Rewatching Buffy – Episode 117

buffy-titleWelcome to Rewatching Buffy, the part of the blog where I rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Each Tuesday evening, you’re invited to join me as I attempt to rediscover what made me love this show so many years ago.

Normal Again

  • Remember the nerd herd?
  • They’re still the bad guys this season…
  • We just haven’t seen them lately because… reasons.
  • Buffy’s looking for them, but having no luck.
  • The trio is hiding out in somebody’s basement after they murdered Katrina a few episodes back.
  • They see Buffy getting too close to their hideout, so Andrew summons some kind of demon that manages to stab Buffy with some sort of bony shard that extends from its arm.
  • Kinda like Wolverine… except it’s just the one poker.
  • As soon as Buffy is stabbed in the arm, the scene switches to Buffy receiving an injection from a doctor while being restrained by an orderly in a hospital.
  • Uh… what?
  • After the theme song, things seem to be back to normal.
  • Buffy’s back in the alley and the demon is gone.
  • At the Doublemeat Palace, Buffy is kind of out of it and has a flash to a nurse telling her it’s time for her meds.
  • Meanwhile, no one has heard from Xander.
  • Buffy asks why Willow isn’t going to see Tara, but she did… and she saw her with another girl.
  • Assumptions run wild.
  • Suddenly Xander walks in through Buffy’s front door.
  • He’s looking for Anya… her things are gone from their apartment and there’s a closed sign on the door at the Magic Box.
  • Xander’s come to realize he loves Anya and wants to make up for what he’s done, but he may not be able to.
  • Spike’s taking a walk through the cemetery and finds Buffy on patrol.
  • He asks how the wedding went, since he didn’t stick around for the ceremony.
  • Buffy breaks the news about Xander leaving.
  • They’ve having a decent conversation until Xander and Willow arrive and Xander gets Spike riled up.
  • Which leads to Xander punching Spike…
  • And Buffy flashes back to the mental institution that is allegedly the “real world.”
  • Her doctor explains that Sunnydale isn’t real and she’s been there for six years.
  • Buffy’s parents are there to visit her… Both of them.
  • Joyce is alive and she’s still married to Buffy’s dad.
  • The doctor says Buffy is lucid… something that hasn’t happened for a long time.
  • Back in Sunnydale, Xander and Willow help Buffy to get back home.
  • …Where she explains her hallucinations to Willow, Xander, and Dawn.
  • They really don’t take the news that Sunnydale isn’t real well.
  • This alternate reality is really affecting Buffy, so Willow jumps on the research wagon.
  • Back at the institution, the doctor explains Buffy’s diagnosis.
  • Her brand of schizophrenia has caused her to believe she’s a superhero.
  • Every time the staff at the institution think they’re breaking through to Buffy, her delusion creates a new foe, more powerful than the last.
  • The doctor talks to Buffy about the creation of her sister, which created inconsistencies in her imaginary world.
  • All of that has led to her foes currently being merely three ordinary men from her high school.
  • Speaking of the nerd herd, Jonathan is paranoid that Warren and Andrew are plotting against him.
  • He’s not wrong.
  • Willow’s research turns up the demon that stung Buffy.
  • Its stinger carries the antidote to its own poison.
  • Buffy is looking at a picture of her as a little girl with her parents.
  • She tells Willow that she’s been feeling lost for a long time, even before the demon.
  • Then Buffy confesses that she has spent time in an institution before.
  • Right after her first vampire encounters, she freaked out and told her parents about it.
  • They sent her to a clinic for a couple weeks.
  • When she stopped talking about vampires, she was released and her parents eventually forgot.
  • Buffy breaks down, asking, “What if I’m still there? What if I never left?”
  • Xander and Spike are hunting the demon and manage to tranq it.
  • Dawn brings Buffy some tea and then flashes back to Joyce telling her she doesn’t have a sister.
  • Joyce gets Buffy to say it out loud, that she doesn’t have a sister.
  • And then she says it back in Sunnydale… which, of course, freaks Dawn out.
  • Because when does Dawn not overreact about everything.
  • Willow manages to break off the demon’s stinger and brews up the antidote for Buffy.
  • Once it cools, Buffy should just drink it all and everything will go back to normal.
  • Willow asks Spike to make sure Buffy drinks it all.
  • But when Buffy says he shouldn’t be a part of her life, he gets pissed tells her a few things that she doesn’t really need to hear in the moment.
  • Then he warns her that if she doesn’t tell her friends about the two of them, then he will.
  • Buffy then decides to pour the antidote out in the trash.
  • At the institution, she’s decided she doesn’t want to go back to Sunnydale… she wants to be healthy again.
  • “What do I have to do?”
  • The doctor tells her to rid her mind of the things that support her hallucinations.
  • She’ll have to do whatever it takes to convince herself that her friends are not worth staying in Sunnydale for.
  • Buffy decides that “whatever it takes” means killing her friends.
  • She locks Xander and Willow down in the basement with the chained up demon.
  • Then she goes up and calls for Dawn.
  • Dawn tries to talk sense into her sister, but she really doesn’t have any luck.
  • Once Dawn is in the basement, Buffy unchains the demon.
  • Xander begs Buffy to help him, but she just backs away, watching.
  • Tara’s here! She’s gonna save everyone!
  • Right?
  • She uses magic to free everyone from their ropes and push a heavy shelf against the demon, stunning it momentarily.
  • But Buffy grabs her ankle from under the stairs, causing Tara to fall.
  • Eventually, Buffy can’t stand to watch this demon hurting her friends, even with Joyce encouraging her from the other side.
  • Joyce tells Buffy she needs to believe in herself.
  • Buffy finally looks at her mom and says, “You’re right. Thank you… Good bye…”
  • And then Sunnydale Buffy is back to form.
  • She takes down the demon by punching a hole in its gut.
  • Now… uh… how do you say sorry for trying to kill you to all of your friends?
  • Back at the institution, Buffy is completely catatonic.
  • And that’s how it ends…
  • So which reality is the real reality?
  • Are these seven seasons of television all made up in the mind of a crazy girl in Los Angeles?
  • I’ve always thought this episode was brilliant and one of the brighter spots in an otherwise lackluster season.
  • And I love the ambiguous note that the show leaves us on.
  • Body count: Demons – 1

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