Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Forever   Rewatch 
December 9, 2015 10:05 PM - Season 5, Episode 17 - Subscribe

Joyce's funeral is held, and Angel shows up to comfort Buffy. Aided by Willow, Spike and the mysterious Doc, Dawn attempts a spell to bring her mother back to life. Ben tries to prevent Glory from gaining information about the Key.
posted by yellowbinder (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My phone recently died with all my notes which I carefully made for each episode, which makes me a sad panda. At least I recently stopped myself from getting too far ahead.

I love that the show takes time to give us another episode after the Body. There's a lot to be accomplished this season, but we need to deal with the ramifications of losing Joyce. This is mostly focused on Buffy and Dawn, but we take a bit of time to see Spike come to pay respect to Joyce, in a lovely scene (and Xander doing his alpha male "rah Spike bad stay away from Buffy!" act which gets a bit tedious later on). We also get Giles paying his respects to Joyce by listening to the music they listened to together in Band Candy.

What to think of Willow's gesture to Dawn. Did she intend for Dawn to actually raise Joyce? Certainly Willow doesn't really understand Tara's objections: Willow thinks the only reason not to do a spell is because it's difficult. But the book Willow provides is only a history of magic after all, could she have known that Dawn would then pop off to the magic shop to get evil magic texts are us? (Also, a good bit of foreshadowing here, by introducing super powerful spell books here we then understand what Willow is doing a few episodes later).

Dawn and Buffy's conflict is raw and real. While Dawn has to act like a bit of a brat who can't recognise that Buffy is grieving in her own way, I do like that it is her that unsummons Joyce, not Buffy, who decides in that moment of weakness that maybe it's worth taking a gamble just to have her mother back for a second.

-This episode also demonstrates that Ben is really quite bad at killing minions. Sadly my list of compliments are lost, but I seem to recall a dying Jinx saying something like "your... you." as he flails about for a compliment.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:52 PM on December 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Certainly Willow doesn't really understand Tara's objections: Willow thinks the only reason not to do a spell is because it's difficult. But the book Willow provides is only a history of magic after all, could she have known that Dawn would then pop off to the magic shop to get evil magic texts are us? (Also, a good bit of foreshadowing here, by introducing super powerful spell books here we then understand what Willow is doing a few episodes later).

It's not just because it's difficult, but because they don't work as hoped:

WILLOW: I'm not even sure it's possible, Dawn. I mean, I've ... seen things on resurrection, but ... there's books and stuff ... but I guess ... the spells ... backfire?

I think she provided the book to Dawn to give Dawn information about the problems with resurrections. Willow and Dawn are kind of kindred spirits: analytical and pragmatic. Willow thought that Dawn would read the book in an analytical way, and say to herself "This won't bring my mom as I knew her back, so I should just let it go." Willow finds that a lot more convincing argument than "Wiccans said a long time ago that we can't do this," (the way Tara insists that the argument be framed).

The problem is that a grieving 14-year-old (or the monks' simalcrum of one) may not be reading closely about the side effects, or might decide that a "close enough" Mom is better than no Mom. And thus the rest of the episode.

I really like this analysis by sunclouds33 about the show's treatment of Wicca vs. Judaism (the whole essay is terrific, but this is the part that's on point for this episode):

Interestingly, fandom and the show seem pretty cool with Willow not strictly adhering to Judaism. Hollywood loves its reform Jews and the Buffyverse is cheeky on religion. However, the show whallops Willow for not being an observant Wiccan or for not adhering to society's rules. Still, I have to wonder why Willow must care about the fact that Wiccans took an oath a thousand years ago to not resurrect while Willow doesn't have to care about the fact that rabbis repeatedly took oaths to strictly observe the Sabbath. Why is Willow hacking into Sunnydale's city records by The Harvest considered the definitive First Sign of Willow's being a Secret Bad Girl while fandom doesn't care that Willow eats a non-kosher lunch prepared by the SHS cafeteria?
Something tells me that it comes down to the Rules of TV influenced by mainstream preferences. Mainstream rules against “crimes” like hacking or taking magic ingredients from a store are hardened as Correct and True for the mainstream audience. Society doesn't exactly embrace Wicca but on TV when a popular character like Giles or Tara says that some religious oath should be taken as strictly followed gospel, the audience is expected to abide by that strictly.


Re: the books, why the hell are they at the store where anyone can see them? When the store's been subject to repeated break-ins, and the sole employee is a not-particularly-repentant vengeance demon who joined the group because of a pretty volatile relationship with Xander? The only answer I can come up with is Giles. Just. Doesn't. Care. about the store's inventory getting misused.
posted by creepygirl at 5:49 PM on December 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The only answer I can come up with is Giles. Just. Doesn't. Care. about the store's inventory getting misused.

That has come up as a slightly surprising subtheme on this rewatch!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:54 AM on December 23, 2015


I just now noticed that Doc hums "Peter and the World" while he's puttering around.
posted by bunderful at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2016


Dangit. Peter and the WOLF.
posted by bunderful at 3:10 PM on January 23, 2016


« Older Podcast: Hidden Brain: Hidden ...   |  Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Inte... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster