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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After Life

Buffy: "You guys gave me the world. I can’t tell you what it means to me."

I’m going to have to rein myself in. I could write a novella about this episode.

To start off, I had a hard time choosing an appropriate quote; there were so many applicable ones in this episode. Like:

Anya: "I think we screwed it up. She's broken."
Dawn: "She's been through a lot with the... death, but I think she's okay."
Buffy: "I'm tired.” Anya: "Yeah, jet lag from Hell has got to be, you know, jet lag from Hell."
Tara: "Assume crash positions."

And especially:

Spike: "The thing about magic. There's always consequences. Always!"

This episode takes up where the last one left off and even on the same day. It's a darned good thing they did, because they needed another whole episode for just Spike's reaction to Buffy's resurrection – and Buffy's reaction as well.

This whole Buffy/Spike thing just blows me away. It's like something you really wish would happen to your two favorite characters in your favorite show, but usually they don't give it to you. Spike and Buffy now have a heavy-duty connection – an actual death, as opposed to near death, experience. He's the only one who had any insight into what Buffy was feeling, and the only one she could talk to. She actually sought him out not once, but twice. "How long was I gone?" "One hundred forty seven days yesterday. One hundred forty eight today." "Every night I save you." James Marsters was amazing; the anger and tears, the way he attacked Xander, the way he kept just looking at Buffy, the compassionate way he was treating her... How can he not have a soul? Isn't he earning one?

On to Willow. Willow had to know that (1) Buffy might not come back right, and (2) there would be consequences. And she brought Buffy back anyway. She pulled Buffy right out of Heaven. Was Willow really convinced that Buffy was in Hell, or did she just use it as an excuse? If there actually is a traditional Heaven and Hell in the Buffyverse, a hero giving her life for another would definitely go to Heaven, right?

This whole situation has the potential to split the Scoobies. Tara is being loyal to Willow and not really thinking about this, but Xander is already crediting Spike's opinion and questioning Willow's decision. What is Giles going to think?

Bits and pieces:

— I think Michelle Tractenberg made the scariest possessed-by-a-demon. I also liked her telling the Scoobies to back off and leave Buffy alone.

— They called Giles. Why didn't they call Angel? I mean, geez, it isn't even an overseas call.

— Buffy: "I miss Giles." Billie: "Me, too."

— The demon's voice sounded like Anya's when she was a demon.


Tara: "How did he take it?"
Willow: "Um, I'm not sure. I mean, glad, but kinda weirded out, which I get, you know? Lots of 'dear lords.' And I think I actually heard him cleaning his glasses."

Willow: "Okay, what in the frilly heck is going on?"

Anya: "I found one of those 24-hour places for coffee. Remember that bookstore? Well they became one of those books-and-coffee places, and now they're just coffee. It's like evolution, only without the getting-better part."

Spike: "Willow's getting pretty strong, isn't she? Bringing you back. It's hard to get a good night's death around here."

Willow: "Think of it like, the world doesn't like you getting something for free, and we asked for this huge gift. Buffy. And so the world said, 'Fine, but if you have that, you have to take this too.' And it made the demon."
Anya: "Well, technically, that's not a price. That's a gift with purchase."

Buffy: "You know what they say. Those of us who fail history? Doomed to repeat it in summer school."

Buffy: "That's okay. I can be alone with you here."
Spike: "Thanks ever so."

Excellent. Four out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. I'm pretty sure that Willow wasn't worried about Buffy being in the Hell that evil people go to when they die because they are supposed to, but one of the Hells that people go to when portals get all portal-y, like Pylea, Quortoth or Acathla (Willow even specifically reminded the gang of when Angel was trapped in Hell).

  2. I've watched (and re-watched) the show, and I still can't get it out of my system, so instead I've really enjoyed reading different people's episode-by-episode perspectives/reviews (Question - how do you stop being obsessed with this show? As Buffy once said, 'Do they make a patch for this?'). I'm so glad I happened upon your's yesterday because WOW I can't stop reading them. Most of them have me in stitches, they all make me smile, and it's also amusing to see how many of your predictions or even just your random throwaway thoughts end up coming to fruition! Impressive :) Also, I love all the dog references you catch, I totally never noticed that. I would comment on each and every one of your reviews but that'd be repetitive gushing. The reason I decided to mention all this here is that you said two things that made me smile because, man, I'm thinking the exact same thing: 1) I could write a novella about this episode.(I lol-ed) and 2) It's like something you really wish would happen to your two favorite characters in your favorite show, but usually they don't give it to you.
    On that last point, I feel like that's why I love this show so much - it breaks your heart, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it gives the characters (from the inspired writing to the incredible performances) organic, compelling arcs that are the stuff of dreams, really.

    So, thanks, I love these reviews and I felt strange enjoying them so much and not saying anything.

  3. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, Anonymous. You made my day.

  4. Shouldn't there be three slayers at this point, since Buffy has died yet again? I don't think that was ever addressed.

  5. Hi, XandraGrl: I can't remember the circumstances or when it's established -- and maybe it was just Joss Whedon explaining it in an article. But at some point we learned that after Buffy died, the slayer line shifted to Kendra. When Kendra died, it went to Faith. Buffy is now an anomaly.

  6. It's clarified by Buffy herself in Season Seven. I don't remember which episode.

  7. I am now remembering that fans kept asking Joss Whedon about it, and he told people about the line going through Faith fairly early on, too.

  8. I'd been wondering about why another slayer didn't generate, thanks for clearing that up. Also, I'd have to agree about Tractenberg's scary face. Something about the milky eyes, sardonic smile, the lighting, and the angle of her face - it was pretty darn creepy looking.

  9. I think this might be my favorite episode of the whole series so far. I found it genuinely frightening at times, which is unusual for a Buffy episode. And the sharp turn at the end of the episode when she talks with Spike: Everyone has been assuming that she's in shock from being tormented when in fact, she's in shock from returning to the troubles of life. Yet it makes sense. Willow should have known she didn't cross dimensions because her body remained in this world. Why should her soul have crossed into the hell dimension when her death closed the portal?

    However Willow rationalized it, I think the truth is that they brought back Buffy for themselves, not for her. Because Buffy is Buffy, she won't accuse them of selfishness (at least not yet), unlike Sam in Supernatural.

  10. Watching this episode, it's sort of funny how much Willow's theory about Buffy in hell matches up with Dean Winchester's stay in hell (he was tortured, time was longer, etc.)

  11. This episode is great and Sarah Michelle Gellar delivers an outstanding performance. I think it's her best on the entire series. It's so subtle yet so powerful. James Marsters is also great, of course. I love their scene at the crypt. Spike's "every night I save you" is a beautiful line. The final scene is powerful too. Poor Buffy, and bad Scoobies.

    The second half of the episode has a weird pacing, and the monster works better on script than onscreen, but overall this is a very strong season six outing. Willow and Tara's spell is really cool. "Child of words". And Dawn is lovely.

    Boyfriend report:

    He was confused through the whole episode. "It doesn't make sense", he kept saying regardingt Buffy being so sad while her friends presumed she had been rescued from hell. He finally said "now it makes sense" when Buffy began her disclosure to Spike.

  12. Seeing Spike's recognition this episode properly jogged my memory and made me realize I was always wrong about proclaiming him as the first to figure out Buffy clawed her way out... Xander actually beat him to it. Sorry, Xander. I feel like I've been too hard on you. I find it easier to forgive this time around back in season 2 when you told Buffy good luck instead of the message Willow really intended for you to pass along about Angel's soul restoration. It didn't come across as (just) something personal against Angel but also the understandable concern about her doing what needed to be done.
    I still think he was poorly utilized past season 3 but I don't have the same hateboner for him anymore.

    None of which is really relevant to my thoughts on this episode lol. I think the main plot itself was uninteresting but I'd give it a full 4 stakes rating too for the Spike material alone. SMG's best acting in that last scene since The Body... I love that reveal so much about her time spent in death. The coolest twist in the Buffyverse. The scene happened way earlier than I thought too so there was still an element of surprise left.

    Already mentioned but I'm dittoing the "I saved you over and over again" scene along with the ending as top-notch material. So good. What good heart break it is.

    Buffy: "That's okay. I can be alone with you here."
    Spike: "Thanks ever so."
    Took me a while to understand that lol. I'll be stealing it to express sarcasm too

  13. And three makes a triple crown. This episode flows seamlessly from the previous two, making a wonderful beginning to season 6. This was awesome.

    The scoobies discuss their encounter with Buffy, and head for Buffy’s house. Buffy & Dawn are already there. Dawn follows Buffy through the house, explaining the changes, and helps Buffy clean up. She wants to help with her bloody hands, but Buffy pulls away. Dawn tries to get Buffy to sit & talk, which Buffy won’t do.

    Spike arrives, and we get the scene a lot of us wanted. And so very good it was. James Marsters was incredible, conveying Spike’s astonishment, speechlessness, and overwhelming wonder. He speaks so quietly and tenderly to her, and sends Dawn for first aide supplies for her hands. She immediately sits down with him and puts her hands in his. Wow.

    Their conversation and gentle moment is marred and ended by the thoughtless interruption of the scoobies. I was not impressed. Buffy just wants to go to bed, ostensibly just to get away. Kudos to Dawn for shutting them down.

    Willow seemed happier at her own big success than concerned for Buffy. I wanted to flatten Xander for his heartlessness towards Spike. Of course Spike is happy she’s alive, but there are other issues at hand. Such a good line: “That’s the thing about magic, there’s always consequences. Always.”

    I noticed that when Tara asked Willow if she understood what the demon meant when it spoke to them as Buffy, Willow lied and said no. Everything the demon had said fit the evils of the spell Willow did. Thanks to Dawn’s words to Buffy about her friends just wanting her to be happy, Willow got the thanks she wanted, but she didn’t know it wasn’t genuine. Buffy was telling her friends what they wanted to hear.

    The rest of the episode, the research, fighting the demon, it all faded compared to the crypt scene and the scene outside the Magic Box. Another wow. Two of them. Beautiful how Spike tells her he remembers the promise he made, and that he did save her. Every night he saved her. And Buffy confides in him, “alone” outside the Magic Box, what she couldn’t tell anyone else…she’d been in heaven.

    Talk about being pulled in by a story! Amazing.

    (Re: “Thanks ever so.” I was thinking that expression can be a serious thanks or a sarcastic one. I took Spike’s as mildly sarcastic, but I’ve read it used genuinely many times.


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