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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a drama about a young girl who inherits the powers to fight the demons that threaten the Earth. She lives in Sunnydale, California which happens to be the Hellmouth and must learn to master her powers while also trying to have some semblance of a normal life. The WB 1997 - 2001. UPN 2002-03.


Episode 17 - Forever

11 November 2013

Synopsis: Buffy makes funeral arrangements while Dawn feels isolated. Buffy waits after the service for Angel to arrive and comfort her. Dawn stays with Willow and Tara who discourage her from talk of resurrection spells. She pushes ahead anyway though getting a book from the Magic Shop and then further help from Spike. She casts the spell and accuses Buffy of not caring about Joyce and ignoring her.Buffy shares her fears

The Good: The opening scene was a rather nice contrast with “The Body.” Buffy walks through a room full of caskets and the music tells us that something bad is about to go down. But it’s merely misdirection and she is choosing a casket for Joyce. The brutal reality of Joyce’s death has passed and we are back into a regular TV episode. Though that’s no terrible thing, I enjoyed this episode just fine. It didn’t have tremendous depth but it dealt with grief with a supernatural twist and gave Dawn a chance to shine.

Dawn’s dislocation from Buffy, who was preoccupied with funeral arrangements, was understandable. As was her desire to use the supernatural she has grown up around to do something about Joyce. Tara came across really well again as she took a firm moral line against tampering with nature. Interestingly Willow was more conciliatory and made a big mistake by encouraging Dawn.

Spike then took over as chaperone in a story certainly intended to “humanise” him. It was a nice touch to have him pay his respects to Joyce who we can believe he genuinely liked. His decision to help Dawn with her spell also seemed to fit him. It was an irresponsible and reckless thing to do but if he’s obsessed with Buffy we can see why he would want to be involved in family business.

Their visit to the strange man (Doc) with a tail was an interesting scene. He managed to be friendly and kind while also very disconcerting. It was a clever choice because the hints of his demonic possession or just old age gave off the strong impression that Joyce was never going to come back the way she was. Spike’s subsequent bravery made what could have been a generic battle over demon eggs a touch more interesting.

Finally Dawn goes through with the spell and Buffy confronts her. It was a hard scene to act as we don’t often have to see such intimate emotions pour out but I thought they both pulled it off. Once Dawn could see how much Buffy missed Joyce she realised that her family was still intact and she no longer needed to risk seeing a zombie Joyce which made for a nice dramatic final moment as she reversed the spell.

I really liked the way Buffy stayed graveside until the sun went down and Angel could appear. It showed a maturity and strength by both of them and the scene which followed exposed Buffy’s vulnerability and the fact that she still blames herself. I also thought Anya had a good moment after sex with Xander as she begins to put the pieces of her humanity jigsaw together.

The Bad: I wouldn’t say anything was particularly bad except the Ghora demon, another low point for the effects department.

The Unknown: I’m getting a little too familiar with Willow’s “I’m flailing so much that everyone knows that I’m lying” stuff.  The Ben and Glory story also failed to convince. I liked the way Ben let slip that the Key is a human but if he really wants to save millions of lives shouldn’t he have, you know, killed Jinx instead of just stabbing him?

Somehow this episode didn’t really make me feel like I know Dawn any better. Her choices were driven by a childish reaction to grief and it feels like she is still defined by either her youth or her family relationships. I still don’t know her as an individual as well as I should.

Best Moment: Angel and Buffy being back together was a very nice moment.

The Bottom Line: This was a solid back-to-business episode. We couldn’t be done with Joyce yet but equally the monster-of-the-week, as it were, needed to return.


Cordia’s Second Look

Season 5, Episode 17
Original airing: 4/17/2001

My Rating: 67

The Good: This episode naturally dealt with the minutiae of Joyce’s death. I liked Buffy burying herself in the funeral arrangements and Dawn’s quest to bring back her mother.

We saw during Joyce’s illness that Buffy’s way of handling things is to push them way, way down until she has time to deal. Seeing her do the same thing here is a really nice bit of character consistency and allows for the alienation and separation Dawn is feeling. And it created a truly heart-wrenching last scene when Buffy runs to the door and finds no one there.

I also really enjoyed the brief glimpse back into Angel and Buffy’s relationship. It’s a reminder that he left because he had to, not because he wanted to. They still have amazing chemistry and it really blows Buffy’s relationship with Riley out of the water. It’s hard to make any excuses for Riley at this point, when one scene with Buffy and Angel has me in tears.

I thought Dawn’s story was pretty well done, too. She’s feeling understandably lost and alone as the one person who always just treated her like a person is now gone. Everyone else looks at her and sees Dawn, but also sees someone who is a mythical, powerful something. Plus, what fourteen year old wouldn’t want their mother back when she was suddenly taken away? I thought her progression was excellent and her determination was actually admirable. And I really liked her realization at the end that a Zombie Joyce would be worse than no Joyce - for both sisters.

I liked Spike coming by the house with flowers. It felt appropriate for him to mark the passing of the one person who treated him like someone of consequence. I really enjoyed the odd little relationship Spike and Joyce developed and I think he will miss that a little bit, if not Joyce herself. I’m slightly torn on him bringing flowers to the house. I feel like he wouldn’t do anything that opened him up in front of someone like that. It seems more likely to me that him coming upon Dawn at the plot was actually when he was stopping by to say his respects.

Finally, I was happy to note that I again was able to enjoy Tara in this episode. I think her strong moral convictions about the laws of magic usage fit well with her character so far. More than likely she had very similar feelings to Dawn’s when her own mother died. And she may have been down this road a bit. So her firm denial to Dawn was appropriate and gave her true fear when she later discovered the book missing. Which led nicely into telling Buffy what was going on at the end of the episode.

The Bad: The main thing I found annoying in this episode was Spike’s involvement with Dawn. I feel like it was really out of character and he just got worse. I don’t buy the excuse that he just doesn’t like to see Summers women hurt. It’s too selfless, especially combined with his insistence that Dawn doesn’t tell Buffy about it.

It goes downhill from there. His attempt to keep Dawn safe from the demon in the sewer led to him being bit on the hip. And he tells her not to worry about it? He also doesn’t get mad before that when Dawn drops the egg. And then he just vanishes. Where did he go? What’s he up to? He felt like a plot device in this episode to make Dawn’s spell seem extra dangerous.

Other than that, I was annoyed by the really crappy looking demon. It was particularly bad this time. I also was disappointed by Ben’s inability to kill Jinx. He gives him a pretty fatal looking stab, but no… he’ll be fine. If he really wanted to keep Jinx from getting back to Glory, I think he would have made sure to finish the job.

And I rolled my eyes at Willow’s incredibly bad lying. What annoyed me most about that was how Tara just ignored it or didn’t even notice? It’s hard to tell what she was thinking there. But she should have commented on it or something.

Favorite Moment: Buffy and Dawn’s collapse on to the floor felt very powerful to me. They’ve just really opened up to each other about how Joyce’s death is affecting them and then Buffy has a moment of pure fantasy, imaging Joyce might really be at the door and actually herself. When the bubble is burst and the sisters cry, I found myself more than welling up too.

The Bottom Line: I thought this was a pretty good follow up to The Body. I think they dealt with the aftermath of Joyce’s death pretty well and it reintroduced Glory a bit. But a few things were bungled and I thought Spike’s character was grossly misused.



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  • I am feeling more and more appalled at season 5 as I go on. I remember earlier in the series when the characters dealt with the plot developments; now it seems like the plot is merely a device to justify the desired character developments. Dawn is upset and she's a teen, so why not just let her get away with whatever she wants? Willow just happens to reveal resurrection spells, Spike just happens to want to help Dawn (and are we still arguing that there is zero humanity in him??), Doc just happens to want to advise for free, Dawn just happens to be able to cast a high-level spell... I want to make it clear that this sloppiness bothers me because of my high regard for past episodes, and I am really hoping that the remaining 5 of season 5 pick up the slack, but at this point it seems unlikely.

    P.S. - Ben, maybe make sure the goon is dead, mmkay?

    Viewer score: 30 / 100

    Posted by Matt E., 11/11/2013 9:46pm (6 years ago)

  • I really liked the way this episode ended. Dawn was able to work through some of her grief over the loss of her mom. It could be argued that her attempt to bring her mom back represented denial or bargaining, whereas ripping the picture to reverse the spell showed acceptance, the final stage of grief.

    In terms of Spike's involvement in this episode, it didn't bother me at all. I think he genuinely likes Dawn, and also knows that Buffy would be crushed if anything bad happened to her. He may suspect that she is going to go ahead and try to bring Joyce back regardless, so he is just trying to make sure she does it right. I saw this as his trying to keep her relatively safe. I may be reverse-engineering his motives to fit the story, but that is just how I saw it on first viewing, so I am fine with it.

    Posted by DrewP, 15/10/2013 2:37pm (6 years ago)

  • I don't know if anyone else noticed, but the end of this episode seemed like an obvious reference to the famous Jacobs horror story, The Monkey's Paw ('s_Paw).

    Posted by Faheem, 02/02/2013 10:04am (6 years ago)

  • Just lack luster as a post "The Body" episode.

    (See voicemail)

    Viewer score: 55 / 100

    Posted by William, 16/01/2013 1:47pm (6 years ago)

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