional trauma of Willow and Xander being awful and cheating I didn't want the fall-out from this. Now, the ending feels cheap and pointless. I'd have liked it if there had been some kind of memory, although as everyone dies I'm not sure how it could have been done without a complete rewrite.

  19. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    oh god my site actually loads now

    it was worth it to stay up until 3am last week

    oh god

  20. arctic_hare says:

    – Gee, I wonder why Faith isn't eager to hang with y'all?


    – More like ass backwards, you asshat. Yes, it's so wildly irrational that she'd kick you to the curb after months of being cheated on. That wacky Cordelia.

    – Seriously, I'm finding myself with a remarkable deficiency of sympathy towards Xander and Willow here.

    – Oh, Cordy. πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™ Seriously, want to give her all the hugs. AND ALL THE KICKS TO XANDER BECAUSE JFC STOP CALLING HER. BOUNDARIES. RESPECT THEM.


    – Bs pbhefr, guvf vf uneqyl nalguvat arj sbe Jvyybj, abe jvyy vg or gur raq. Htu, fur ernyyl vf fhpu na njshy crefba.

    – Harmony, you are one of the worst people ever.

    – Willow, seriously, back the fuck off. I'm glad Oz called her on her bullshit. Ubarfgyl, guvf vf gur svefg rzretrapr, V guvax, bs n ceboyrz Jvyybj unf yngre ba jura fur qbrf guvatf gung uheg crbcyr: V'z abg pbaivaprq gung fur tvirf n fuvg nobhg gur srryvatf bs gur crbcyr fur jebatf, fur bayl srryf fbeel sbe urefrys va gubfr fvghngvbaf.

    – You are one of the most obtuse shitheads I've ever had the displeasure of watching, Xander. Emphasis on the shithead part. How fucking dare you look put out when Willow tries to establish boundaries between you WAY past the point where they should've already been in place? How fucking dare you act like Cordelia was somehow in the wrong to dump your sorry ass and try to get your friends to help you make her feel bad.


    – Vamp Willow and Xander are fantastic. <3

    – omg it's Larry, Oz, and Giles (and a girl I don't know)!

    – I'm really not comfortable with this thing about the way Cordelia's dressed. I get that it's a way to visually separate the two realities, but the way it's discussed in dialogue reminds me WAY too much of the way that rape victims get shamed for whatever they were wearing.

    – Wait, I lied, HERE is where it gets really good. Cordelia's death scene is heartbreaking, but utterly brilliant in that it subverts the typical structure of narratives of this sort. Normally, the person who made the wish would survive and learn an important lesson. Not so here. Cordelia dies early on, and no one learns anything in the end. I love it. <3

    – OMG BUFFY!


    – I love the hint of the Buffy/Angel theme that plays here. It's just a fragment, and it sounds off, a nice little reminder of the stark difference in their relationship in the two realities. I mean, I don't ship the two, but it's a great way to play up that contrast.

    – Man, what a killer ending. Xander stakes Angel, Buffy stakes Xander, Willow gets staked by Oz and Larry, and the Master snaps Buffy's neck. πŸ™ Luckily Giles is awesome and smashes the necklace. ASH's delivery of "Because it has to be" hurts my heart. Actually, he breaks my heart all through the episode.

    Excellent episode. <3

    • Karen says:

      I agree with all your comments. I think Willow isn't quite as bad as Xander (she DOES feel guilty and is trying to set up boundaries between herself and Xander), but DAMN those two are being pretty awful in this episode.

      • Nattlinnen says:

        I find it.

        a) Depressing
        b) Relieving (mostly that Willow isn't a goodie goodie)

      • arctic_hare says:

        They are! I had forgotten just how bad until I rewatched.

      • Tina says:

        I think we are forgiving Willow a bit more because she hadn't an obvious "bad" behaviour like Xander had. But in the end, they are equally shitty.

        Gur vagrerfgvat guvat vf gung Jvyybj jvyy tb gb n erirefny orunivbhe yvar va pbzcnevfba jvgu Knaqre. Fur jvyy hfr zntvp gb trg njnl rnfvyl jvgu rirel sehfgengvba fur rapbhagref va ure eryngvbafuvc juvyr Knaqre, jub unf ab cbjre, jvyy arrq gb tebj hc gb znxr gurz jbex.

        V npghnyyl ybir ubj guvf gebcr vf fhoiregrq jvgu Jvyybj. Fur jnf n ivpgvz bs ohyylvat, qvfpbirevat zntvp vf znxvat ure cbjreshy, pbasvqrag, ohg vg nyfb nyybj ure gb abg bhgtebj ure sehfgengvba orpnhfr fur pna whfg jvcr gurz jvgu na vapnagngvba. Va gur raq, zntvp xrrcf Jvyybj va n puvyqvfu orunivbe.

    • NB2000 says:

      I love the hint of the Buffy/Angel theme that plays here.

      Okay good I wasn't imagining that. I picked up on the first few notes and kept expecting it to continue to the full theme but it doesn't happen.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Nope, I heard it as well – hadn't realized until this rewatch that it played here, but it really does make a lot of sense.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Ubarfgyl, guvf vf gur svefg rzretrapr, V guvax, bs n ceboyrz Jvyybj unf yngre ba jura fur qbrf guvatf gung uheg crbcyr: V'z abg pbaivaprq gung fur tvirf n fuvg nobhg gur srryvatf bs gur crbcyr fur jebatf, fur bayl srryf fbeel sbe urefrys va gubfr fvghngvbaf.

      Gung'f n ovg unefu, V'z fher fur pnerf nobhg Bm' srryvatf dhvgr n ybg.
      Gur ceboyrz vf gung fur guvaxf rirelguvat pna or svkrq jvgu jbeqf naq yngre jvgu zntvp.
      V yvxr gung guvf rcvfbqr fubjf ubj Bm arrqf gb qrny jvgu guvf ba uvf bja grezf, ohg V qba'g guvax vg'f na rknzcyr bs Jvyybj'f frysvfuarff, zber bs ure vanovyvgl gb qrny jvgu cnvashy fvghngvbaf sbe zber guna n srj qnlf (be n srj zbzragf va yngre frnfbaf).

    • robin_comments says:

      I'm really not comfortable with this thing about the way Cordelia's dressed. I completely understand your reservations and I can see why it would play that way for many people. Strangely enough, I really liked this part, because for me personally it was a representation of how the humans were trying to deal by conceptualizing the vampires (several of them who were people they had known personally) as base animals ruled by instinct — the idea of being attracted to bright colors like an animal. When of course we know that vampires are far more complex and the idea is patently ridiculous.

      I think it's a common misconception made by human characters in the Buffy verse, to frame non-humans in this manner — and often it's to their detriment, because it means they underestimate them.

    • NeonProdigy says:

      And now I can, for once, finally say that I see eye-to-eye with you on Xander for an episode.

      Both he and Willow… just UGH.


      And… cbbe Znex… fb hacercnerq sbe Qbccyrtnatynaq~

    • _Bailey_ says:

      Bm'f yvar nobhg ubj Jvyybj jnagf gb znxr urefrys srry orggre uvgf fb uneq nsgre univat frra gur ragver frevrf. Rira va frnfba fvk, qbvat gur zrzbel fcryyf ba Gnen naq Ohssl, fur vf whfg qbvat vg fb gung fur qbrfa'g unir gb srry thvygl sbe uhegvat gurz.

    • notemily says:

      – omg it's Larry, Oz, and Giles (and a girl I don't know)!

      The girl you don't know is named Nancy on the show, and I looked her up to see if she was in anything else–and lo and behold, she once played a character named Buffy.

      – I'm really not comfortable with this thing about the way Cordelia's dressed. I get that it's a way to visually separate the two realities, but the way it's discussed in dialogue reminds me WAY too much of the way that rape victims get shamed for whatever they were wearing.

      Me too! I was like "stop alternate-reality-slut-shaming, Harmony."


      I HAD THE SAME THOUGHT omg are we brain twins

    • BornIn1142 says:

      How fucking dare you look put out when Willow tries to establish boundaries between you WAY past the point where they should've already been in place?

      He feels bad that his friendship with Willow was also damaged by his actions?

    • tigerpetals says:

      You are back! Well I actually haven't been keeping up well because of time, but I've been reading the reviews in bunches and didn't see your comments until one or two episodes ago.

      The show dares to make the main characters very unsympathetic except for Buffy and Giles, frggvat hc Jvyybj'f nep bs qbvat gur jebat guvat gb pbageby ure yvsr naq rnfr cnva, juvyr vg pna nyfb or rnfvyl qvfzvffrq nf ure whfg srryvat thvygl naq njxjneq.

      Using that kind of language to shame Cordelia is realistic because that's how people talk to women and girls about danger. Which doesn't mean it isn't uncomfortable. It should be.

      One thing I really wish had happened was Buffy/Cordelia bonding. I always like their scenes together.

      V ybir gur fubeg rkpunatr va Urycyrff. Gurl qba'g vagrenpg gung zhpu guebhtubhg gur fubj, ohg Pbeqryvn jnf bevtvanyyl zrnag gb or Ohssl'f sbvy, fur unf na nep fvzvyne gb Ohssl'f, naq vg jbhyq xrrc ure zber va gur fcbgyvtug vs gurl unq fbzr xvaq bs n eryngvbafuvc (gubhtu gung jbhyq bs pbhefr jbex pbhagre gb gur cbvag bs gur oernxhc, juvpu jnf gb qvfgnapr Pbeqryvn sebz rirelobql.) Cyhf V arire zhpu fnj Ohssl/Snvgu, ohg Ohssl/Pbeqryvn vf vagrerfgvat gb zr.

      There's a season three AU I read early last year which I recall as being very good, and it was more Cordelia-centric, though also too gory for my tastes. I still loved it, and it's a pity that the thing hasn't been finished. Here it is anyway:

  21. Nattlinnen says:

    Frightening fantastic episode. The most important part is the description of Buffy. It really defines how much she need the support from the scoobies.

    Ubjrire. Guvf rcvfbqr bayl orpbzrf ernyyl snagnfgvp jura ivrjrq gbtrgure jvgu Qbccrytnatynaq orpnhfr gura gur rcvfbqr ernyyl unf rssrpgf gung ynfg.

    • cait0716 says:

      Vg'f gehr. V'z pbzcyrgryl svar jvgu guvf rcvfbqr abg univat nal snyybhg, zbfgyl orpnhfr V xabj gur snyybhg vf pbzvat. Guvf vfa'g dhvgr gur svyyre rirelbar rkcrpgf vg gb or.

  22. pica_scribit says:

    I'm beginning to remember why Season 3 is quite possibly my favourite season of this show. Who doesn't love a good alternate universe? Especially a really dark one. Is this Joss's way of saying, "Look how much worse I could have made things for everyone."? I'm thinking, yes. And I'm betting there's a whole subgenre of Buffy fanfiction set in this universe.

    I love the White Hats, especially that there's one girl we've (I think) never seen before. Does she get a name in this episode? I love evil!Xander and I *really* love evil!Willow (who doesn't?) with her Green Eyeshadow of Deviancy. I love the differences in Buffy's appearance, wardrobe, and attitude, and the completely indifferent look on her face after slaying Xander. I love that almost everyone dies. I love that Giles saves the world. And of course I love Emma Caulfield.

    I'm sort of surprised we didn't see Jenny Calendar in this episode. It would have been such a bittersweet touch if she and Giles were together here. V thrff vg znxrf frafr, nf vg tvirf ure ernccrnenapr va "Nzraqf" n terngre vzcnpg. I'm also surprised we didn't see Darla. Did Angel still kill her in this universe? Is that why they have him in chains? Where is the Anointed One? Or was he unnecessary in this timeline? Did Spike and Dru never come to Sunnydale? So many questions are raised by a single alteration of the timeline.

    • LadyViridis says:

      I'm thinking that Jenny Calendar isn't around in this universe because she wasn't needed to keep an eye on Angel and his curse. It seems clear that Angel saw Buffy and went to Sunnydale to wait for her so he could help her fight, but for whatever reason she never showed up. So probably when the Master took over Angel tried to fight on his own, and that… went poorly, obviously. So now they have him as a prisoner for Willow (and whoever else?) to torture. Lovely. I don't know about Darla, though. It seems like Angel killed her in the real universe at least partly to prove to Buffy he was on her side. He doesn't usually seem to actively hunt other vampires, but maybe in this alternate world he did.

      Interestingly, it would seem in this timeline that the whole Angelus thing never happened, since Buffy wouldn't be around for Angel to fall in love with and hit that one moment of true happiness. Of course, the whole town overrun by vampires seems to be doing more damage anyway.

      My biggest question has to deal with the Watchers in this universe. They have to be aware the Hellmouth opened and that the Master is running Sunnydale, so why haven't they sent Buffy there sooner? Did the magic of the wish simply prevent them from doing so, or are they really just that incompetent?

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Gurl unir gb or njner gur Uryyzbhgu bcrarq naq gung gur Znfgre vf ehaavat Fhaalqnyr, fb jul unira'g gurl frag Ohssl gurer fbbare? Qvq gur zntvp bs gur jvfu fvzcyl cerirag gurz sebz qbvat fb, be ner gurl ernyyl whfg gung vapbzcrgrag?

        Znlor gur uryyzbhgu va Pyrirynaq tnir gurz rabhtu gebhoyr.

        It's also possible the hellmouth had not opend yet, because we see no giant monster in the library, and the Master wanted Sunnydale for himself.

        About the Watchers: Yes, they are just that incompetent.

      • cait0716 says:

        I agree with you about Jenny. Angel's in no danger of losing his soul in this reality, so the Romani wouldn't have needed to send a guardian. Or maybe it was the Romani who intervened and shipped Buffy off the Cleveland instead?

        I do think the Watchers are that incompetent. And I don't think that have as much control as they think they do. Buffy may have been guided to Sunnydale, but only because she got kicked out of school and her mom needed to move. If she hadn't burned down the gym, she probably would have lived out her days in LA, the same way Kendra stays in Jamaica and Faith was tied to Boston until Kakistos killed her watcher and she ran.

        • pica_scribit says:

          I assumed that Buffy still got kicked out of her old school in this universe, but instead ended up in Cleveland (hence Giles' comments on the phone to her AU Watcher).

          • cait0716 says:

            Right, she did. I was saying that if, in a different alternate universe she hadn't been expelled, I think she would have lived out her life in LA.

      • pica_scribit says:

        I think it's been pretty well established by this point in the show's mythology that the Watchers Council are pretty shit and communication.

        • LadyViridis says:

          Well, if Giles is any indication, it's probably because none of them want to lower themselves enough to use a freaking computer.

          Seriously. I got a bit annoyed with Giles when he was all "ewww, computers are bad and lazy and rot your brain." GILES YOU ARE A LIBRARIAN. How much faster would danger be averted if you had a database with all the information on demons/vampires entered into it? So much faster. Also, if you put that information on a computer, you don't have to risk damaging the hundred or millennia-old books!

          They could have avoided some problems if the Watchers bothered to set up even an e-mail account, is what I'm saying here. :/

          • robin_comments says:

            "Ubj zhpu snfgre jbhyq qnatre or niregrq vs lbh unq n qngnonfr jvgu nyy gur vasbezngvba ba qrzbaf/inzcverf ragrerq vagb vg?"
            YBY Natry gur frevrf YBY

            • LadyViridis says:

              Yeah, I'm aware. πŸ˜‰ But you'd think they'd realize it before then. See also: why DON'T the Scoobies normally carry around long-range walkie-talkies as they do while Buffy is gone? Surely that would come in handy.

          • notemily says:

            Haha, after "I Robot, You Jane" he was probably wary of putting the demon-books' information into a computer EVER AGAIN.

            • LadyViridis says:

              Well, that was scanning the actual text. They don't have to do that, if it's going to release demons on the internet. But surely making a database of "Demon X has these characteristics, and is weak to Y, Z, and W" would be helpful. πŸ˜‰ And what else is Giles going to do all day while Buffy is patrolling/in class? No one else seems to ever come in to the library!

              Of course, then they couldn't spend 20 minutes padding episodes by having the Scoobies sit in the library researching.

      • @liliaeth says:

        I think it's more that they see Sunnydale as a lost cause. As in, why bother risking the life of their only Slayer for a town that's already taken over by vampires. Better to keep her on battling the fights that can still be won.

    • Noybusiness says:

      The White Hat girl is named Nancy, and has never appeared in anything else.

      Good point about Jenny Calendar, but I guess they didn't think of it among the many other things they did think of and Robia la Morte's availability was limited anyway.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I'm pretty glad we didn't see Jenny in this episode, because that would have been unbelievably depressing.

      But now I'm thinking maybe she was still alive somewhere in that universe and my heart does a little weep.

      :'( :'( :'(

    • RoseFyre says:

      Yeah, there's a bunch of characters who don't show who you have to wonder about – Darla is the main one, for me, since she's so close to The Master – why wouldn't she be there for this – and agreed on the Anointed one. Also, Spike and Dru, though, to be fair, this isn't really Spike's style – he's far too much of a free agent to like being under the Master's rule, and without Angel going bad (as I suspect he never did, without Buffy there), Dru probably never left him.

      Other characters: Jesse, Buffy's family, Kendra and Faith (who have both clearly not become Slayers as Buffy has not died), and, as you said, Jenny Calendar. Also, I kind of wish Jonathan had been one of the White Hats. πŸ˜€

      There really needs to be fic about all this stuff!

  23. cat lady says:

    While Cordelia has an important role, this is a Buffy-centric episode. It shows what Buffy would have been like without her watcher, family, and friends as her support network. And, not by coincidence, Faith is what Buffy would be like without her watcher, family, and friends as her support network. The comparison is really with “Revelations” where Faith’s entire world shrinks down to herself.

    And note that Kendra was also a mirror of Buffy; Kendra is Buffy without emotion or spontaneity. Joss really likes character mirroring (Angel/Angelus, Angel/Spike, Giles/Gwendolyn Post, as examples.)

  24. NB2000 says:

    The alternate world is really well drawn and it's interesting to watch how it's revealed to us. The very first shots of Cordelia in the quad show us how different things are, it's suddenly so much emptier than it was a second ago, and then we get all the crosses and garlic hung up in the hallways. I do have to nitpick the "Students can't drive" thing, surely it would be SAFER for them to have cars. It would get everyone home quicker than walking or taking the bus, if (and it's a big if I admit) Cordelia's freaking out last season was valid then they might be protected from vampires getting inside and even if they aren't they can just drive away/into the vampires to get rid. I may have overthough this point.

    I've seen this episode many, many times but I still got chills at that first "Bored now". Vampire WIllow is just…there's traces of our Willow in her speech and behaviour but she's so much creepier and scarier. Go Alyson Hannigan.

    LOL forever at Giles' suddenly wearing a tweed jacket when Buffy is at his apartment and he's using his Watcher skills for the first time in however long.

    Qbvat guvf va ebg13 orpnhfr gurer'f ab vaqvpngvba fur'yy pbzr onpx: NALNNNNNNNNN!!!! Cebonoyl bar bs zl snibhevgr punenpgref sebz gur ragver frevrf, nygubhtu ure punenpgrevfngvba urer srryf IREL qvssrerag gb ubj fur vf yngre. Gurer'f abar bs gur fvyyvarff bs frnfba 5, fur'f zber pnyz naq sbphfrq.

    "Lbh'q or fhecevfrq ubj znal guvatf gung'yy xvyy." bu tbq.

    • LadyViridis says:

      If vampires run the town, maybe the fact that driving is safer is why the students aren't allowed to drive? I think the vampires want as many easy victims available as possible, and forcing people to walk home would certainly do the trick.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "I do have to nitpick the "Students can't drive" thing, surely it would be SAFER for them to have cars."

      Well, it's not like bureaucratic rules always make sense.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      "Lbh'q or fhecevfrq ubj znal guvatf gung'yy xvyy." bu tbq.

      V nterr: Bu Tbq.
      Ng gung cbvag gurl cebonoyl xarj gurl jbhyq xvyy gur qrchgl znlbe guvf jnl.
      Gung fragrapr whfg tvirf zr tbbfrohzof.

      • Plactus says:

        Gung yvar unf nyjnlf fgbbq bhg sbe zr naq V qvqa'g abgvpr gur sberfunqbjvat hagvy gur svefg "bu tbq," juvpu V abj guveq.

        • notemily says:

          Zr gbb! V jnf nyjnlf yvxr "bu ubj fnq, Ohssl qbrfa'g rira qvfpevzvangr jvgu ure xvyyvat, vg'f yvxr fur qbrfa'g pner zhpu vs fur xvyyf n crefba nppvqragnyyl." Naq gura jura V ernq gur pbzzrag V jnf yvxr BU UBYL FUVG.

  25. ghostofdurruti says:

    Regarding Buffy in this episode…

    "Qrngu vf lbhe neg. Lbh znxr vg jvgu lbhe unaqf, qnl nsgre qnl. Gung svany tnfc. Gung ybbx bs crnpr. Cneg bs lbh vf qrfcrengr gb xabj: Jung'f vg yvxr? Jurer qbrf vg yrnq lbh? Naq abj lbh frr, gung'f gur frperg. Abg gur chapu fur qvqa'g guebj be gur xvpx fur qvqa'g ynaq; fur zreryl jnagrq vg. Rirel Fynlre… unf n qrngu jvfu. Rira lbh."


    • ghostofdurruti says:

      Ba gung abgr, V pna gbgnyyl frr ubj fbzrbar, va jngpuvat gur frevrf sbe gur svefg gvzr, zvtug creprvir guvf rcvfbqr nf fbzrjung vapbafrdhragvny orpnhfr, nsgre nyy, ab bar va-fgbel (rkprcg Inzc!Jvyybj) erzrzoref vg. Erjngpuvat gur frevrf, gubhtu? Guvf rcvfbqr vf uhtryl pbafrdhragvny, abg orpnhfr bs jung gur punenpgref yrnea, ohg orpnhfr bs jung gur nhqvrapr yrneaf nobhg gur punenpgref.

    • cait0716 says:

      YES. I love it πŸ™‚

    • Noybusiness says:

      Lrf, fur qbrf ybbx xvaq bs npprcgvat evtug nsgre gur Znfgre fancf ure arpx.

    • noeji says:

      V erjngpurq "Sbby Sbe Ybir" lrfgreqnl ohg qvqa'g cvpx hc gur pbaarpgvba orgjrra gurfr yvarf. Terng pngpu !

      Nyfb vg frgf hc avpryl nobhg n ovg jurer Fcvxr cbvagf bhg gung ,

      "Gur bayl ernfba lbh'ir ynfgrq nf ybat nf lbh unir vf lbh'ir tbg gvrf gb gur jbeyq. Lbhe zhz, oeng xvq fvfgre, Fpbbovrf. Gurl nyy gvr lbh urer …….. "

      Erjngpuvat gur frevrf, gubhtu? Guvf rcvfbqr vf uhtryl pbafrdhragvny, abg orpnhfr bs jung gur punenpgref yrnea, ohg orpnhfr bs jung gur nhqvrapr yrneaf nobhg gur punenpgref.


  26. robin_comments says:

    What I find really interesting about this episode is that vg frrzf yvxr n ernyyl snagnfgvp ohg pbzcyrgryl fgnaq-nybar rcvfbqr, naq lrg vg vagebqhprf Naln jub orpbzrf n znwbe punenpgre va gur frevrf. Naq gura bs pbhefr jr nyfb unir nabgure sbyybj-hc jvgu inzcver Jvyybj yngre guvf frnfba. (Vg znxrf zr jbaqre vs Znex'f srryvatf jvyy punatr nobhg guvf rcvfbqr yngre, jura ur ernyvmrf vg npghnyyl qbrf unir fvtavsvpnapr gb ynetre frevrf cybgyvarf.)

    Willow: “How do you deal?”
    Buffy: “I have you guys.” awwwwwwwww

    Poor Cordelia, man. She looks so torn up during that first picture burning scene. But then in the burgundy outfit at school, heart-stoppingly gorgeous.

    The extreme, extended social cruelty against Cordelia here plays over-the-top exaggerated to me. If they’d gone more subtle, I would have been more affected.


    I seriously think that my very favorite Oz moment on the show may be this one: “Look, I’m sorry this is hard for you. But I told you what I need. So I can’t help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can feel better about yourself. That’s not my problem.” Jvyybj’f rntre, purreshy orunivbe va guvf rcvfbqr, gelvat gb tybff bire gur ceboyrz naq abg tvivat gur bgure crefba fcnpr gb qrny jvgu vg… vg fb fb zhpu perrcvre jvgu gur nqqrq xabjyrqtr bs ure orunivbe gbjneqf Gnen va frnfba fvk. V unir guvf ubeevoyr abgvba gung Jvyybj jbhyq unir hfrq zntvp gb sbepr uvz gb sbetvir ure va guvf rcvfbqr, vs fur'q unq gung yriry bs cbjre naq pbageby ng gur gvzr.

    The idea that Willow and Xander can’t touch innocently anymore may be the very saddest thing to come from this subplot. High school boyfriends and girlfriends come and go, but life long friends like that should always be able to be comfortable with each other. LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE.

    So proud of Buffy for reaching out to Cordelia. I know for plot reasons that it obviously had to go all wrong and infuriate her, but I wish they could have bonded. MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.

    “Bored now.” And a catch-phrase is born! Vampire Xander & Willow are glorious. (also, yet another indication for me that vampires are connected to their human selves – Xander and Willow stayed joined at the hip and seem pretty attached to each other. That’s a hell of a coincidence, if vampires have no carry-over from their human selves beyond knowledge.)

    I love that Larry is part of Giles’ crew. &lt;3 And I choose to believe and he and Oz are alternate universe boyfriends. "they found love in a hopeless plaaaaaaaaaaaaace…"

    oh HI GOTH BRONZE. Apparently vampires are into electro and industrial.

    I wish I remembered first seeing this episode, so I could remember if I was shocked when Cordelia’s murdered in front of us and if I had assumed she was written off the show (or if I always guessed that this would be reversed with everything else when we got back to the regular world). Well, regardless, such a fantastic, powerful image. Especially coming right after Willow and Xander’s actions in the “real world”, having left her looking so metaphorically drained and killing her confidence and reputation.

    Puppy! And a thousand fanfics were born.

    The crosses are kind of hilariously effective in this episode. The big bad vamps just cowering away from it… Kind of hard for me to take seriously. I’m like, whatever, just knock it out of their hand!

    I really wish we knew more about what Buffy’s been up to, that’s made her so cynical and detached. (I’m sure there are comic books out there or something, but I’m not much into comics canon.)

    Mass-production! I feel like The Master and Mr Trick would get along SO WELL.

    The blood sucking machine seriously creeptactular. Definitely the only truly disturbing thing I’ve ever seen on BtVS.

    Oz staking Willow? Also pretty creepy. Somehow more unsettling to me than watching Angel, Xander, or Buffy’s deaths.

    • Danny_SAP says:

      Harmony is many things… subtle she is not.

    • alz says:

      Lrf, V ernyyl jnag gb purre naq fubhg nobhg Naln fubjvat hc, naq V xabj V pna'g orpnhfr ng guvf cbvag vg srryf fb "zbafgre bs gur jrrx" naq jbhyq or gbb fcbvyrl…bu jryy. V'Z QBVAT VG BA GUR VAFVQR, LBH PNA'G FGBC ZR!

      • Hyaroo says:

        I'm right with you.

        Naln orpbzrf zl cebonoyl-snibevgr punenpgre va gur yngre frnfbaf (rfcrpvnyyl fvapr fur naq Fcvxr graqrq gb trg nyy gur orfg yvarf) fb jvgu gung sberxabjyrqtr vg'f uneq abg gb srry guevyyrq nobhg ure svefg nccrnenapr.

    • Karen says:

      Lrnu, V guvax gung vs Jvyybj unq gur cbjre naq xabjyrqtr fur zvtug unir hfrq zntvp gb svk gur fvghngvba jvgu Bm rira guvf lrne ba va ure punenpgre nep.

    • cait0716 says:

      The Master and Mr. Trick would be awesome and unstoppable together!

      V qrsvavgryl guvax guvf rcvfbqr orpbzrf orggre ergebnpgviryl nsgre lbh frr Qbccyrtnatynaq. Znlor Znex jvyy erirefr uvf bcvavba

      • robin_comments says:

        Mr. Trick would be all into commercializing the idea! He'd make plans to manufacture the device and sell it all over the globe! (why do I find that horrifying thought so charming? heee.)

    • Nattlinnen says:

      Mass-production! I feel like The Master and Mr Trick would get along SO WELL.
      It fits nicely into an anti-industrial theme in Buffy together with the use of hammer and sickle in "Anne"!

    • notemily says:

      And I choose to believe and he and Oz are alternate universe boyfriends. "they found love in a hopeless plaaaaaaaaaaaaace…"


    • Pbzcyrgryl nterr jvgu lbh nobhg Jvyybj hfvat zntvp gb znxr Bm sbetvir ure vs fur unq gur cbjre naq pbageby ng guvf cbvag. Whfg… Jvyybj unf FHPU pbafrag vffhrf, naq vffhrf jvgu gnxvat erfcbafvovyvgl naq bjavat hc gb gur guvatf fur qbrf. Jura fur uhegf crbcyr, fur nyjnlf frrzf gb jnag gb znxr URE BJA ONQ SRRYVATF tb njnl. Vg'f n ernyyl hafrgyyvat guvat gb abgvpr fb rneyl ba va ure punenpgre nep.

  27. dasmondschaf says:

    This is the darkest timeline.

    (Community clip below!)

    [youtube 2IxURn_63_I youtube]

    • Kickpuncher says:

      This reminds me of when Jrfyrl ybfg uvf nez va na Natry "qnexrfg gvzryvar" rcvfbqr.

      • dasmondschaf says:

        V'ir bayl jngpurq Natry bapr, naq bayl Frnfbaf 1-3, naq vg jnf nf n znenguba; V nqzvg gb erzrzore irel srj cybg cbvagf, naq abj V'z whfg jbaqrevat ubj V pbhyq rire sbetrg Jrfyrl ybfvat na nez.

        • Kickpuncher says:

          Rneyl Frnfba 3 rcvfbqr pnyyrq "Oveguqnl" V guvax. Pbeqryvn trgf fubja na nygreangr ernyvgl jurer fur tbg na npgvat wbo naq arire wbvarq Natry Vairfgvtngvbaf. Nzbat gur punatrf ner Natry trggvat gur ivfvbaf nsgre Qblyr'f qrngu (naq orvat qevira bhg bs uvf zvaq ol gurz) naq Jrfyrl zvffvat na nez.

          • Karen says:

            LRFFFFF. V YBIR GUNG RCVFBQR. BZT. Pbeqryvn vf fb terng va gung rcvfbqr gjb. Naq uhu, fb vapyhqvat gung rcvfbqr, Pbeqryvn vf npghnyyl erfcbafvoyr sbe gur perngvba bs gjb frcnengr nygreangr ernyvgvrf.

          • LadyViridis says:

            Uhu. V bayl jngpurq F1 bs Natry; V nqzvg V ybbxrq nurnq naq jnf ernyyl, ERNYYL naablrq gb frr gung Qneyn jnf zvenphybhfyl onpx sbe F2, fb V qvqa'g jngpu shegure. Ohg V zvtug unir gb purpx gung rcvfbqr bhg, orpnhfr jub qbrfa'g yvxr n tbbq nygreangr ernyvgl?

    • monkeybutter says:

      This is all I can think of when it comes to AUs <3

    • LadyViridis says:

      This might be my very favorite episode of Community ever. <3

    • sirintegra42 says:

      Perfect episode is perfect. I would watch a whole series of the evil timeline, if only for the goatees :).

    • redheadedgirl says:

      I need to find someone to thrown down with, so I can say, "Oh, it is on in a manner very much like Donkey Kong!"

    • knut_knut says:

      BEST timeline

  28. cait0716 says:

    Parallel universes are always fun. Though this episode a bit weird, because none of our characters get a chance to grow or learn. There's a lot of fun to be had, but the stakes aren't real. No one is going to die (which of course means that everyone gets to die). So all of the enjoyment of this episode has to come from the fun of seeing a Buffy-less Sunnydale, with Xander and Willow as vampires, Larry and Oz teaming up with Giles, and Cordy back on top of the social order. And there's definitely a lot of enjoyment to be gained from this.

    As cool as it was to see Xander and Willow play the evil vampires, I'm a little sad that we didn't get Darla and Luke back. It seems a little strange that the managed to die even though Buffy never showed up. Especially Darla, who Angel killed mostly as a symbolic gesture for Buffy. Or maybe Xander and Willow killed them and that's how they rose in rank so quickly. I mean, Willow seems to have earned as much of the Master's respect in two years as Darla had after 400 years. Or maybe that respect is bestowed quickly and never increases. Like the Master just has two modes: disdain and respect. You get one or the other and you get all of it.

    Also fun: seeing Willow torture Angel. They sure do find every excuse the can to make that man take his shirt off, which I'm not exactly going to complain about. Plus the whole "puppy" nickname fits in nicely with the discussion of him as a dog from a few days ago (and this scene is where my mind went during those comments)

    It's nice to see that prophecies are prophecies, no matter the reality. Back in Prophecy Girl, Giles tells us, "…[t]his is the Codex. There is nothing in here that does not come to pass…Buffy will face the Master and she will die". And that's exactly what happens.

    And, of course, there is an act before we head into the parallel universe, during which Oz continues to prove that he is the best human ever. I love his speech to Willow, especially the "I can't help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can feel better about yourself. That's not my problem." He is just infinitely more mature than anyone else at that school.

    Cordelia looks really hot in the brown leather. Really, really hot.

    • Danny_SAP says:

      Was that treated leather? It all looked far too shiny and flexible to me so I ended up deciding it was pleather of some kind. Not that it changes how smoking hot she is in it.

    • Ashley says:

      I can't believe I/m actually saying this, but who says characters have to grow and change in every episode of a show? It happens often enough on Buffy that I think we can understand when it takes a week off. Sometimes it's just fun to play around in the world you've created as a writer, or the world you visit every week on your TV.

      • cait0716 says:

        I didn't say it's bad, just atypical. The episode is a lot of fun, but it's definitely a departure from what I usually expect from Buffy. Usually there are consequences and this time there isn't even a memory.

    • notemily says:

      There's a lot of fun to be had, but the stakes aren't real.

      Yeah, they're probably just plastic props.


      *runs away*

    • RoseFyre says:

      Oz is probably helped by being a year older than everyone else…but even that can't be all of it. A lot of it is just his personality, I think, but yeah, he's way more mature than everyone else.

  29. plaidpants says:

    OMG, I love alternative universe/what-if/time travel storylines, so when I saw the spoilerific Netflix episode summary, I was very excited. Honestly, I spent the majority of the first part of the episode just waiting for the wish to happen, so I didn't really pay very close attention. But Xander and Willow – you deserve to feel like crap, you cheated, I have no sympathy for you. The end.

    Anyway, I was completely shocked that Cordelia was killed like, halfway through the episode! I was really hoping that she'd be the one to save the day, although I love that Giles was. I wonder what he was doing in Sunnydale if not to be Buffy's Watcher, though? It's sad that basically everyone dies with Buffy not being there, but it's not surprised.

    • RoseFyre says:

      I always assumed it was much like Angel – he went to Sunnydale to be Buffy's Watcher, but she never showed up. And then, for whatever reason (and there's a number I can think of), he decided to stay, or had to stay.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Maybe he was being transferred there anyway and in the main timeline was made Buffy's Watcher because she was moving there? Maybe he scanned the headlines and decided to go there and help? I don't know!

  30. stellaaaaakris says:

    -Ewwww. Squid demon is gross.
    -Oooh, what if Cordy's a witch? She could do some serious damage. (BTW, did she burn Buffy's pic too?)
    -Hey, is that Whitney from Bring It On? I'm pretty sure it is.
    -"Tears of a clown baby" vs. "Tears of a clown, baby". Discuss
    -It's turning into a "What if" episode!
    -Sunnydale realizes there are vampires? What is this nonsense????
    -Hmmm, I don't like Xander/Willow in this alt-universe, either
    -The Master looks like he has a cold.
    -Giles has scruff. Yummy.
    -Oh no! Cordy! Come on, Ripper!
    -Wait, so Cordelia's body makes no sound when it falls to the ground but the key does? This show chooses weird times to not include sound effects. Unrelated note, I choose weird things to focus on.
    -They have an incinerator??? πŸ™
    -It was satisfying watch Angel, Xander and even Willow turn to dust
    -I wish everybody would have remembered the alt lives

    • Nattlinnen says:

      Wait, so Cordelia's body makes no sound when it falls to the ground but the key does? This show chooses weird times to not include sound effects. Unrelated note, I choose weird things to focus on.
      It's beautiful. Really gives me the chill. The sadness of Giles who can not bear to hear Cordy's body, yet the key, the only thing he needed to save her clings like a DEATH DRUM.

      Also, how can one not love Vamp Xander and Willow?

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Ooh, I like that explanation. I thought it was an error. Giles, my heart reaches out for you.

        And I really like Xander and Willow as vampires, I just don't like them as a couple. I do not support the Xander/Willow ship.

        • Nattlinnen says:

          Well, I don't like original ship much. Though I'm kinda sweet on Willows obsession on Xander season 1. But, in this episode I love it. It's a healthy relationship. They can both give and take and there is no jealousy involved. πŸ˜‰

    • Karen says:

      The I Hate Xander Club is always open to new members. πŸ˜€

    • LadyViridis says:

      Totally with you on hating Xander. Every once in awhile he has a moment where he's less annoying, but most of the time I'm watching the episode like GOD XANDER, WHY ARE YOU STILL IN THIS SHOW? GO AWAY.

      Xander is probably the ONE character they could kill off and I would just shrug. Most of the others I'd be at least a little sad, but Xander? lolwhatevs.

    • echinodermata says:

      "It was satisfying watch Angel, Xander and even Willow turn to dust"

      It honestly was. I thought it was refreshing how little Buffy cared that Angel died – she just walks through his dust – and having Buffy kill Xander and Oz kill Willow just felt neat. My reaction was mostly just 'cool.' Whereas I was wincing when Cordelia died and had to turn away when Buffy dies.

    • notemily says:

      YES IT IS WHITNEY FROM BRING IT ON. Or as I think of her, "Ready to Have Sex Girl" from Can't Hardly Wait.

  31. stephanie says:

    add me to list of people who absolutely LOVE this ep with every fiber of her being. Bored Now was the header on my phone for years until I finally got an Iphone, (which has no headers… BOO.) i agree with everyone that's mentioned this isn't about cordy as much as it's about what everyone would've been like, including buffy, if buffy had never come to sunnydale. and it's horrible. as it should be.

    v jbaqre ubj znex'f tbaan ernpg gb qbccyrtnatynaq abj?! v pna abg jnvg!!!

  32. Bonnie says:

    Well, of course that Xander and Willow kill Cordelia. It makes perfect sense. What was only metaphorical in the actual world becomes literal in the Wishverse. It goes back to the literalization of metaphors, and this one is especially poignant.
    Elsewhere, Harmony looks gorgeous in her Wishverse getup. That hairstyle really suits her.
    Nyfb, Naln!

  33. unefeeverte says:

    Ba gb Nzraqf abj… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA. (I love it, okay?)

  34. sirintegra42 says:

    Endless thoughts for this episode, although not quite as many as for the last episode because this one is severely lacking in Spike. Anyway, we do get vampire Willow to make up for it slightly: πŸ™‚
    – Seeing big tentacly demons in the daytime is always odd.
    – This is why vampires go 'poof'. Otherwise half of the episodes would be about them burying vampire bodies.
    – I know you don't really believe that Xander but SHUT UP anyway.
    – Little too much leather there costume people.
    – ANYA, it's so good to see you.
    – And WBANGUNA again.
    – Fuck you Harmony. Cordelia is capable of being mean but she was never quite that cruel,
    – I like Seth Green's emotional Oz acting. It's just enough emotion without it seeming completely out of character, plus he does have a point.
    – Do people actually believe that thing that Cordelia did?
    – Eurgh teenagers can be disgusting. I definitely don't miss school and I can't understand people who think it was the best years of their life.
    – I see what you're angling for Anya.
    – It's weird but I've never actually hated Xander before this rewatch. Now he's really pissing me off.
    – It's kind of understandable why Cordy blames Buffy. She's looking for someone to blame other than Xander so she can feel better. It's still depressing though.
    – You're talking to yourself Cordy. That's one of those acceptable breaks with reality though as it spells out what's going on if you don't get it.
    – These earlier parts getting more depressing after you've watched the episode a couple of times. There are just so many details, like the curfew, the muted clothes and how constantly scared everyone looks. It's pretty terrifying.
    – 'Bored now.' I feel like I've heard that line hundreds of times since the first time I watched this episode.
    – I'm not sure if vampire Xander is worse than regular Xander or not.
    – Thinking about it I don't quite get why Giles is there if he never got given Buffy. Maybe he went there just for the hell of it. Anyone have any ideas?
    – It's good having the Master back, although he's better in small doses. I always appreciate his odd sense of humour more that way.
    – I like how Cordelia asks that question and doesn't get an answer to it. I doubt if the writers even really had a reasoning behind him being there.
    – Giles always has a rough time, whatever the universe.
    – Good subversion of the usual 'someone gets sent to an alternate universe and learns valuable life lessons' thing in that Cordy dies before she gets to learn too much.
    – Does average Willow have some latent leather fetish? I suppose it depends on how much you think that the vampire version of a person gets from how they were before they changed, which the writers seemed to flip about a lot.
    – Of course Angel would be a puppy, one of those ones which permanently looks worried :).
    – I like casual jumper Giles, he should wear those kind of clothes more often. Although I am fond of the tweed too.
    – This episode shows perfectly how important Buffy's friends are to her survival. Without them she becomes much more like a cross between Kendra and Faith, only minus any sense of humour.
    – I'm guessing in this timeline Angel still saw Buffy when she was in LA but she never came to Sunnydale.
    – This blood factory is one of the more disturbing things I've seen on TV. It makes sense that someone like the Master would think of it though.
    – 'She's still alive here you see, for the freshness.' So disturbing and yet still hilarious.
    – I always wonder if this universe's Buffy has a death wish. It seems that way to me sometimes, considering how little she had planned.
    – Watching Buffy fight Willow is horribly wrong, watching her fight Xander however is oddly satisfying :D.
    – Angel's dusting has to be one of the more detailed ones they did.
    – Actually, scratch that. All of the dustings of the main characters seem better than the average effects they used. I guess they were told to pay more attention to them.
    – And Giles gets to save the day for once, as well as everyone else's lives.
    – Buffy getting her neck snapped is extra cruel writing because it echoes Jenny (cyhf gur qrngu juvpu V jvyy abg zragvba orpnhfr gung jbhyq zrna nqzvggvat vg npghnyyl unccrarq). It shows how much disdain the Master has for her.
    – And all is right with the world again, with no one knowing any better. For once I don't mind though. The whole reset button thing does allow for some fun for the writers. All of the characters can be killed off in one episode and it doesn't matter because it's an alternate universe.

    This is one of my favourite episodes, along with quite a few from this series as I've recently realised, possibly because of the difference in tone compared to other episodes. Sure it's got one of the more depressing endings of Buffy but I do love a good alternate universe.

    • Nattlinnen says:

      "Fuck you Harmony. Cordelia is capable of being mean but she was never quite that cruel."
      She really is. Compare season 1, episode 1.

      • sirintegra42 says:

        True, but Cordy after character development wouldn't be that mean to anyone unless she really did hate them. Plus I'm just not a big fan of mindless bullies anyway.

        • Nattlinnen says:

          Yea. I'm just pointing out that she has been that cruel. Something I think people easily forget due to how lovable she is now.

          • sirintegra42 says:

            Also true. I guess it's easier to excuse a character's actions once you've seen them develop past their worst behaviour.

    • RoseFyre says:

      I always figured Giles was like Angel – sent to Sunnydale when they thought Buffy was going to go there, and then she never showed up. And then, for whatever reason, he didn't leave.

  35. misterbernie says:

    Inzc!Jvyybj/InzcrqOlInzcJvyybj!Jvyybj? V fuvc vg.

  36. @sesinkhorn says:


    I love alternative universes. I love the philosophical subtext that it is our experiences who make us who we are. Buffy has become hardened and cynical. A machine. We watch these friendships we've grown to love literally turn to dust and none of it matters, but that's kind of the point. The world is lesser because those relationships are meaningless. The part where Angel says Buffy's name before turning to dust and she doesn't even twitch and actually marches through his dust to keep on fighting. What an image.

    Seeing our darling Willow as a creepy sadistic vamp really hammers home the idea that the human the vampires were isn't a player anymore.

    BE NER GURL. V ybir gur vagebqhpgvba bs Rivy Jvyybj naq gur funqrf bs fnqvfz naq whfg cynva perrcvarff naq cbjre-cynl jr frr va ure inzcver frys. Vg'f ersyrpgrq va yngre frnfbaf, naq znqr nyy gur zber hafrggyvat ol gur snpg gung jr qba'g unir gur "ohg gung jnfa'g ERNYYL Jvyybj" rkphfr gb snyy onpx ba. Gubfr ryrzragf ner va ure. Inzcvat whfg gnxrf njnl gur fhcrertb, nf vg jrer. Fb hafrggyvat.

  37. Noybusiness says:

    "Slayer's Elegy"

    [youtube uo91LFHnnZM youtube]

    What Joss Whedon loves about The Wish is that no one learns anything. Cordelia could have had this big life-changing lesson – but NO. Ha. Fooled you!

    FYI: Editing a post with a video in it breaks it, and you have delete and repost.

  38. Noybusiness says:

    Vampire Xander is way hotter than regular Xander. Is it the makeup? The fact he talks slower and softer?

    • znachki says:

      He's hotter as a hyena boy too. That's acting. Menace v.goffball

    • VicarPants says:

      Maybe it's the commitment to being an asshole rather than having to watch him struggle against his asshole instincts. Even if he's chosen evil, there's a certain allure in that kind of conviction and purpose.

  39. SecretGirl127 says:

    Question: I finished the rest of the season this weekend. Is it safe to read the rot13 comments or do they extend into other seasons?

  40. znachki says:

    They go right up to the end of the Series – so nope. Not safe at all.

  41. caia says:

    Mileage does very, doesn't it? I always found "The Wish" way more upsetting than "Lovers Walk" as an episode. Even if it's only us, we see the impact Buffy had on all their lives, and them on her.

    NGL, I like Wishverse Buffy a lot. She's badass. And then to watch her die like that…

    • Noybusiness says:

      Someone on a forum called the episode nihilistic, because it shows that everything could have gone to hell if not for sheer good fortune.

  42. redheadedgirl says:

    Ab tbqqnza yvr, V fnj Qbccyrtnatynaq orsber V fnj guvf rcvfbqr. (Zl Ohssl jngpuvat uvfgbel jnf abg nalguvat yvxr puebabybtvpny). Naq jura V jnf gbyq nobhg guvf rcvfbqr, V jnf gbyq vg raqf jvgu Tvyrf nfxvat sbe Ohssl gb pbzr gb Fhaalqnyr, ohg fur pbhyqa'g, orpnhfr Pyrirynaq. Fb vzntvar zl fhecevfr jura V svanyyl fnj vg naq gung jnf whfg na npg oernx.

    That said, this is one of my favorite episodes. It's just so fucked UP. Also Cordy as the vengeance filled Red Queen is awesome.

    It's like the concept behind Seinfeld taken up to 11- "No hugging, no learning." There was no hugging. And no one learned a damn thing. There's a recap- I want to say TWoP, but I'm not sure, that talks about the moment Buffy kills Xander. She kills him and turns to the next target, no change of expression, no reaction that in another world, that vampire Buffy killed is one of her best friends. Of course there isn't, why would there be, but that moment would, in any other reality, be huge, but instead is just… one more kill.

  43. samyouare says:

    I adore the Arrested Development reference right at the beginning of this post. Kudos, Mark.

  44. Meltha says:

    That IS the point. Cordelia and people like her will never, ever learn that they are exactly one heartbeat away from being dead, and the only reason they're walking around is Buffy, who she hates and irrationally blames for "ruining her life" because she paid attention to "losers" who in fact keep saving her rear end. As pointed out by the fact the most horrendous way to humiliate Cordelia is to show she isn't popular and should be dating the people her friends think are subhuman, like Jonathon. So, yeah. No pity for Cordelia. She will never learn because to her life is a never-ending popularity contest.

    One of the best, deepest, and most intriguing episodes of the season, or in many respects, the whole series.

    • gonzoron says:

      "Fur jvyy arire yrnea orpnhfr gb ure yvsr vf n arire-raqvat cbchynevgl pbagrfg."

      Hagvy vg vfa'g. Naq gura fur qbrf. πŸ™‚ NgF!Pbeql, V ybir lbh!!!

      • robin_comments says:

        lrnu, V jnf whfg tbvat gb fnl guvf! Natry gur frevrf!Pbeqryvn qrsvavgryl vagreanyvmrf gung yrffba…

  45. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Sorry I'm late peeps! I was out (again! This social life thingy is just terrible!)


    Ok, perhaps not THE best, but it’s unquestionably in my top five episodes so far.

    I just…I can’t coherently talk about how awesome this was. I love parallel universes like cake with glittery sprinkles.

    There’s just too much awesome here to talk about, so I’m gonna have to reduce it to a top ten list.

    Top Ten Awesome-tastic Things About ‘The Wish’:

    1)Wish!Giles’ team of ‘whitehats’. Oh how wonderful that he’s still trying to make a difference even without the Slayer! It just highlights the kind of person he is – when he just drives past a group of people being herded by the vamps, even though he’s hopelessly outnumbered, he still tries to help. It doesn’t even occur to him not to.
    2)Larry is one of Giles’ little team! OMG PLEASE MAKE HIM A MAIN CHARACTER ALREADY. I already like him more than Xander.
    3)Wish!Buffy was brilliant – obviously the same person, but much harder around the edges. Also, that scar across her mouth was kind of hot? Is that weird?
    4)Giles calling Buffy ‘Miss Summers’. Awwwwww.
    5)Willow and Xander as vampires. Willow especially was verrrrry creepy. It’s interesting actually – is the fact she was so sadistic just coincidence, or does it speak to a darker side of Willow that we haven’t seen? I’m still not entirely clear on how much the original human personality plays into what kind of vampire you become.
    6)The Master! I’m a sucker for continuity and I do look back fondly on his shenanigans.
    7)Cordelia getting her day in the limelight episode…and then promptly dying quite soon in. It’s a neat twist, and one I wasn’t expecting.
    8)Their reaction, or rather lack thereof, to Nancy’s death. It’s a small moment, but done really well – this is obviously someone who’s been fighting alongside them for a while, but they can barely spare a moment to mourn her. It really highlights just how awful this world is, and how much death is just an everyday occurrence.
    9)The machine that sucked out the girl’s blood…URGH. Just…EW…that is so gross it’s unbelievable. Really cool though.
    10)The music at the end…in fact that whole scene at the end with the slow-mo fighting was incredible.

    • Jenny_M says:


    • Nattlinnen says:

      Damn yes. I also love the use of Nancy and her death in this episode.

      And, how cold Giles is when he stops to take Cordy's necklace. 3 seconds of massive mourning, then cold and calculating. Really shows the desperation in the situation.

    • arctic_hare says:


    • jbb says:

      Now I want to know what your top 5 episode are! (So far.)

    • Wish!Giles’ team of ‘whitehats’.
      And it calls back to his assertion in "Lie to Me" that "the good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats."

      Vg’f vagrerfgvat npghnyyl – vf gur snpg fur jnf fb fnqvfgvp whfg pbvapvqrapr, be qbrf vg fcrnx gb n qnexre fvqr bs Jvyybj gung jr unira’g frra?
      Bu, avpr pngpu, lbh.

      The music at the end…in fact that whole scene at the end with the slow-mo fighting was incredible.

      Also, I join everyone in being delighted that you loved this one because, of course, we are emotionally invested in your emotions.

      • Nattlinnen says:

        Nice connection on "Lie to me". Hadn't thought about it. Further, I like "White Hats" more than "Scoobies". It has a nice cling to it and lends a feeling of chivalry!

        • LadyViridis says:

          "White Hats" is a call back to western films, where the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black hats.

          • Nattlinnen says:

            Sometimes I am quite dumb. πŸ™‚

            • Hyaroo says:

              What I found kinda funni is how it's Xander who calls them the "White Hats." Just like Xander was, in-universe at least, the one to think up the name "Scoobies." No matter what reality, no matter if he has a soul or not, the boy just can't seem to shake the habit of giving the hero teams pop-culture-inspired names. ^_^

            • LadyViridis says:

              It's cool, I didn't make the connection myself until I read it somewhere… probably TVTropes or something.

      • notemily says:

        Va trareny ravtzngvpntragfphyyl vf n ybg zber nfghgr guna Znex ng cvpxvat hc ba sberfunqbjvat. Ohg fur vf fgvyy fb hacercnerq.

    • tanbarkie says:

      "I’m still not entirely clear on how much the original human personality plays into what kind of vampire you become."

      Uru uru uru.

      Ohssl: Jvyybj, whfg erzrzore, n inzcver'f crefbanyvgl unf abguvat gb qb jvgu gur crefba vg jnf.
      Natry: Jryy, npghnyyl…
      [cnhfrf nf Jvyybj naq Ohssl ybbx ng uvz]
      Natry: Gung'f n tbbq cbvag.

      • IceBlueRose says:


        Jvyybj: V'z fb rivy naq fxnaxl! Naq V guvax V'z xvaq bs tnl.

        V nyjnlf ybir gung yvar naq gur rkpunatr gung sbyybjf gung lbh cbvagrq bhg. Naq V ybir gung Jvyybj ercrngf gur "V guvax V'z xvaq bs tnl." yvar va Gnohyn Enfn.

        • darkwater says:

          V jnf guvaxvat rknpgyl gur fnzr guvat. unu.

          V jbaqre vs gurl xarj ng guvf cbvag gurl jrer tbvat gb frag Jvyybj va gung qverpgvba.

          Vs abg, gurl frg gurzfryirf hc avpryl sbe fbzr nirahrf bs punenpgre qrirybczrag.

          • @alexiel921 says:

            Gurl'ir fnvq gung Wbff jnagrq rvgure Jvyybj be Knaqre gb ghea bhg tnl, fb gurer'f uvagf sbe obgu guebhtubhg gur rneyvre frevrf. Yneel'f zvfgnxr nobhg Knaqre fgnegvat ynfg frnfba naq Jvyybj'f yvar va Qbccrytnatynaq ner gur zbfg boivbhf.

            • darkwater says:

              Bu jryy pbby. V qvq abg xabj gung. Vg'f avpr gb xabj fbzrgvzrf gung guvatf whfg nera'g enaqbz pubvprf ol jevgref.

      • sirintegra42 says:

        That exchange is one of my favourites, as is that episode too :).

      • theDMG says:

        I don't even have to rot13 that one to know exactly what you're quoting πŸ™‚

    • darkwater says:

      This episode is awesome for vampire Willow and Xander. πŸ™‚

      V org fur'yy ernyyl rawbl Qbccyrtnatynaq nf jryy.

      Erghea bs Inzc!Jvyybj!

      "Npx! Unaqf! Unaqf!"

    • John Small Berries says:

      I’m still not entirely clear on how much the original human personality plays into what kind of vampire you become.

      I'm not either, despite having seen the whole series.

      One thing I *have* noticed, though, is that all the vampires that I can think of who can trace their "heritage" back to The Master have distinct personalities, and seem to have much better cognitive abilities than the average "grunt" vampires that Buffy slays by the handful (and who tend to gravitate towards being dull-witted henchmen).

      Which is not to say that all smart vampires with personalities are descended from The Master, of course – but it does seem like there might be something that runs in "family lines". Or perhaps it has something to do with how many generations are in a vampire's bloodline? The Master is a pretty old vampire, after all.

      I don't know. If they explained that on the show, I've forgotten it.

      • cait0716 says:

        Not on the show, but in fanfiction I've seen it explained as a choice the sire makes when making a vampire. So Darla chose to make Angelus her companion and gave him more blood (or something) and this resulted in a stronger, smarter, fiercer vampire. When they need minions, they use minimal blood to keep them weak and subservient. Just speculation and fanwank, though.

        • Noybusiness says:

          I think it's just because they sought out people who stood out to them in the first place to turn, and they were proven right about these people having an inner quality that came out as vampires. But logistically speaking, there'll be more vampires that are sired and get killed pretty quickly (in a day, like Theresa in "Phases", or in a decade – that's not long for a vampire) and a few that make the cut, as it were.

      • whedonzombie says:

        Hmmm. Could be, but I always thought that had more to do with the fact that those of the Master's lineage happen to be important characters in the story. I think the only reason many other vampires seem a bit dim or boring is because they aren't integral characters and are only squeezed in to give Buffy something to kill during fight scenes. No need to develop a character who will be dust in a few scenes! Making them appear less bright also creates an explanation as to why they are all easier to fight than the more focused on opponents. That's just my take on it.

      • RoseFyre says:

        No, definitely not all – as far as we know, Kakistos, Mr. Trick, and the Gorch brothers are not descended from the Master, and they all have at least some brains and somewhat distinctive personalities, Mr. Trick having by far the most of all.

        But vampires in general seem to keep at least SOME of their humanity, or at least the knowledge. Because Jesse still knew Xander, and Xander still knew Cordelia in this ep.

    • Noybusiness says:

      It's funny, 'cause that same actress played a character in Dark Angel that I would have liked to see the blood sucked out of, but I know it's not the same character, so I just feel bad for the unnamed Cordette.

    • theDMG says:

      Jvyybj naq Knaqre nf inzcverf. Jvyybj rfcrpvnyyl jnf ireeeeel perrcl. Vg’f vagrerfgvat npghnyyl – vf gur snpg fur jnf fb fnqvfgvp whfg pbvapvqrapr, be qbrf vg fcrnx gb n qnexre fvqr bs Jvyybj gung jr unira’g frra? V’z fgvyy abg ragveryl pyrne ba ubj zhpu gur bevtvany uhzna crefbanyvgl cynlf vagb jung xvaq bs inzcver lbh orpbzr.

      V'z fher guvf jba'g rire pbzr hc….

  46. Mez says:

    V qb svaq vg engure nzhfvat gung, rirel gvzr V'ir frra fbzrbar erivrj Ohssl rcvfbqrf hafcbvyrerq, gurl znex qbja Gur Jvfu orpnhfr gurer ner ab ybat-grez pbafrdhraprf.

    Bu Znex. Ubj yvggyr lbh xabj…

  47. Abygail says:

    I would like to see a few episodes showing this Buffy’s history. She’s sooo different then ‘our’ Buffy. And I like her πŸ˜› Dunno why, but I just love the raw Buffy! Giev more!

    Vg’f nyfb gur ernfba V yvxr Orre Onq, ceruvfgbevp Ohssl vf whfg nf pbby!

    • caia says:

      Jvfu Ohssl, Orre Onq Ohssl, Ohsslobg — V ybir nyy gur Ohsslf! (V znl ybir gur Ohsslobg zbfg bs nyy. Oyrff ure yvggyr zrgny urneg.)

      • RoseFyre says:

        Cevaprff Ohssl, Svefg Ohssl, Snvgu Ohssl…Fnenu Zvpuryyr Tryyne vf n ZHPU orggre npgerff guna fbzr crbcyr tvir ure perqvg sbe, orpnhfr gurl'er nyy qvfgvapg.

  48. Polgara says:

    >The whole point of this alternate universe is to show Cordelia that she needs to assign blame where it needs to go.

    Well, no. That's your interpretation of what the episode is about. To me, the episode is about how the Slayer is stronger with her friends than without. With her friends, she survived her confrontation with the Master. Without them, she was just a matchstick to be snapped.

    • IceBlueRose says:

      I've always seen it that way too. Otherwise there would be a way for Cordelia to remember the effects of the wish she made engure guna Jvyybj trggvat n tyvzcfr bs vg jura fur gevrf gb uryc Naln trg ure arpxynpr naq gur erfg bs gur tebhc svaqvat bhg jung gung bgure jbeyq vf yvxr gung jnl. Rather than character development, I think this episode is more for the audience to be reminded that Buffy is better off with friends. After all, we've seen what Kendra was like without friends and we're seeing what it's done to Faith in this season and now they've allowed us to see what would happen if this were the case for Buffy.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Exactly. Wishverse Buffy was no more remarkable than any other Slayer. They even set this up at the beginning by having Buffy say "I have you guys".

  49. jbb says:

    And then Cordelia is eaten by Xander and Cordelia. Is it a shocking plot twist? It most certainly is. But I don’t know if the twist has any value aside from being shocking.

    I think Cordelia being killed by Willow and Xander works on a metaphorical level, given what they did to her in the 'real' world. That kind of plays into the theme of the episode, that blaming and vengeance can go hugely wrong, and…will inevitably suck the lifeblood out of you. Marti Noxon loves her some metaphors.

    The best thing about this episode for Cordelia is the way she walks off at the end wishing ridiculous things on Xander and enjoying it. It's positive, and sort of powerful for her? There's no consequences of it because she's idly wishing, instead of being actually invested in blame and revenge. So while she doesn't remember the experience of bizarro world, I think she is taken on a journey and comes out in a better place by the end of it.

    Also we get to see what impact Buffy has had on Sunnydale which is pretty cool.

  50. tanbarkie says:

    "The Wish" was the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer I ever saw. Needless to say, I was… confused.

    For one thing, it didn't really sink in that the bulk of the episode was spent in an alternate universe. So when I actually got around to watching the series from the beginning, I spent the first 2.5 seasons wondering when Xander and Willow were going to be turned into vampires.

  51. @lemairei says:

    Personally, I think it's a brilliant episode that makes perfect sense if you consider it from the point of view of its theme: what makes Buffy, well, Buffy. I am afraid, Cordelia is just a means to get there.

    The episode opens with Buffy being held by the throat by a demon, and needing her friends' help to get out of the situation. This is where the theme lies: Buffy is not Buffy without her friends. The friendless Buffy fails to kill the Master where the Buffy with friends succeeds. Notice the symbolic of Buffy's clothing and make up when she is killed by the Master: it's almost the same as Kendra's make up and clothing when she was killed by Dru.

    As for 'no one learns anything' – the episode wasn't there to teach the characters a lesson. It was for us to appreciate the importance of Buffy's friends to her success — and to the story.

    • tanbarkie says:

      "Notice the symbolic of Buffy's clothing and make up when she is killed by the Master: it's almost the same as Kendra's make up and clothing when she was killed by Dru."

      Whoa, I somehow never noticed that. Good catch!

  52. VicarPants says:

    Thoughts. One much less insightful than the other.

    Thought One: while I certainly don't want to put Xander and Willow as the victims they seem to feel they are, here, I keep reminding myself that they are still teenagers and Cordy/Oz were their first significant relationships. They don't know how to handle what they've done, but they know they want to fix it. They are pretty much hurting from the consequences of their stupid, stupid actions, and are doing some pretty epic hamfisted flailing to try to make it better, and finding they can't. I wouldn't believe for a second that either of them would handle this situation with maturity, wisdom and grace. It is totally fine for them to be fucking up, because right now, they're fuck ups.

    Thought Two: the blood-filled tubes in the Master's machine look like those red licorice shoelaces. Om nom nom.

    • cait0716 says:

      Yeah, I'm pretty forgiving of everyone for being idiotic teenagers at this point.

      • notemily says:

        Please don't say "idiotic" on this site.

        • RoseFyre says:

          Curious: why is idiot not allowed? I can usually figure out the reasoning behind why this is…able-ist? And I am failing. (Which does not mean it isn't, it probably means I am oblivious.)

          • notemily says:

            Fortunately someone has already laid out the reasons:

            • RoseFyre says:

              Ah, good to know. I figured it was something like that, but I hadn't realized it was used in quite that way. At least we can still call them incredibly stupid teenagers?

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                How about foolish? I'm a big fan of that word because it doesn't use the concept of intelligence or mental capacity to diminish them. They're fools who made an awful mistake.


                • cait0716 says:


                  And sorry about the slip up. I'm trying to learn

                • misterbernie says:

                  So I looked up the etymology of "fool", and it's a 13th century derivation from Old French fol, from Latin follis "bellows, leather bag", which in turn comes from PIE *bΚ°elΗ΅Κ°- 'to swell', which gives inherited English 'belly' and 'bellows'.

                  No, there's no point here, I just found out that 'fool' and 'belly' are etymological twins and I needed to share, k.

                • VicarPants says:

                  I'm sticking with fuckup outside of the workplace.

                  In the workplace, doofus is my go-to. With occasional forays into "ANGRY LITTLE MAN." for a certain jerkbutt colleague.

                • Noybusiness says:


                • pica_scribit says:

                  And I am suddenly reminded of the bit in Foucault's Pendulum where one of the characters has a monologue about how there are only four types of people: cretins, morons, fools, and lunatics. Check it out; it's one of my very favourite moments in literary fiction:

                  "There are
                  four kinds of people in this world: cretins, fools, morons, and

                  "And that covers everybody?"

                  "Oh, yes, including us. Or at least me. If you take a good look,
                  everybody fits into one of these categories. Each of us is sometimes a
                  cretin, a fool, a moron, or a lunatic. A normal person is just a
                  reasonable mix of these components, these four ideal types."

                  The rest is here….

                • notemily says:

                  I recently discovered that "dunce," while these days has connotations of the worst student in class, was originally a word for a religious philosophy that opposed "new learning." So calling someone a dunce is saying they obstinately refuse to learn, which I like.

                  There's also ignorant, irrational, naive, fallacious, and failtastic.

    • Joe says:

      Thank you! As someone who's already watched the entire series many times, I love Xander and Willow. It's hard to defend them to some of the newbie's when I can only use their teenage years to justify my position. And I feel like a lot of people's reactions are just way too over-the-top.

      Do I think cheating on a person's significant others is a good thing? Of course not, but Xander and Willow are just teenagers. Teenagers (and adults, for that matter) aren't perfect. But Willow and Xander are basically good people. Can we have a few less "fuck you's" directed at them please? "Shame on you" or "Stop it" are acceptable.

      • arctic_hare says:

        People will talk about them however they like in their comments. It's not your job to try and police people's language or reactions.

        • lakrids404 says:

          but it's yours, we do get it

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Oh, fuck off. For real. There's a difference between policing people and supporting my site rules that disallow PEJORATIVE SLURS.

            I'm not tolerating this sort of dismissive, snide bullshit.

            • Noybusiness says:

              Crikey. Why does someone (like lakrids404) go to the bother of coming here to your blog just to post a sour note? Can someone explain this to me?

            • robin_comments says:

              Seriously, Willow and Xander are imaginary and cannot be harmed. Policing other people's opinions about fictional characters is no way to foster engaging and interesting discussion. (I'm pretty sure Joe didn't even intend to do that, and it just came out wrong. That happens to us all.) But using slurs that subtly or overtly insult a disadvantaged group– that could theoretically hurt the feelings of a real life person with real life emotions… There is a pretty clear distinction happening here.

              It's really important to SPEAK UP about these kinds of things and correct people in a respectful & polite but firm way, even if it can feel socially uncomfortable. And anyone can do it. It's not one person's job. It's EVERYONE'S responsibility to speak up when they hear people using ableist/sexist/racist words, because words matter and help create the environment we all have to live in. Not all of us are brave enough, especially in certain situations, but that doesn't mean there's something wrong with the people who are.

              I'm been corrected before on this site for language use when I slipped up, and I don't see anything wrong with it. So there are a couple words in my vocab that I should stop using. OH MY, HOW WILL I COPE? OH THE CRUEL TYRANNICAL RESTRICTIONS ON MY FREE SPEECH. HOW CAN I LIVE IN A WORLD THIS CONFINED AND UNFAIR? I MIGHT AS WELL LIVE IN A DICTATORSHIP.

              • VicarPants says:

                lol free speech

                In my mind, free speech means no one can take you out and have you shot for something you've said/written/expressed. Doesn't mean no one's going to take you to task or ask you to change if you say something hurtful.

                Also, this is the internet, not strictly America, and Mark is Our King.

      • Karen says:

        Newbies to the show can react to Xander and Willow however they want. Maybe they like Xander and Willow now. Maybe they don't. Maybe their opinions will change as the show progresses, but like… let people experience the show.

      • notemily says:

        Can we have a few less "fuck you's" directed at them please?


      • VicarPants says:

        I don't mean to defend their actions or exonerate them, so much as understand why these normally-decent people are having a Moment of Being Terrible. Acknowledging that they're capable of awful behaviour and decisions because of reasons isn't defending them or giving them a free pass.

        Do you suppose Cordy and Oz are feeling any less hurt because they're teenagers and it was all just a silly mistake? Do their inexperience and raging hormones make the emotional impact of betrayal any less? Heartbreak isn't a badge you can only earn in mature relationships.

        I'm a basically good person who isn't perfect–and I've had a few "fuck yous" and the like shot across my bow. They didn't kill me, and I may have even deserved them.

        Also, these are fictional characters. I'm sure their feelings aren't hurt by the disdain and ire of the internet.

        • Joe says:

          I guess I'm not disagreeing with that. In fact, from a different perspective, the fact that they're fictional characters is part of the reason I was a little offended. No one needs actual blame here. Nicholas Brendon and Alyson Hannigan are both just good performers doing what was written for them. I feel like they were both sold short by this storyline for reasons I will get into when we're further into Buffy. And Mark, if you read this, I apologize if any of my half-assessed attempts to justify my Buffy feelings qualify as spoilers. Nothing specific has been said but say the word and I'll shut up for your sake.

          • VicarPants says:

            Still, their performances evoke emotions. Those emotions need to go somewhere, and I think we can all agree it would be extremely unfair to direct them at the actors, as they are, as you pointed out, acting. The characters are fair game. Just because it's fictional doesn't mean it doesn't matter or have weight or deserve comment or reaction.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            You should also treat my moderators the same way. This is not for my sake. It's for the sake of the community.

    • jademg says:

      YAY! Finally someone saying what I was thinking. Not only are they teenagers dealing with this kind of thing for the first time, but how many ADULTS do you know who are quick to take on the responsibility of their own actions. People in the real world are constantly trying to "blame the other guy" for all the bad stuff that happens in their lives. Are Xander and Willow acting selfishly here? Yes! They are! But they are human for it.

  53. MichelleZB says:

    Am I one of the few people who *does* have sympathy for Xander and Willow? Okay, so you're not supposed to kiss people when you're dating other people. But they're so young. And… it happens, and it's still happened even if they wish it hadn't later. Maybe I'm quick to forgive this sort of behaviour, but I can't be the only one.

    • redheadedgirl says:

      I do have sympathy for them because part of the teenage process is making your mistakes and learning from them. And part of being a teenager is not always seeing the ramifications of your actions until they happen.

      Yes, Xander's "It's their fault!" justification is bullshit. And I think, on some level, he really knows that. But he's still the hero of his own story, and he hasn't gotten to the point where he can recognize that a hero has flaws. This is a learning process for him. Life is a learning process.

      Does that mean I think Cordy should forgive him and take him back? God no. Not if she doesn't want to. You learn from consequences, and this is a big one. What Xander's choice now is whether he learns, or stagnates.

      Willow is in the same boat. She wants to pretend it never happened, and good on Oz for having the self awareness to say "What I need and what you need are not the same thing, and you can't use me to get what you need. Sorry." This is Willow's consequence. And what she does with it is up to her.

      • IceBlueRose says:

        V nterr & V guvax Knaqre raqf hc yrneavat sebz guvf jura vg pbzrf gb oynzvat fbzrbar sebz uvf zvfgnxr. Va frnfba fvk, ur shyyl bjaf hc gb jung ur qvq gb Naln jura ur yrsg ure ng gur nygne. Lrf, yngre ur'f cerggl fubpxrq naq cvffrq gung fur jrag onpx gb orvat n iratrnapr qrzba. Ohg gung fprar jura ur svefg pbzrf onpx naq gur fprar jurer ur naq Naln frr rnpu bgure sbe gur svefg gvzr fvapr gur jrqqvat, ur nterrf jvgu ure jura fur gryyf uvz gung ur'f gur bar ng snhyg naq ur'f gur bar gung zrffrq hc gung qnl.

        Abj vg qbrfa'g zrna gung ur'f yrnearq nyy gur yrffbaf gb or yrnearq ohg va gung bar pnfr, V guvax ur qbrf. Naq juvyr Jvyybj graqf gb cvyr ba gur thvyg sbe urefrys naq jnyybj, ur riraghnyyl yrneaf jura ur arrqf gb fgbc oynzvat uvzfrys yvxr jura ur gryyf Naln va frnfba frira gung riraghnyyl fur unf gb fgbc oynzvat nyy ure npgvbaf ba uvz nsgre fur gheaf…V guvax vg'f Anapl? Nsgre Naln gheaf ure rk vagb gung ovt chccl-rngvat jbez.

        ….that was a really long reply to one single point, sorry, lol.

        • Karen says:

          …lrnu, ohg ng gur fnzr gvzr, va frnfba fvk, Knaqre fgvyy rkcrpgf Naln gb gnxr uvz onpx nsgre YRNIVAT URE NG GUR NYGNE. Fb ur qbrf yrnea fbeg bs, ohg abg rabhtu.

          • redheadedgirl says:

            Juvpu vf fbeg bs Knaqre'f birenyy punenpgre nep va trareny.

          • IceBlueRose says:

            Nyfb n irel tbbq cbvag. V fubhyq rqvg gung gura gb fnl ur unys yrneaf uvf yrffba fvapr ur'f fgvyy ubcvat gung nyy jvyy or sbetvira evtug njnl. Gurl ernyyl qba'g fgneg svthevat guvatf bhg orgjrra gurz hagvy gbjneqf gur zvqqyr/raq bs frnfba frira jura gurl ernyvmr gung gurer'f fgvyy ybir gurer naq rira gura, V guvax vg jbhyq'ir cebonoyl gnxra ybatre vs gurer jnfa'g na ncbpnylcfr ba gur ubevmba.

            • RaeBear says:

              V ybir nyy gur punenpgref vapyhqvat Knaqre, ohg V nterr gung ur tebjf hc gur fybjrfg naq gnxrf uneq xabpxf nybat gur jnl. Vf vg orpnhfr creuncf ur pyrneyl unf yvggyr gb ab cneragvat va uvf yvsr? Jvyybj vf artyrpgrq naq vtaberq, ohg srq naq jnez naq qerffrq naq fb ba. Knaqre whfg qbrfa'g unir nalguvat: ab pnevat cneragf, ab fghss, ab zbarl, rgp. Naq ur pyrneyl (gb zr) unf na YQ, juvpu ab grnpure rire rire urycf uvz jvgu. lrf gur fgbelyvar bs Knaqre birepbzvat nyy guvf fuvg jbhyq or cbjreshy — ohg yrg'f snpr vg, va gur erny jbeyq, irel srj crbcyr pna. Vg'f n uneq xabpx. Creuncf uvf rtb vf zber gvtugyl vairfgrq va "abg orvat ng snhyg" orpnhfr bs nyy guvf, orpnhfr gung vf n ebpx ur pyvatf gb, n znagen bs fheiviny. Fnqyl gung znagen qbrfa'g jbex fb jryy gur byqre lbh trg….

              • Tina says:

                Svefg, Jung'f na YQ ?

                Frpbaq, V nterr. Knaqre unq orra onfvpnyyl… abg orra envfrq. Vg'f cnegvphyneyl boivbhf va frnfba 4 naq jung vf uneqre gb jngpu nobhg vg vf gung uvf sevraqf qbrfa'g frrz gb ernyvmr gung. V'z npghnyyl irel phevbhf gb ern Znex'f ernpgvba gb Knaqre'f snzvyl raivebaazrag.

                Naq V nterr nobhg Jvyybj gbb. Naq vg'f ybtvpny gura gung fur ybfg urefrys fb rnfvyl vagb zntvp. Obgu Jvyybj naq Knaqre unir ab cneragvat naq ner gelvat gb envfrq gurzfryirf ohg zbfgyl snvyrq ng vg. Gung'f nyfb jul V guvax Ohssl vf gur fgebatrfg punenpgre, orpnhfr ure zbgure jnf n pbafgnag cerfrapr qhevat ure grrantr.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I totally get people that do, but I've been cheated on a bunch of times, so I generally don't have sympathy. THIS IS A PERSONAL REASON THOUGH. So I understand why others don't!

    • cait0716 says:

      I definitely have sympathy for them. Teenagers make mistakes and do stupid shit. It's part of being a teenager. They should have known better, they probably did know better (see all their guilt even back in Homecoming), but hormones can be overwhelming.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Yeah, teenagers aren't supposed to be perfect at having relationships or knowing what they want or being awesome people. I'm also of the view that high school relationships are not marriages, and should not be taken as seriously. Not to say that cheating is okay, but that it's weird that our culture expects commitment and fidelity of teenagers who are just learning the ropes of romance and sex.

      ETA: Additional thought: Is this mentality a subtle form of slut-shaming, and byproduct of the purity culture? Now I'm going to have to ponder this. Anyone else care to weigh in?

    • robin_comments says:

      V guvax vg unf n fgebatre, zber artngvir nssrpg ba zr orpnhfr V frr guvf nf n fvtavsvre bs onfvp synjf va Jvyybj naq Knaqre'f punenpgref. V srry yvxr guvf vf rfcrpvnyyl gehr nobhg Jvyybj, nf va zl bcvavba gur jnl fur orunirf urer vf n pbagvahrq gurzr va gur frevrf (fgnegvat jvgu Ybiref Jnyx V srry yvxr jr'er ernyyl ortvaavat gb frr gur tebhaqjbex sbe gur qnexre punenpgre fur orpbzrf va yngre frnfbaf). Naq gura Knaqre nyfb qbrf pbagvahr gb fbzrjung unir n unovg bs znxvat bgure crbcyr'f cnva nobhg uvz naq uvf vafrphevgvrf & arrqf.

      Ohg trarenyyl V jbhyq nterr jvgu lbh gung grrantref orvat penccl ebznagvp cnegaref vf bsgra cne sbe gur pbhefr naq abg gb or frra nf n creznarag fgnva ba gurve erpbeq bs crefbany eryngvbafuvcf.

    • notemily says:

      I have cheated before, and felt awful afterwards and wanted to do anything to make it better, so… I get where they're coming from, but I still think they're acting like assholes. Cheating does happen, but you have to own that it's a shitty thing and you are completely responsible for doing it. Here, it seems like they're trying to justify it, in a really gross way. Especially Xander–at least Willow is trying to set boundaries and make things right (though trying a little TOO hard when it comes to Oz).

      I don't know. I was horrible at relationships for the majority of my dating life. Just… AWFUL. And while I can understand the reasons for that, and forgive myself, that doesn't mean I condone my prior behavior or think it was okay. Yes, most people do shitty things to other people at one point or another, and they're human. But those behaviors are still not okay. There's a difference between "I understand why I did a shitty thing" and "I'm making excuses for why I did this shitty thing."

    • Infidelity is a personal trigger for me, and as a result I have basically no sympathy for the two of them at all. I would actually probably say that the Willow/Xander cheating arc is my single least favourite part of the entire series, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable and angry to watch the two of them attempt to justify their behaviour. But it's definitely a personal thing for me.

  54. IceBlueRose says:

    I love the symbolism in this episode with each death. Xander and Willow kill Cordelia, just as they basically ripped out her heart in the last episode. And the rest of the deaths are just as symbolic with the characters getting some sort of cathartic release with the person they kill. Oz stakes Willow. Xander stakes Angel. Buffy stakes Xander (and I don't think it was because she had feelings for Angel beyond maybe some pity and distrust but he was her only ally in that building). And then the Master fulfills the prophecy from season one and kills Buffy. The fact that we actually hear her neck snap is what's so disturbing about it too. Thank goodness for Giles smashing the amulet.

    And this is apparently too long thanks to the next really long paragaph, so I'm separating the two! Second half in the reply!

  55. IceBlueRose says:

    I think that Cordelia knows Buffy's not to blame but it's easier to trace her involvement with Xander to when Buffy arrived. Gubhtu fur qbrf pbagvahr gb znxr sha bs Ohssl qbja gur yvar naq hfr ure nf n zrnfher bs jung abg gb or – yvxr va Ez j/ n Ih jura fur fnlf gung fur'f abg fbzr juval yvggyr pel Ohssl. (Nalbar ryfr ybbxvat sbejneq gb Pbeqryvn ba Natry? Fur unf fb znal snagnfgvp zbzragf ba gurer!) Qrfcvgr guvatf yvxr gung gubhtu, V guvax fur ernyyl qbrf haqrefgnaq jub vf ernyyl gb oynzr urer naq gung vg'f abg Ohssl.

    As always, I enjoy the hell out of Xander and Willow as vampires. They're so different! Well, I mean, obviously but I think you guys know what I mean.

    All in all, this has always been one of my favorite Buffy episodes. I always look forward to it when I do a rewatch.

  56. ZeynepD says:

    Without reading any of the other comments yet–and since we're at page 3, this is almost certainly a mistake, because someone(s) else are certain to have said the same thing: That no one learns from the entire experience was the main reason why this episode did not leave as good an impression at my first-time through watching.

    Also, "Bored now" was the first ever meme I cottoned on to. The moment I heard that it became part of my…
    "vocabulary" isn't the right word, but you know? Since I watched this years after it was all over, I was of course late to the party, but Hannigan's delivery just… I still use it, sometimes, without even thinking about where it comes from.

    • cait0716 says:


      I had a friend who opened a game store and named it "Board Now". It was brilliant, though it didn't even survive a year.

    • threerings13 says:

      When my husband and I were still working our way through Buffy, years after it aired, I totally unconsciously said,
      "Bored now" in front of the friend who had pushed the hardest for me to watch it and she FREAKED, like, "OH, YEAH, BUFFY'S GOT YOU NOW, BABY."

  57. Hanna_the_Glam says:

    Rewatching this episode caused me to think about gur yngre vagrenpgvbaf orgjrra Tvyrf naq Naln. V xabj Tvyrf pna'g erzrzore orvat erfcbafvoyr sbe gnxvat njnl ure qrzbavp cbjref, ohg V jbaqre vs vg yrsg fbzr xvaq bs xnezvp vzcerffvba ba uvz naljnl. Ure nccrnenapr ba fgntr va uvf 'Erfgyrff' qernz, uvf bssre bs n wbo ng gur Zntvp Obk, naq fb ba xvaq bs fhttrfgf gb zr gung ur sryg n pregnva nzbhag bs erfcbafvovyvgl gb rapbhentr ure gb or uhzna. V fhccbfr ur arrqa'g unir erzrzorerq gur NH, abj gung V guvax nobhg vg — fur pbhyq unir whfg gbyq uvz nobhg jung unccrarq, yngre.

  58. Kickpuncher says:

    Damnit, abar bs gur svefg-gvzr jngpuref unir znal gubhtugf ba Naln.

    Naq lbh xabj, gung znxrf frafr, ohg ABJ UBJ NZ V TBVAT GB YNHTU NG GURZ?

  59. Plactus says:

    • I believe I've seen this one, although after "Lovers Walk," who knows.
    • I'd say that demon is a mind flayer, but it's got her pinned and isn't trying to eat her brain.
    • Before the last episode and SAT scores, I'd have made a joke about it being Buffy's brain.
    • You'll notice he's not trying to eat Xander's. With his "much more advanced" logic later… yeah, I wouldn't eat his brain either. (Obligatory "I like Xander, but the joke is too easy to pass up" disclaimer.)
    • Nerfing a demon to death is an image.
    • Dear subtitler. When you put a comma after "strong" in Willow's sentence, "I want to be strong Willow," it makes it look like Willow's talking to herself.
    • Wbuanguna! Forgot he was in this one.
    • …why wouldn't students be allowed to drive?
    • Or for that matter… in the Wishverse, it's a lot more obvious bad stuff is happening all around. Why would anyone stay in Sunnydale?
    • "I wish us into Bizarro Land, and you guys are still together? I cannot win!" "Probably not… but I'll give you a head start." For some reason, I've always loved this line.
    • "It happens that Sunnydale is on a Hellmouth. It is so!" Giles <3
    • And even in the Wishverse, Xander hates Angel. Here it's probably different, but still, heh.
    • "The entire world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish? I just want it clear." Line of the episode goes to Larry. (Oz's "…she should get her money back" is good too.)
    • "You'd be surprised how many things that'll kill." I still use this line. Not everyday, obviously, but it's in my quote vocabulary and it comes up just about whenever appropriate.
    • "Some have argued that such an advancement goes against our nature. They claim that death is our art. I say to them… well, I don't say anything to them because I kill them." Oh, how I've missed the Master's grandiose speeches. Also, there's an explanation for Luke and Darla. (Nygubhtu V cersre gb guvax Qneyn jnf haunccl nobhg chccvslvat Natry naq jnf rvgure xvyyrq be sbeprq gb yrnir sbe ure nyyrtvnapr gb uvz.)
    • Why do some vampires linger for a few seconds before dusting and some go immediately?
    • The sequence where everyone dies, interspliced with Giles stealing and smashing Anya's pendant, is really well done. Props to everyone involved.

    I kept a running body count while watching this episode. I think I've compiled shorter lists of bullet point thoughts.
    • Demon, killed by Buffy.
    • Vampire, killed by Buffy.
    • (Wishverse) Girl, killed by Willow.
    • (Wishverse) Cordelia, killed by Xander and Willow.
    • (Wishverse, offscreen) Nancy, killed by vampires.
    • (Wishverse, sound/offscreen) Vampire, killed by Buffy.
    • (Wishverse, sound/offscreen) Vampire, killed by Buffy.
    • (Wishverse) Girl, killed by the human juicer.
    • (Wishverse) Angel, killed by Xander.
    • (Wishverse) Xander, killed by Buffy.
    • (Wishverse) Willow, killed by Oz.
    • (Wishverse) Buffy, killed by the Master.

    • Plactus says:

      Re: Point #2.

      Jngpuvat "Tvatreoernq," naq va cnegvphyne Ohssl'f qbhog gung fur'f znxvat Fhaalqnyr orggre, V jvfurq fbzrbar pbhyq gryy ure nobhg gur Jvfuirefr naq ubj zhpu jbefr guvatf jrer jvgubhg ure nebhaq. Ohg bs pbhefr, ab bar erzrzoref vg.

    • Noybusiness says:

      There's no U between the B and A in "Wbanguna". πŸ˜‰

      • Plactus says:

        Ack. But I typed his name and then translated it… ah, that would be "Johnathan." Yep, not the first time I've done that, although I generally realize I screwed it up when I leave it in plaintext.

  60. Ashley says:

    I'm not sure I would call this a Cordelia-centric episode, it's more like she's the way in to this alternate world where we see what Sunnydale would be like without Buffy (which says something about Buffy as a person). But even more importantly, this episode shows us that what makes Buffy different is her connection to her friends, and that if she didn't have them, she'd be like . . . well, this. It fits perfectly with the themes of the season (which might play better for Mark if he were to watch this episode again later after seeing the rest of the show).

    On top of all that, it's just FUN, man. I'm super surprised Mark didn't like this episode.

  61. Jordan says:

    Yay! now we don't have to rot13 "bored now"… of which there was a lot of in the past… oberq abj

    V pna'g jnvg sbe Inzc!Jvyybj gb pbzr onpx va qbccrytnatynaq
    Nyfb, Natry fnlf va n yngre rcvfbqr gung inzcverf'f crefbanyvgvrf ner ebbgrq va gurve uhzna crefbanyvgvrf… jr frr Jvyybj'f qnex fvqr yngre jura fur tbrf jvpxrq jvgpu bs gur jrfg nsgre gnen qvrf. Nyfb, va qbccyrtnatynaq jura jvyybj fnlf fur guvaxf Inzc Jvyybj vf xvaqn tnl, gung nyfb gheaf bhg gb or gehr.

  62. redheadedgirl says:

    Ab tbqqnza yvr, V fnj Qbccyrtnatynaq orsber V fnj guvf rcvfbqr. (Zl Ohssl jngpuvat uvfgbel jnf abg nalguvat yvxr puebabybtvpny). Naq jura V jnf gbyq nobhg guvf rcvfbqr, V jnf gbyq vg raqf jvgu Tvyrf nfxvat sbe Ohssl gb pbzr gb Fhaalqnyr, ohg fur pbhyqa'g, orpnhfr Pyrirynaq. Fb vzntvar zl fhecevfr jura V svanyyl fnj vg naq gung jnf whfg na npg oernx.

    Huh. I had a whole comment that just delted. Poof, like someone smashed the amulet it the only difference in this reality and that one is MY COMMENT IS GONE WOE.

    • redheadedgirl says:

      ….and then my comment has returned to the reality of page 2. SO WEIRD.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Yeah, the spam filter has been sending rot13'd comments to the spam box even after they've already been posted successfully. We've been trying to re-approve them as quickly as we can.

        I do think we should bring up the possibility of an amulet with akismet, though. You might be onto something…

  63. Flowerry Pott says:

    It seems (at least to me) that the reason no-one was able to grow and learn in this episode is that the alternate universe event never actually happened. When Anyaka's power was destroyed, it undid the entire wish. Nobody experienced it, so they can have no memories or lessons from it. The only person affected is Anya; she is the only one who knows what happened.

    Jr jvyy frr guvf rknpg frg-hc ntnva va Natry, gur bar jurer Ohssl ivfvgf uvz naq ur orpbzrf uhzna ntnva oevrsyl (qba'g erzrzore gur rcvfbqr anzr). Vg'f gur fnzr guvat.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Jryy, abg dhvgr, orpnhfr Natry trgf gb erzrzore gung qnl naq oebbq nobhg vg Sberire. Gur cnva bs gung rcvfbqr jvyy or boivbhf gb Znex.

      • Flowerry Pott says:

        Gung jnf npghnyyl zl cbvag. Natry vf gur bayl bar gung erzrzoref, orpnhfr hygvzngryl ur'f gur bayl bar jub yvirq guebhtu gung nygreangr ernyvgl. Fnzr jvgu Naln va "Gur Jvfu". Fb V npghnyyl qvq haqrefgnaq jung V jnf fnlvat.

  64. Seventh_Star says:

    pbvapvqragnyyl, v'ir unq "vvvv'yyyy zr zvffhf! vvvvvvv jvyy or uvf zvffhf!" fghpx va zl urnq sbe qnlf.

    naq gura v jnag gb pel.

  65. MzyraJ says:

    Okay, I don't know whether it was because I was like 13 when I started watching Buffy, or because I saw most of them massively out of order (and actually, I'm not sure if I ever saw this episode in its entirety), but I don't remember Xander being this much of a jackass. Maybe I wrote it off as 'he's a teenage boy' at the time, and everyone does have their own flaws and I can kind of see from where he's coming most of the time, even though I may not agree with it, but other characters aren't like that.
    Cbffvoyl V'z univat zl ivfvba pybhqrq ol gur yngre, fgebatre naq zber pbasvqrag (naq bar-rlrq) Knaqre gung ur orpnzr, ohg vg'f fgvyy gebhoyvat. But I suppose if all your characters were sensible and well-adjusted it wouldn't be so interesting? But it's still a shame to find somebody to be not quite what you remember from when you were younger.
    *Prods him* Be a better person, darn it, I want to like you as much as I did!

    • Crefbanyyl, V UNGRQ Knaqre jura V fgnegrq jngpuvat Ohssl; V pbhyqa'g haqrefgnaq jul rirelbar yvxrq uvz fb zhpu…

      … nnnnnaq gura frira frnfbaf bs punenpgre qrirybczrag ghearq uvz vagb zl snibhevgr punenpgre sebz gur jubyr frevrf, unun. Vg'f snfpvangvat, orpnhfr V'z univat zhpu gur fnzr ernpgvba gb nyy gur Knaqre-ungr ba urer nf lbh ner, gubhtu! V qb guvax gung vg'f n ovg hasbeghangr gung gurer'f fb zhpu ungr va gur pbzzragf, gubhtu; obgu orpnhfr vg znxrf vg uneqre sbe arj ivrjref gb nccerpvngr gur punenpgre punatr yngre, naq cnegyl orpnhfr vg'f npghnyyl dhvgr qvssvphyg gb jngpu fb zhpu natre ntnvafg n punenpgre V ybir dhvgr n ybg yngre va gur frevrf. Rira gubhtu V erzrzore ernyyl abg yvxvat uvz ng svefg nf jryy! Vg'f fb shaal.

      Va fubeg, lrf — ohg V nyjnlf srry gung jngpuvat frnfbaf 1-3 ner yvxr jngpuvat fbzrguvat abg or dhvgr yvxr V erzrzore vg. Sbe zr, frnfba sbhe bajneqf vf ernyyl jurer gur punenpgref ortva gb orpbzr gur crbcyr V xabj naq ybir.

  66. @sesinkhorn says:

    Not sure if it's been mentioned yet, but TODAY'S TEE AT TEEFURY.COM IS TOTALLY CUTE AND RELEVANT TO THIS SHOW.

    (Potentially *slightly* spoilery depending on how observant/intuitive you are, so click at your own risk. All characters featured have already been introduced.)

  67. Tangent says:

    I love you reviews Mark but IK have to disagree with your critical errors

    Both these points are executed deliberately for me and serve to subvert the usual tropes that surround this type of ep. Yes usually the ep would focus on Cordy and she would probably learn an important lesson about forgiveness or something or maybe everyone would learn that important lesson.

    This is Buffy though. Thing aren't that easy. No-one get s one magic episode to make everything better. No-one gets forgiven witout earning it no one gets a lesson hand to them on a plate without going through the pain and the misery that are the necessary teachers of that lesson. This was never goingto be resolved in a single ep.

    And just to slightly go against the general Xander = the devil incarnate stuff. Yes he's a douche. Yes he's done wrong and yes his words are not exactly what you'd be looking for in repentence and responsibility. but he's a sixteen year old boy and his first reaction to anything hard, to anything that hurts or gets too close is to hide it away under snark and humour and hardness. For me though that scene ahd xanders speech are laced with something else. I read a self loathing in there that he's really and truly struggling with. I think that's why he tries to externalise his guilt. Funnily enough it's probably the hardest path in the long run whereas Willows blatant plea for forgiveness is more looking for the easy quick fix, say i'm sorry and let everything be alright again approach. I think the two reactions a re pretty spot on character wise.

    • caia says:

      It's senior year — he's seventeen or eighteen at this point.

      Not that it makes a big difference, but sooner or later the age excuse wears off.

    • RaeBear says:

      very well put! And yes poor Mark always seems to be making assumptions about what an episode is about or what an episode "should" do and judging it by that metric. That's not our Joss! Way more creative and way more challenging! Still this is so entertaining and also Qbccyretnatre vf tbvat gb nznmr uvz. V pna'g oryvrir V'q sbetbggra ubj njrfbzr frnfba 3 vf.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:


        Let me remind you that all of you have the luxury of having seen the whole show and knowing all the details behind the scenes in terms of what intentions joss and the writers have. i do not. so that doesn't make my "assumptions" wrong. It means that I am a different person and I take different things from an episode. I don't like stories that don't matter. It's a personal preference. That's why I "judge" it that way. I don't care that it's supposed to be about how important Buffy is. I already knew that.

        also thanks for implying that I'm not creative nor challenging. A+

        • I know, wow, people seem to take it sort of personally if you are even a teensy bit critical sometimes! I mean, it's not like you bashed the episode (and even if you did, GASP you are entitled to your opinion of it!).

        • Noybusiness says:

          I'm sure RaeBear wasn't implying that when they said Joss is creative and challenging, though I find his/her use of the word "always" odd, because 9 times out of 10 you've gotten what the episode in question is subverting and written about it in a way that vocalized what I was only subconsciously thinking.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I'm not even sure what your point is. I didn't want an episode to make anything better. I wanted Cordelia's statement at the beginning and her mistake to be corrected in-universe. Her mistake – blaming Buffy for what Xander did – is the impetus for the alternate universe. If you erase it, she doesn't learn anything. The thing is, WE already know that Buffy is important. That's why we recognize it's fucked up for Cordy to place the blame on Buffy. So it's not like we, the audience, need to learn anything. So I ultimately didn't feel satisfied.

      • Noybusiness says:

        Not just that Buffy is important, but also the importance of her friends to her. Not-Sunnydale Buffy doesn't particularly stand out as Slayers go. It's set up at the beginning by her saying "I have you guys".

        And about Buffy being important to Sunnydale: we may know it intellectually, but a particularly blatant reminder doesn't hurt.

      • Ben says:

        I don't really think the importance of the episode is for us to realize that Buffy is important to the town, I think it's for us to realize how important the town and her friends are to her. I think the Buffy in this episode is very interesting compared to our old Buffy. I don't love the episode as much as most but I do love it, in part because of the changes in Buffy. Without her friends, Buffy is killed by the Master and even more interestingly, it seems like she was expecting it. She isn't at all surprised.

        Also I just wanted to say that I love all of your Buffy reviews (and am now starting to read your BSG reviews, love that show!) but I have never gotten a chance to post before. Great job, I'm loving reading them everyday!

      • Tangent says:

        Well that was pretty much my point, really. This is not a learning exersise. It wasn't designed to be and even just looking at the show so far i think it's fairly easy to see that such life lessons don't usually get handed out like that because they dont't in life. I can understand you feeling unsatisfied but I think that comes from a sense of expectation, orf what would usually happen when this trope is conjured up. The wishverse simply exists as a dark mirror and then it disappears and people are just going to have to deal, cope with their issues and move on.I think that's what i get from The Wish. You can't wish your problems away, if you try you'll probably make things worse and you'll still need to work through things, to take the slow path. I think that's for us to learn.

  68. kte says:

    ohaavrf, ohaavrf, vg zhfg or ohaavrf!!!!
    Fbeel, whfg ernyyl rkpvgrq gung Naln vf va gur zvk abj.

  69. Katie says:


  70. echinodermata says:

    I LOVE AUs. Unless something goes rather wrong in the writing, I will always love alternate universe storylines in any source. And this is not an exception.

    I love that this show takes the premise of 'what if Buffy weren't around' and shows us that leads to an apocalyptic universe. Oh Buffy, you're probably the most important person in the world. And I love that – Buffy may not want the role or the responsibility of being the Slayer, but she rarely disappoints.

    This marks one of the few times I've been attracted to Alyson Hannigan. Ooh girl, you can rock the vamp look.

    There's a patron saint of scorned women on this show. Oh show. <3

    • pica_scribit says:

      There's a patron saint of scorned women on this show. Oh show. <3

      Are you saying there's not one in real life? I thought the Catholic Church had a saint for *everything*!

      • echinodermata says:

        It might? I wouldn't know. I just meant that I love we actually got a character who is acting as that patron saint and exacting revenge for people she doesn't know simply because they're scorned women.

        I mean, someone might take on that crusade in real life, but they won't have magical powers to back it up, you know? An actual magical wish-fulfilling patron saint of scorned women is a character on this show. And that's what I love.

      • RoseFyre says:

        See, that's one I wouldn't expect to see in Catholicism, because of the Madonna/whore dichotomy that exists. (Please forgive me for using the word whore, but I believe that's the name of the…dichotomy. I can't think of a better word.) So women are either perfect or…not. And perfect women wouldn't need a saint like that, while the others wouldn't deserve one.

      • t09yavosaur says:

        After a google search, this is the closest I could find for a saint for scorned women:

        Difficult marriages – Saint Elizabeth/Saint Cecilia
        [from:… ]

        The first few google results were about this episode of Buffy.
        There are others that you could probably stretch it if you really wanted to pray to them, like the saint of single women or saint of loneliness. Also, since there are so many Saints I might have just not looked hard enough.

  71. 00guera00 says:

    I only have one problem with this episode…and it's not even really this episode's fault.

    Gur jubyr, ubj gb erirefr n jvfu, vf fubja urer sbe gur svefg gvzr. Fznfu nzhyrg, jvfu qbrfa'g trg tenagrq, cbjref tb olr-olr. Naq gura jr yrnea yngre gung Naln (naq Unyyvr) pna erirefr n jvfu (jvgu pbafrdhraprf, Naln ybfg ure gryrcbegvat cevivyrtrf). Ohg gura jul jbhyq Naln arrq Q'Ubssrela gb haqb ure jvfu jvgu gur qrnq seng thlf vs fur pbhyq unir whfg fznfurq ure nzhyrg? 12 qrnq seng thlf qba'g frrz yvxr gung ovt bs n ernyvgl punatre pbafvqrevat n fznfurq nzhyrg svkrq gur havirefr ynfg gvzr. Be n yrnfg oebhtug Pbeql onpx sebz gur nyg havirefr nyvir. Vg whfg znxrf zl urnq uheg vs V guvax gb uneq nobhg vg…

  72. RaeBear says:

    Qbccyretnatre vf tbvat gb nznmr uvz. V pna'g oryvrir V'q sbetbggra ubj njrfbzr frnfba 3 vf.

  73. Kari18212 says:

    Okay, I know there was no place for her in this episode or anything, but I did miss Faith in this one. I did not in the last one, because Spike makes up for all, but I wish that she could have joined in the picnic at the beginning at least (luckily that wish is unlikely to have apocalyptic consequences lol). Oz was pure perfection in this episode though. His speech to Willow was awesome and something she really needed to hear, and the fact that despite not dating Willow, he was still a White Hat in the Wishverse brings me never-ending happiness.

    Random side note: I wonder if he was still a werewolf? I'm not sure how Buffy not coming to town would have stopped his cousin from biting him… Now that's going to bother me every time I watch this episode.

    Anyway, loved all the detail to the Wishverse and that Cordelia almost immediately realizes what a mistake she made, but it would have been interesting to see her full reaction to hearing Xander and Willow were dead before she knew they were vampires. Despite being really angry with them, I'm sure that was the first moment she stopped and thought maybe she made a huge mistake.

    • Noybusiness says:

      The extra being drained outside the door of The Bronze as Xander and Willow walk in looks like Faith, and the one strapped to the pool table looks like the Mayor.

      • jademg says:

        I always wondered if anyone else noticed that the girl being drained outside the bronze looked like Faith!!

    • RoseFyre says:

      It's possible that his cousin didn't live to turn him into a werewolf, so it's possible he's not one.

      They also have the bookcage, though, so it's also possible that he is one and is just locked up on full moons – and that this doesn't happen to take place on a full moon.

  74. Hyaroo says:

    Death Count: Look, I don’t fucking know. None of it counts! It all doesn’t matter! So what are your thoughts on this? Do I count the bazillion characters who die on screen?

    Interesting question. They weren't "our" characters, but that doesn't mean they didn't die. All in all, though I guess I'm leaning more towards the side of "no, they shouldn't count," partly because, well, most of the characters who die in this episode are still alive at the end of it, so…

    But let's see if we can figure out just how many actual, confirmed deaths there were in this episode.

    – The squid/mucus demon from the cold opening. (1)
    – The vampire staked by Buffy when she saves Cordelia. (2)

    (These two were the only deaths in the "main" reality and not undone by the end of the ep.)

    – The girl given by the Master to Vampire Willow — dead body not explicitly shown, but since the Master talks about the "lust for the kill" and the girl doesn't reappear, I think it's safe to say Willow drained her. (3)
    – Nancy — killed by vampires; death happens off-screen but is confirmed by Larry and Oz. (4)
    – Cordelia — drained by Vampire Xander and Vampire Willow, confirmed dead. (5)
    – The three vampires who attack Giles — staked by Buffy, though one of them seem to be the same one she staked in the "main" reality. So that's one character dying twice… I'm not counting him twice, so the bodycount only raises by two here. (7)
    – The guy in the cage at the Bronze — we don't see him die, but Buffy walks past his body, still in the cage, so I'd say he counts. (8)
    – The girl drained by the Master's machine. (9)

    Then the big fight scene starts, and it's kind of hard to see just how many characters die here; probably many more people and vampires died than was shown on-screen, but we'll stick with the actual, confirmed kills:

    – Angel — killed by Vampire Xander. (10)
    – Vampire Xander — staked by Buffy. (11)
    – Vampire Willow — pushed onto a wooden stake by Oz. (12)
    – At least six random humans — their dead bodies are shown in the background as Buffy and the Master go to face one another. It's hard to really count here, because the camera doesn't focus on them, and this is where things get a little blurry, but I can make out six distinct, definitely dead bodies, even if I can't identify them. (17)
    – Buffy, neck snapped by the Master. (18)

    Buffy's the last death in the episode, so technically Oz and Larry didn't die either. Unless you count that reality ending as them dying… in which case, Giles and the Master must also count as having died.

    So that's 18 confirmed deaths, but only 2 that actually happen in the main universe.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "The girl given by the Master to Vampire Willow — dead body not explicitly shown, but since the Master talks about the "lust for the kill" and the girl doesn't reappear, I think it's safe to say Willow drained her. ("

      Also, we could hear it going on.

    • tanbarkie says:

      If you count the reality ending as Oz and Larry dying, then technically *everyone* in that alternate universe died. So the death count would number in the billions.

  75. fantasylover120 says:

    One of the better what if episodes out there even if yes, Xander and Willow whining about how tough it is for them makes me want to punch something though to Willow's cred she at least says Cordelia is certainly right for being angry at them and they were wrong.
    Daily Buffy Quotable
    "Your logic doesn't resemble our Earth logic."-Buffy
    "I'm on the Joy Club."-Willow
    "That didn't work. Who wants chocolate?"-Buffy
    "Bored now."-Evil Willow
    "Someone needs to talk to her people. That name is striking fear into no one's heart."-Evil Xander re: Buffys name
    "Yes, I'm aware there's a great deal of demonic activity in Cleveland."-Giles (no offense to anyone in Cleveland)
    ""I say to them…well I don't say anything to them because I just kill them."-The Master

  76. RachelFatale says:

    bzt bzt bzt bzt Naln, zl snibevgr! urnegfurnegfurnegf. Uheel hc naq or n erthyne!!

  77. Noybusiness says:

    "But Marti Nixon makes, in my opinion, two critical mistakes that"

    Marti Noxon is working from an outline made by Joss Whedon. Those elements you name aren't her personal choices, they're part of the story she was supposed to write, so the "mistakes" are Joss's if you think they're mistakes.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      how was i supposed to know this

      • Noybusiness says:

        …Isn't that the usual way a TV show works? The head writer comes up with outlines, having a rough idea of what the season and each episode in it should be like, and the writers under them flesh them out? Anyway, that's how Buffy worked.

        • maccyAkaMatthew says:

          No, that's not the way it usually works and, unless it's specifically documented as happening otherwise, it's unlikely to have happened here. If Joss had done a complete story outline, he would have been credited with "story by". The process is described in some detail here (spoilery for Firefly and future Buffy episodes):

          Maybe you're thinking of something different when you say "outline" but Joss's ininitiating idea probably wouldn't have been any more complicated than the alternative reality. It could also have been pitched by Marti herself as she was co-producer at this stage and may well have sketching out the shape of the season with Joss.

          Anyway, it's feasible, but not essential, that Joss may have said at the beginning that nobody should be affected by the alternate reality, but I guarantee that he didn't specify Cordelia dying halfway through the story. That's a plot point, a way of making the story work, which would either have been in the outline that Marti Noxon produced before moving on to the script or come out of story breaking sessions with her, Jane Espenson, Doug Petrie and Joss all pitching in. And it's likely that if Joss was busy elsewhere, he'd have happily delegated that part of the work to his writing team.

          And on the "no consequences" point, I don't think there would have been an initial idea so strict that required the script to be written that way. It's more likely to have been a decision made along the way (or even a decision not made – simply following the idea of undoing the wish without thinking to complicate things) than something set in stone from the beginning.

          It's correct to say that this was a collaborative process, however since Marti Noxon almost certainly did most of the work (as a regular writer it is unlikely that her work needed a lot of re-working in the final stages) it's a reasonable shorthand to treat the work as hers.

          • Noybusiness says:

            Thank you for that information. Given that, it seems more likely that the credit for the decision-making goes to the whole team, headed by Joss and Marti. It seemed, and still does, likely to me that Joss was behind those plot points because of the excited way he talks about them, but apparently those decisions would likely have been made later than I thought.

            By "outline", I indeed meant the basic concept, with a paragraph or two of description written down, not a "complete story outline".

  78. jne says:

    Joss Whedon's take on "It's a Wonderful Life". So dark and so satisfying. The Best Thing – Giles instinctively has faith in Buffy. He doesn't know her. He's not good friends with Cordelia, so there's no special reason for him to believe her but he does anyway. Whether it is his training as a Watcher or his instinct as a person, he can see that Buffy was the kind of person who can change the world.

  79. ScarecrowCeno says:

    Quite possibly the best episode of the series. It's either my first or second favourite. I disagree with Mark, because it's not about others learning, it's about the audience. it's about us realising the difference Buffy makes, it's about the horrors we could face… in fact it basically shows all the stakes of the entire series. This was series 1 big bad without Buffy… so what about the others???

    The twist worked perfectly because these people were left in their bizarre Alt-world with nothing but some ramblings. But Giles came through. Anyanka is a brilliant villain, truly demonic, and the end scene is the characters best, as it is for Giles too.

    "You trusting fool, how do you know the other worlds any better than this?"

    "Because it has to be".

    I think I just die a little inside, and the tears of Angels are weeped. Both heart breakingly tragic AND hugely powerful and emotive, this one line is so beautiful. It's why Giles is such an amazing character. He utterly trusts that the world *must* be a better place.

    That whole final sequence is so amazing. It's not just death, but its missed lives. it's friends who never knew ecah other. or the love, the laughter, the friendships, the compassion… all of it never was. Strangers dying at each others hands, The Master barely giving Buffy a second thought. Oz staking Willow. It's gut wrenching. It's the world the entire series fights to avoid.

    We learn just what we are facing, what Buffy does, and we also learn what these characters can be and do. And we learn that Giles will always believe the world can be better. Because it has to be.

    • RoseFyre says:

      Lrf, jung NOBHG gur bguref? Boivbhfyl, Natry arire jrag onq, naq V fhfcrpg Fcvxr naq Qeh pnzr gb gbja naq qrpvqrq vg jnfa'g ernyyl gb gurve gnfgr (Fcvxr cnegvphyneyl qbrfa'g qb jryy jvgu nhgubevgl) naq gura yrsg. Naq boivbhfyl gur Vavgvngvir rvgure qbrfa'g unccra be unfa'g unccrarq lrg, juvyr Tybel qbrfa'g trg znwbe hagvy Frnfba Svir, gur Gevb jbhyqa'g unir gur punapr gb orpbzr fhcreivyynvaf naq Jvyybj'f nyernql n inzcver, naq Gur Svefg qbrfa'g trg gur cbjre vg trgf sebz Ohssl orvat oebhtug onpx gb yvsr.

      Ohg jung nobhg gur Znlbe? Ur'f orra cynaavat sbe n uhaqerq lrnef; qvq gur Znfgre xvyy uvz? Ur jnf fgvyy ihyarenoyr ng guvf cbvag, nsgre nyy. Fb ur'f gur bayl erny dhrfgvba, V guvax.

      • tehrevel says:

        V nyjnlf gubhtug gur Znlbe unq rvgure chg uvf cynaf ba gur onpxoheare be tbar dhvrg juvyr fgvyy qbvat uvf npprafvba fghss, va gung sbez ur'q or noyr gb xvyy nal nzbhag bs inzcverf cebonoyl. Be znlor gung gurer jnf n tnat jne tbvat ba va gur onpxtebhaq bs gur nygreangr havirefr orgjrra gur Znlbef uverq tbbaf naq gur Znfgre. V zrna nyy lbh'q unir gb qb vf trg n thl jvgu n synzrguebjre be n fhcre fbnxre svyyrq jvgu ubyl jngre rira naq lbh'ir tbg n thl jub pna svtug nal nzbhag bs inzcverf naq qbrfa'g rkcybqr qhevat gur qnl.

    • @lemairei says:

      >It's not just death, but its missed lives. it's friends who never knew ecah other. or the love, the laughter, the friendships, the compassion… all of it never was. Strangers dying at each others hands, The Master barely giving Buffy a second thought. Oz staking Willow. It's gut wrenching. <

      That's exactly how I feel about it. This episode makes me feel profoundly sad — and I don't feel that what happens in that 'shadow' world is irrelevant just because we only get a short glimpse into it. As Anyanka says, it's a real world; so to these characters it's the only world they know. They live, suffer and die in it for real.

  80. canyonoflight says:

    I think it was supposed to be an episode for the audience all along, so I'm not really upset about their not remembering anything. I don't think the lesson was that Cordelia shouldn't blame the wrong people. I think it's that everything happens for a reason: Buffy coming to Sunnydale, becoming friends with Willow and Xander, Cordelia falling in love with Xander, etc.

    Cyhf, Naln vf vagebqhprq naq jr trg Qbccrytnatynaq yngre, fb V guvax Znex'f bcvavba bs gur rcvfbqr jvyy punatr bapr gur frnfba vf bire. N ybg bs gur oevyyvnapr bs Ohssl rcvfbqrf vf sbhaq va ergebfcrpg.

    • jne says:

      I think so too. Cordelia blames the wrong person – Buffy. Willow blames the wrong person for her troubles – Oz (for not being forgiving enough). Zander blames the wrong person – Cordelia. Nobody owns up.

  81. BradSmith5 says:

    Man, Mark, I agree with ya. Whenever someone dies in an alternate universe or timeline story I just sit back and wait for the "reset button" to get pressed. I just know, from that point on, that everything I see will be undone. So why should I care? I'm being taught a lesson? How about you let me judge on my own whether Buffy's influence has been positive; don't outright show me through some cheap trick. Still a fun episode to watch though, ha,ha.

    But how did the Master get out of his cave? Didn't he need the blood of a Slayer to escape?

    • ghostofdurruti says:

      He got out during the Harvest! Presumably, at least.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh, that's what he was trying to do? I swear, Mark warped my mind forever with that "WILL THERE BE PUMPKINS?" line. πŸ˜‰

    • hassibah says:

      I thought I was the only one that didn't care when Willow and Xander got staked. I mean yeah….they're vampires, why the dramatic music? I was way more sad when Cordelia found out that they'd died as humans.

      Don't get me wrong, I think it's a really fun episode too and I felt bad for Cordy, AU Buffy was badass and it was nice to see Mark Metcalf again, but I definitely wasn't all that emotionally invested in the last couple of minutes. I think it would have been really funny if, instead of turning goth, Willow kept her old personality and clothes along with the giant happy face backpack, but it was still awesome.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Haha,ha, that Willow idea is the best. She get so many kills that way.

        But you and Mark are right: keeping Cordelia in the story and letting her keep the memory would have gone a long way toward boosting this episode out of "it's just fun" territory. Your brother watches Deep Space Nine, right? Gurer'f guvf rcvfbqr pnyyrq "Gur Ivfvgbe" gung'f n tbbq rknzcyr. Nyfb gur rcvfbqrf jurer gurl tb gb n zveebe qvzrafvba, naq ner sbeprq gb qrny jvgu gur pbafrdhraprf bs gurve npgvbaf gurer jura gurl erghea gb vg rirel frnfba. Fb lbh trg lbhe "sha" rivy punenpgref, ohg n fgbel gung znggref, gbb.

        Don't read that if you care about minor spoilers for the show. I can't think of any examples from something I know you've seen. πŸ™

        • hassibah says:

          Yeah I mean for a fun episode it was fine, I'm not really upset about it, though a Cordy centric episode would have been very cool of course! I actually like the one off episodes as much as the major arc building ones, which I think puts me in the minority.

          I can deal with minor spoilers. I can't really think of interesting examples we're both aware of, besides Doctor Who, but that world never went away at the end. V thrff Cvpneq nyfb unf uvf vg'f n jbaqreshy yvsr rcvfbqr.
          My bro is more original Star Trek obsessive. I've seen all of TNG (way too much), and I've seen some Deep Space Nine here and there but I definitely haven't come close to seeing all of it. What I do remember was when the show first started airing that doctor really enthusiastically said "yes sir" like one time and based on that we decided he was the Wesley of the show and made fun of him for way too long after that.

          • BradSmith5 says:

            Yeah, that Dr. Who one is a good example. Martha keeps all her memories––shoot, it changes her life after that! Wait, we are talking about the same alternate universe right? Or do you mean the Doomsday one?

            And oh man, Bashir is more Wesley than Wesley is.

            • hassibah says:

              I was thinking about Rose's universe as well and what that did with her and Mickey respectively, but Martha's a way better example I think. [minor Classic Doctor Who backstory things] Gur plorezra orvat sebz n cnenyyry rnegu jnf rfgnoyvfurq jnl onpx va gur svefg Qbpgbe'f ren va pynffvp jub, ohg gung'f abg gur bayl gvzr gurl hfr nygreangr qvzrafvbaf. Abg ernyyl fhecevfvat pbafvqrevat gurer'f 40 lrnef bs fubj.

    • @lemairei says:

      Except it's not about Buffy's influence. It's about her friends' importance.

  82. kelseyofcake says:

    -Eeeewww what is that thing? And hello, it feels really weird seeing a demon out in the daylight.
    -”Your logic does not resemble our earth logic.” Aside from this being a good quote, I just want to mention how much this scene makes me side-eye Xander. Not only did you cheat on Cordelia, but it also lead to her being impaled on a piece of rebar and almost dying! How can you not be in a corner somewhere consumed with enormous guilt and humility??? You too Willow. I acknowledge that your attitude about this is much better than Xander’s, but you both should be feeling more guilty about this and not be complaining about how much it hurts you. (why do I keep trying to talk to the characters???? They’re not real and they can’t hear me.)
    -Noo, Cordelia, please don’t be crying. πŸ™ Actually no, keep crying because you actually have a reason to be feeling self-pity and it’s completely justified and I will not deprive you of that.
    -NALNNNNN!!!!!!!!! <3 Qbrf vg pbhag nf fcbvyre gb qrpyner zl ybir sbe Naln? Cebonoyl. Pna'g jnvg gb frr ure ntnva va Qbccyrtnatynaq.
    -Harmony you're such an asshole. I dislike you right now very much and hope you smack headfirst into a wall later.
    -Stop following Oz and trying to apologize, Willow. He's right!
    -Okay I will give you half a point for trying to set boundaries with Xander even though you should have done this ages ago. Just because Xander is being an asshole and you're actually talking sense.
    -Dammit Random Vampire, you ruined it! Cordelia looked like she was starting to listen!
    -And suddenly a large drop in the Sunnydale population. With curfews!
    -Uuuuugh at β€œacting a little schitzo" But then it's Harmony.
    -I am not gonna lie I remember yelping a bit when Harmony said that Willow and Xander were dead in spite of the fact that I was (am) angry with them at this point in time.
    -Wait wait wait wait! So, in this reality all of Sunnydale knows about vampires and they have curfews to make sure kids get home on time, and they don't let them drive?? What about kids who live farther away? A car would be much safer! Can anyone explain this to me?
    -'Boored now” AKJNFKJASNFSA. That's creepy.
    -YES, vampire Xander and Willow! Both disturbing and a lot of fun.
    -Larry is part of the alternate Scooby gang? Awesome?
    -Hi Master, nice to see you again.
    -Noo, Cordy!
    -Okay the sadistic mock-innocence of Vampire Willow will never not be disturbing. She reminds me of Angelus here.
    -Whoa, Faith!Buffy is scary. Not a good look for her.
    -Hmmm, I dunno Master, I think a lot vampires would prefer the old fashioned way. Still, that contraption is pretty horrifying.
    -Whoa, was that the first appearance of the new skeleton!dusting effect? Finally!
    -So even in the alternate reality, the Slayer prophecy comes true.
    -V'z fgvyy abg pyrne ba guvf. Qvq oernxvat gur nzhyrg haqb nyy bs Nalnaxn'f tenagrq jvfurf? V xrcg yvfgravat sbe vg ohg V pbhyqa'g urne nal pyrne nafjre. Vs vg jnf fhccbfrq gb haqb nyy bs gurz naq abg whfg Pbeqryvn'f, gura gung'f n cerggl znwbe cvrpr bs vasbezngvba gung trgf vtaberq yngre. Jvgubhg Naln'f cnfg jvfurf, Ohssl jbhyqa'g unir tbggra gur tvnag jneunzzre sebz gung gebyy va frnfba 5, naq Uryy'f Oryyf pbhyq arire unir unccrarq.
    -Yay, happy group and Cordelia isn't dead!

  83. guest_age says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes. As far as your analysis of the opening, showing that Willow and Xander are upset by the breakup but then framing it that Oz and Coredelia are the real victims here…I've always taken Cordelia's death in the Wishverse as a further comment on that: she is LITERALLY killed by Willow and Xander. Her life is LITERALLY taken from her BY THEM. Like…in what way could that metaphor be any clearer, you know? It's a strong statement that the blame here doesn't lie in Buffy arriving in Sunnydale: it lies with Willow and Xander, who take Cordelia's life from her either way, in both universes, though in different ways.

    I also like what Oz says to Willow, about how her talking to him isn't about him, it's about alleviating her own guilt.

    That said…it kind of bugs me the way most of the comments already visible as I'm writing mine are like "WILLOW AND XANDER YOU DO NOT GET TO HAVE ANY FEELINGS ABOUT THIS AT ALL YOU'RE JERKFACES." I disagree. I'm a big believer in the fact that everyone is allowed to experience things from their own perspective, provided that the show creates the correct context around that. For example, when Jenny and Giles broke up because the demon from his past took her over, the show allowed both him to be upset at losing her as well as her to be upset about what had happened and feel justified in her decision to stay away from him for awhile, and contextualized that as the fact that both of them were entitled to their own perspective on the situation. I feel the same way about this: Willow and Xander are upset, but so are Cordelia and Oz, and the show goes out of its way to clearly state that just because Willow and Xander are upset, it doesn't in any way lessen what they did, or detract from what Cordelia and Oz are experiencing. I LIKE that. All four of them are PEOPLE with their own unique perspectives on what happened, and each of them are allowed to experience those pesky things called emotions, provided that they also accept that everyone else involved is entitled to their own pesky emotions. Willow is a bit further along on that road than Xander is, obviously, and I'm not trying to argue differently, I'm just saying: just because someone did a bad thing, that doesn't immediately mean that they are not entitled to feel badly/be upset/be sad/miss the person they hurt/whatever, at least not in my book. It seems…unnecessarily harsh and judgemental to state otherwise.

    • Fuzzysnowpuffs says:

      This reminds me how much I love reading the comments on this site… You get to read other people's insights that never occurred to you before… Example, I must be really blind because that symbolism of Willow and Xander killing Cordelia never really came to me xD

      I also completely agree on the other Willow and Xander thing. You basically summarized how I feel as well, but better than I could have probably written it.

  84. tehrevel says:

    Pretty much this just seems like a What If style story rather than a House of M (I seem to recall you saying you were a fan of this story in a Who review) style thing where it gets remembered and affects the characters. I bet the writers were thinking up story ideas, then just for fun did a "change one thing and write what happens to the world from there" thing and then thought "holy shit this way too good to just throw away".

  85. Yorkshiregal says:

    I liked "It's A Wonderful Life – Buffy style". I agree with Mark that it was a waste for the characters because they didn't learn anything but thought there was much to enjoy and for the audience emphasized themes:
    1) Friends make Buffy special. Without Xander Buffy would have died at the hands of the Master. Without Willow and Xander Buffy wouldn't be able to deal with Angel-trauma.
    2) Giles is beyond the average watcher. He's a rogue vampire slayer without The Slayer to guide.
    3) Xander and Willow will always be best buds – even in the wishverse

    As for Cordy, I have no idea why she would want to be friends with the Cordettes any more. They are just flat-out mean girls. I totally get her rejection of Buffy (not because of anger but because she equates Buffy to her life in danger). It's not Buffy's fault but a girl can only get bit, nearly killed, rebarb-ed so often before she gets skittish. I'm glad she at least got some immediate friendship out of Anya. It made her feel more normal. And she won't remember the veiny bit. I'm not sure where Cordelia goes from hear tho. The Cordettes are toxic. I feel very bad for her.

    I also disagree with the notion that Xander and Willow have no right to be sad. They screwed up, they KNOW they screwed up. They have both tried to apologize. It's reasonable that they are not getting anywhere with their former boyfriend/girlfriend. It sucks to have screwed up and not be able to do anything about it. That's part of growing up, that's part of life. I'm glad Buffy is not sympathetic with them but still giving them support. It's the right line of thinking in my mind.

    And I also agree these are just teens. No one was sleeping with anyone. It was completely wrong what they did but all they can do at this point is learn from it and never go there again.

    I do wish Cordy would talk with Buffy though.

    Interesting bits in the WishVerse (to me):
    – Woah, a three-way with Cordelia? Go figure. And was it implied that Xander and Willow had tortured Angel together as a team before? But this time Xander just wants to watch? Yes, there is definitely more kink in Vamp!Xander and Vamp!Willow. I guess they get away with it because they are vampires.
    – I loved Oz and Larry as White Hats.
    – I liked how hard Buffy was when she was on her own. Showed the value of the Scoobies.

  86. DoctorFrank says:

    Ah, we haven’t learned anything from life, have we?

    No episode “ends”.

    • echinodermata says:

      Lbhe pbzzrag jnf ercbegrq gjvpr sbe vzcyvrq fcbvyref. V'yy yrnir vg or, ohg V qryrgrq gur jvaxvat fzvyrl ng gur raq.

  87. notemily says:

    So this is one of those episodes where, again, people's personalities are explored through supernatural means, which is my favorite thing. This time, the question is: How much of our personalities are shaped by circumstances? Obviously, Willow and Xander undergo the most dramatic change, because they lose their souls, so we wouldn't expect them to be the same Willow and Xander. Which is why I think the most fascinating character in this episode is actually Buffy.

    We've seen how much it hurts Buffy to put her friends in danger, and she's often tried to protect them by doing everything herself, but they insist on helping her because they love her. Now, we see that without her friends, Buffy is a very different person. She's hard, closed-off, "doesn't play well with others." She doesn't make quips about shopping and boys and school. She's focused on getting the job done–but she's not as good at it. Well, she's not bad at slaying, but without her friends, she gets hurt. We see the scar on her face as evidence, and then, of course, she dies at the hands of the Master. In the "real" world, when she died, Xander and Angel were there to help her.

    I want to note that Giles is a VERY important part of this equation. Her watcher cares about her. He loves her. His worst nightmare is her death, and he was overcome with joy when she came back. We don't get to see Buffy's watcher in Cleveland, but from the conversation Giles has on the phone, we get the impression that the Cleveland watcher doesn't know or care where Buffy is most of the time.

    It's especially interesting in light of the fact that we've now seen two other slayers, and both of them are more like Wishverse-Buffy than real Buffy, in that they prefer to work alone and are less open with their affections. Kendra loosens up when she becomes friends with Buffy, but Faith has just gotten less trustful of those who would be her friends. Buffy and Faith are so different, and this season goes to great pains to point this out, but in this episode, we see that if Buffy's circumstances were different, she might have been a lot like Faith.

    A few other thoughts:

    – Look Willow, I need to talk to you about something. And I need you to really listen, because there will be a test later: Sometimes things just suck. Sometimes things have to suck for a while before they can get better. You can't MAKE them get better. There are no shortcuts. You just have to let things be awful for a while.

    – [V jbaqre jung gur Znlbe'f qrny jnf va gur Jvfuirefr. Ur'f erfcbafvoyr sbe n ybg bs gur qrzba-qralvat va Fhaalqnyr, evtug? Ohg va guvf rcvfbqr rirelbar xabjf nobhg gur inzcverf, fb V unir gb jbaqre jung'f orra tbvat ba. Qbrf ur fgvyy unir uvf Nfprafvba cynaf?]

    – [V svaq Bevtvany Synibe Naln erserfuvat. V yvxr Naln jub xabjf nobhg snfuvba naq pna unat jvgu Pbeqryvn. Vg znxrf ure yngre "V qba'g xabj ubj gb npg yvxr n uhzna orvat" guvat n yvggyr vapbatehbhf. V'yy ohl gung univat n uhzna obql jvgu uhzna rzbgvbaf vf n fubpx sbe ure, ohg vg frrzf urer yvxr fur'f unq n ybg bs cenpgvpr ng npgvat uhzna jryy rabhtu gb svg va, naq gura yngre fur frrzf gbgnyyl varcg.]

    – I like Xander's little jab at Buffy's name, and by extension the name of the show–"That name is not striking fear into anyone's hearts."

    – "Because it has to be." I love storylines where people have to destroy their own timeline in the hopes that the other one will be better. Like Amy's Choice.

    – Is Oz not a werewolf in this reality? You'd think he would have been bit by his cousin just the same. On the other hand, maybe he came to Giles for help and that's how he joined the good guys.

    • kelseyofcake says:

      I love your thoughts about the way Buffy's identity seems to be dependent on whether or not she has people close to her she can rely on. I picked up on this as well and it makes me wonder what the rest of alternate-Buffy's home life is like. I'd be curious to know what exactly it was that made her become to jaded. Did she make friends only to have them die? Did something happen to her mom? None of this is necessary information to enjoy the episode, but it's still something I wonder about.

      "Look Willow, I need to talk to you about something. And I need you to really listen, because there will be a test later: Sometimes things just suck. Sometimes things have to suck for a while before they can get better. You can't MAKE them get better. There are no shortcuts. You just have to let things be awful for a while. "
      V jvfu fur pbhyq npghnyyl yrnea guvf yrffba orsber fur raqf hc uhegvat urefrys naq bguref. Vg znxrf zr fnq frrvat ure gel gb hfr zntvp gb svk rirelguvat nyy bire ntnva orpnhfr V xabj jurer vg yrnqf ure. *fvtu*

    • Noybusiness says:

      He was bit by his cousin during Season 2, though. If the Master rose at the beginning of Season 1, events could have happened such that Oz was never in that position.

    • RoseFyre says:

      "I want to note that Giles is a VERY important part of this equation. Her watcher cares about her. He loves her. His worst nightmare is her death, and he was overcome with joy when she came back. We don't get to see Buffy's watcher in Cleveland, but from the conversation Giles has on the phone, we get the impression that the Cleveland watcher doesn't know or care where Buffy is most of the time."

      Yes, and we don't hear anything about Buffy's parents, either, for that matter. Are her parents still divorced? Are they dead? What's her life really like?

      (I once saw a fic that took place in the Wishverse where Gwendolyn Post was her Watcher. It was creepy, but actually worked really well.)

  88. Smurphy says:

    Gurl ernyyl qb n sno wbo ng znxvat Naln ybbx yvxr n bar rcvfbqr rkgen qba'g gurl. Trg ernql sbe lbhe zvaq gb or oybja arjovrf.

    Mark, I disagree with you on both points. On your first point, Cordy figuring out the mystery would have been too predictable. Plus it would have messed with the point the show was trying to make. When all else seems totally hopeless you still have to faith that things can be better. Nyy bs hf xabj guvf vf n erpheevat Ohssl gurzr. Erpheevat Wbff Jurqba gurzr sbe gung znggre.

    Second point. Basically the first point. This wasn't for Cordy or anyone to learn a lesson. Nyfb… whfg jnvg. Gbgnyyl hacercnerq.

  89. GamgeeFest says:

    I didn't think much of this episode when it first came out, but for slightly different reasons, the main one being that this is ultimately an AU, these characterizations aren't going to exist beyond this episode, and so nothing that happens there has any bearings on what's going on in the real Sunnydale. And when the big fight came on and every died, I really didn't care.

    What I did like was seeing what would have been different by changing just that one little thing: Buffy didn't come to Sunnydale. Sunnydale is ravaged, the Master gets free (how, without the slayer's blood to release him? oh well) and we see his master plan (eesh!). And of course Xander and Willow as vamps are great fun! Larry as a White Hat is love.

    Now though, this is one of my favorite episodes for two reasons:
    Naln orpbzrf n erthyne pnfg zrzore, naq bs pbhefr – Qbccyrtnaqreynaq, juvpu arire jbhyq unir unccrarq jvgubhg guvf rcvfbqr. V fb pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb trg gb gung rc!

  90. 1979semifinalist says:

    Hmmm. I was really excited about this as I expected Mark to like it more, but he's totally got a point about it not actually advancing the characters.

    It advances the characters/world FOR US as viewers, and I love that, but I never really thought about it having no effect on the characters themselves. Interesting.

    Well dang, now I'll be stuck with serious thoughts all day.

    I still love this episode though. The brilliance of unraveling those intense relationships so beautifully by having them all killing each other off and the way they do it with the music and the slow-mo – just wonderful. Add to that Buffy's much darker look – both her outlook/attitude AND her wardrobe choices – and of course her scar which is A MILLION KINDS OF AWESOME.

    But then I'm a sucker for alternate reality stories. They're my favorites. Gnohyn Enfn nalbar?! V qvr jvgu gur njrfbzr bs gung rcvfbqr…bs bs gur orfg!

  91. t09yavosaur says:

    Sorry I am late. I went to see Star Wars and just got back.

    -I am impressed by Willow's knife throwing, even if I am not enjoying her company atm. It boomeranged around the tree.
    -Is Cordy now friendless? Cause that would make me very upset.
    -I had thought for a second that the popular girls had emotions now.
    -That was very cleverly done Cordelia.
    -Buffy! Come show Cordy some support! Please?
    -Nooo, not the newly introduced and thus most likely to be the bad guy/instigator of this episode, especially with their mysterious necklace, person.
    -The sign in the background is proving my misgivings: “Buckle your seat belt.”
    -Xander, that does make sense but you should still try being less self-centered.
    -Willow, I may be able to start not being mad at you.
    -Aww Buffy, it was a good try. Stupid inconvenient vampire.
    -Are we getting an “It's a Wonderful Life” story?
    -Yaaaaay, these are so much fun.
    -So let's see…Did the Master rise with the Harvest?
    -You know what would be a good callback? Jesse.
    -That was…uncomfortable. And they killed Cordy. πŸ™
    -Mention of a puppy: Angel?
    -Why is Angel in Sunnydale? Shouldn't he be stalking Buffy?
    -So Anya is a Saint. Interesting. Though sometimes Saints were just commandeered from other creeds so that might not be saying much.
    -This Buffy has never died and yet, is more angry. This scares me.
    -Xander kills Angel. I see what you did there.
    -What? No character development at all?

    Harmony is apparently smarter than she acts because she is somehow still alive in the alternate timeline.
    And I didn't even recognize Larry, wow. He needs to show up more often.

  92. Saint Mercy says:

    YES! ANYA AND VAMPIRE WILLOW! My #3 favorite Episode! Can't tell you the top 2 yet πŸ˜‰

  93. BornIn1142 says:

    I actually thinks this episode really shows the superhero-influence Buffy the Vampire Slayer has. I know it's not just comic books that use the "messed up alternate universe" trope, but considering Whedon is known to have read them as a child and got into writing some later on, I can really see how "The Wish" harkens back to storylines like Days of Future Past and Age of Apocalypse…

    Great episode, btw.

  94. RoseFyre says:

    So, a couple comments.

    First off, this is a recurring theme, but especially noticeable in this episode: why on earth is their base of operations the LIBRARY in the PUBLIC SCHOOL which is OPEN TO VAMPIRES? Dude, you'd think they'd have the brains by now to move somewhere that vampires need a freaking invite to get in, ESPECIALLY after all the times someone has almost died (Giles, Willow, Cordelia, Jenny in Prophecy Girl) or actually died (Kendra, Jenny) by being in a public building after dark. And in this universe, where vampires rule the town…seriously, White Hats, where are your brains? I love you guys, but no.

    Second, the Wishverse (as this alternate universe is called) is a fascinating topic. Why are various characters (Darla, especially) not there? After Buffy dies in this verse, who would be called as the next Slayer? Would it be Kendra? Would it be Faith? Would it be someone else? It's a fascinating question, imo.

    • Tina says:

      Maybe because it's where the Hellmouth is and they need to be sure nobody is making some ritual to open it ?

  95. RoseFyre says:


    Qnvyl Qnja Guernq!

    Fb, jr'ir tbg gjb havirefrf urer. Jung jnf Qnja qbvat? Va gur erny havirefr, V fhfcrpg fur cynlrq ab ebyr, bgure guna cbffvoyl erwbvpvat gung Knaqre naq Pbeqryvn unir abj oebxra hc, juvyr nyfb trggvat naablrq gung Knaqre jnagf gb trg onpx gbtrgure jvgu Pbeqryvn.

    Va gur Jvfuirefr…gung'f n jubyr bgure snfpvangvat gbcvp. Boivbhfyl, Qnja arire npghnyyl rkvfgrq va gur Jvfuirefr, nf fur jnfa'g perngrq gvy nsgre vg jnf bire, naq rira vs fur unq, ab bar jbhyq erzrzore ure, orpnhfr gur crbcyr jub jrag gb gung irefr jub jr urne sebz yngre – Naln, InzcJvyybj – jbhyqa'g unir zrg ure. Ohg vs fur UNQ rkvfgrq, jurer vf fur? Naq, sbe gung znggre, jurer ner Ohssl'f cneragf? Zl nffhzcgvba vf gung ure cneragf – naq Qnja – ner nyy qrnq, orpnhfr V qba'g guvax Ohssl jbhyq or gung pybfrq bss vs nal bs gurz jrer fgvyy nebhaq. Nf fur arire rkvfgrq, vg'f xvaq bs n zbbg cbvag, ohg vg'f na vagrerfgvat guvat gb guvax nobhg.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      Obviously… Qnja vf Snvgu'f be Xraqen'f yvggyr fvfgre, fvapr bar bs gurz jbhyq or gur yvivat Fynlre ng gur gvzr bs gur fcryy. Be cbffvoyl n yngre Fynlre vs Snvgu naq Xraqen obgu qvrq.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Jryy, vs gur havirefr rire tbg gb gung cbvag. Naq juvyr Snvgu pbhyq unir n fvoyvat, jub gur uryy jbhyq Xraqen pner nobhg rabhtu gb gnxr pner bs gung jnl? V ybir Xraqen, qba'g trg zr jebat, ohg ure ragver fgngr bs orvat vf onfrq ba abg orvat pybfr gb nalbar, ba abg univat snzvyl, naq juvyr Snvgu unf gung gb fbzr qrterr nf jryy, V guvax fur'q or cebgrpgvir bs n fvoyvat vs fur unq bar.

        Naq nyfb, ubj jbhyq Qnja or qvssrerag vs fur jnf fbzrbar ryfr'f fvoyvat?

  96. hick says:

    I think killing off Cordelia has a very definite purpose. We saw Buffy saving Cordy several times. So it's totally logical, that in a world without Buffy, Cordy would be one of the first victimes. So with her wish, Cordelia basically signed he rown death justice (except that all was well in the end).

  97. Gorimek says:

    I sometimes think this episode exists so that Joss can kill *all* his characters without it counting. He does enjoy the killing…

  98. brandy says:

    Ab ab ab ab! Guvf rcvfbqr znggref orpnhfr NALN!

    Jr trg Naln!!!!

    V ybir gung Naln, fur'f arjyl uhzna naq fgenatryl yvgreny.

  99. wanderernotlost says:

    Just wanted to point out, Mark, that it's Marti Noxon, not Nixon. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for all the entertainment. Many people read the news over breakfast and coffee–I read Mark Watches and Reads.

    And suddenly I feel the need to go catch up on current events…

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