Buffy the Vampire Slayer: After Life   Rewatch 
January 6, 2016 8:21 PM - Season 6, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Buffy tries to cope with being alive again, a task which is made more difficult by a body hopping demon that hitched a ride on the resurrection spell. Spike is shocked by Buffy's return, and becomes the one person she feels she can be truthful with.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total)
 
This, I think, really does mark the show changing. Previous series have sometimes taken the time to deal with the fallout from the previous season (I'm thinking 2 and 3 in particular), but it's usually over in a couple of episodes. Here we still have the fallout. Now what's clever about this episode is that often on Buffy, slaying the demon which represents your emotions makes everything better both metaphorically and literally. But while defeating the demon thingy that came back saves their lives, it doesn't save them emotionally. Buffy's back, and she's miserable.

I've lost my notes so I can't remember if Buffy reveals that she's been in heaven to Spike this episode or the next, but when it comes it's a real punch in the gut, and very clever. There's nothing more isolating than having to suffer this horrendous pain and feeling like you can't tell your friends, who struggled to bring you back. A perfect metaphor for depression really, where many who suffer it feel that they have to act happy. Of course, doing so will only get you so far, and we'll see Buffy being to crack. It's clear also why she likes having Spike around from now on: she doesn't have to pretend with him. Unfortunately, he's not an ideal confidant.

Incidentally, the moments of horror in this episode are really goddamn scary. The show doesn't indulge in true horror a lot, but when it does, it can be very effective.

-I do not love Xander's whole protective of Buffy shtick at Spike, it comes across as skeevy and pathetic.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:55 AM on January 7, 2016


(Did Ep 2 go missing?)

((Oops, never mind; forgot it was a two-parter.))
posted by Etrigan at 6:26 AM on January 7, 2016


I've lost my notes so I can't remember if Buffy reveals that she's been in heaven to Spike this episode or the next,

It's this one. This part of Buffy's revelation has always confused me:

BUFFY: I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it.

Um, no, they weren't. They were grieving and barely holding on with the demon-fighting, and they were one Buffybot malfunction away from total disaster.

Was someone/something deceiving Buffy about her friends while she was in Heaven? Was she actually in Heaven?

A fan has addressed this question (and tied many other threads together) with this elaborate theory about a connection between Glory, Jasmine (from Angel: the Series), the Key, and Buffy. I think it's the greatest thing ever.
posted by creepygirl at 5:45 PM on January 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


From the perspective of death perhaps her friends were okay. They might not be okay in the moment emotionally or physically, but if they're on the path to eventual eternal heaven what's a few or few dozen shitty years?
posted by phearlez at 6:30 PM on January 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


From the perspective of death perhaps her friends were okay. They might not be okay in the moment emotionally or physically, but if they're on the path to eventual eternal heaven what's a few or few dozen shitty years?

Yeah that's my take on that: on a grand scale of things, their lower level stuggles wouldn't matter as much. To be honest it's actually really hard to describe heaven in a non problematic way, so I think this is a reasonable stab at it.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:57 AM on January 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm really glad they treated the resurrection very seriously. It has such an unnatural weight to it that really looms over the whole season. Another show could have gone the happy route of Willow's fantasies, but we have to feel every bit of pain and struggle and wrongness. As was put last week, I'd much rather have a flawed adventurous season than a dull one.

I've maybe come around on latter day Spike, his joy and anger and support here are really important and work well here. I've never really thought much about Marsters' talent for good or bad, but he's actually killing it. Buffy really needs someone who's not a Scooby here, even from this crushing ending scene you can understand why she turns to him.

Nice Willow/Tara bedroom scene. Warnth and safety and understanding, good model for a strong relationship. Of course that is not always the case with these two, but when it's working... Also some nice notes of doubt cast on Willow here by the demon and even Xander and Anya thinking she must of messed up. Tara's defensive of her girl, but even she doesn't know the darkness Willow's starting to let in. Maybe not the best model after all.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:50 AM on January 8, 2016


Oh and agreed that the "my friends were safe" comment was actually "WOOOOOOO DON'T CARE I'M FINISHED! They'll be finished someday too!" Obviously she was in blissed out Heaven dimension and not trapped bored watching higher plane like Cordelia on Angel.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:52 AM on January 8, 2016


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