Episode Reviews (40)
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Hole in the story?
First of all, I'd just like to say that I do love this episode. But after for about the third time, it got me thinking.. how did The Master rise in this alternate reality? In the last episode of the first season it shows how intent Buffy is on not going to fight The Master (because the prophecy said she would die). When she did go down to fight him he informed her that he would not have risen, if she had stayed away. Which then begs the question if the slayer had not been there on that night, what was it that allowed The Master to rise?moreless
When deciding what score to give an episode I factor in a lot of different things. An episode gets a perfect score because there are no critical flaws in it and it's just so good that I don't need to justify why it's perfect, it simply is. This episode is the exception to what I just said. Because the dreaded "reset button" is used I considered giving this a lower score. After all, none of the characters remember anything that happened afterwards thereby making that entire portion of the episode essentially irrelevant. At least that's what happens most of the time when the "reset button" is used. It happened more times than I can count (or that I'd like to admit I sat through) on Star Trek: Voyager.
There are several things that make this episode different though. The first is that under three quarters of the episode takes place in the alternate reality; the first quarter is important and is remembered by all the characters. The second is that although none of the characters remember anything from the experience, the viewers do, and this is important because we learn vital tidbits about the main characters in the process. The third is that the series doesn't ever do this again. And finally, the fourth, is that this world, where Buffy never came to Sunnydale, is extremely interesting, entertaining, dark, and well done.
This episode has two distinct 'sections' which are connected through Cordelia. Both of these 'sections' are, well, perfect. In the beginning we get some ultra light fun where Buffy slays a corny demon and the group continues their picnic like nothing happened; business as usual. It's here when Xander asks Buffy how she deals with the pain of lost love (and I think he also means life in general). She responds, "I have you guys." The slow dissolution of the Scoobies in the following seasons is why everything will eventually break apart. They don't feel like they "have each other" anymore which is why they keep secrets and grow increasingly separated. This happens to a lot of people when they go to college and out into the work world.
I liked seeing Oz's rejection of Willow's plea for talk. Oz knows that Willow wants to talk with him about what she did so she can feel better about herself. He suitably replies to this by saying "that's not my problem." The scene at the Bronze picks up on all these points while Buffy, Willow, and Xander are moping around and chatting with each other. Xander's trying to move on as soon as possible, Willow feels horrible and wants to make it right with Oz, and Buffy is just kind of confused about everything.
Cordelia attempts to slide back into her old persona again with ease. Happily, and a testament to her character's growth, this doesn't succeed. When unhappy and covered in trash Cordelia comes to the realization that all of her problems stem from Buffy. Anyanka is attempting to get Cordelia to wish something bad upon Xander, but instead ends up granting a different kind of wish. Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale in the first place in the hopes that she'd never get tangled up in the supernatural and end up getting together with Xander. She's obviously angry at both Willow and Xander, but by her reaction at the news that they're both dead we can see that she didn't really hate them. It becomes increasingly obvious to her that Buffy is not the cause of her pain.
It's interesting that in the Buffy-less Sunnydale Willow and Xander are vampires. One might argue that Willow got bit during the events of "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (1x01), but remember that it was Buffy who told her to "seize the day" which was the reason she went out into the crowd in the first place. Nevertheless, it still makes sense that eventually one of these two would have been bit and then would have immediately went to change the other. Willow as a vampire is actually pretty terrifying. At first she comes off as a joke but we see her true colors when torturing Angel. Xander rubs off as very much like his human personality. He follows others' leads and works as an underling. Willow takes change and is a powerful minion under the Master. This fits with what we know of Willow's continually growing self confidence.
What's truly the most shocking, though, is how different Buffy is. She is very battle worn, tired, humorless, and has that "death wish" that Spike says all slayers have in "Fool for Love" (5x07). She partially lets the Master snap her neck because she's so tired of fighting. The look on her face leading up to her death says everything. It shows that she is already dead on the inside. Buffy is not a 'special' Slayer in this reality. She fights alone and dies just like all the girls before her. The only thing that makes her unique is that she has to live in a world where the hellmouth is open. When I first saw this episode I found myself wanting to see more of this Buffy's life and how she got to the point she was at. There's a reason why we're seeing Buffy's story in the real world though: she's a unique Slayer there and that is part of what makes her so interesting. What we need to see in an episode like this is a glimpse at how all the main characters would have turned out had Buffy not arrived, and the episode does just that. We never knew pre-Sunnydale Buffy in the first place, so seeing more of her story in this alternate reality wouldn't be terribly interesting.
The episode wraps up with a very chilling battle where Xander kills Angel (how ironic is that), Buffy kills Xander, Oz kills Willow, and the Master kills Buffy, all with beautifully haunting music running over top. Giles destroys Anyanka's power center in the middle of all this and reality is restored back to normal where we see Buffy, Willow, and Xander together and, more or less, happy. To sum this up, I got everything I needed to get from an episode like this. There was time spent dealing with the aftermath of the previous episode, a dark look into an alternate reality Sunnydale, lots of subtle character foreshadowing, and a beautifully chilling ending. Perfect, but I think you already knew that.moreless
What could have been?
All of it! Just wonderful! Great reveal of Anya the demon and the action sequences especially
Surely in vampdominated Sunnydale people would prefer to let their kids drive home from SDH?
Buffy; Your logic is not like our earth logic
Everyone except Giles, Larry, Harmony and Oz. But then thankfully they're all alive again. Cordy's death is particularly disturbing. Of course the obvious question is what about all the people who died in the proper Buffyverse? It would have been a nice touch if Jenny, Jessie and Principle Flutie were still alive at SDH, if Nancy was actually Theresa from Phases. And of course if Buffy never died in the Master's pool then Kendra is still alive too
VampXander is hit by Buffy's crossbow
Angel in chains
Giles and Oz
Women good/men bad;
If anything with Vampwillow we see femalekind at it's worse. The way Harmony and co treat Cordy is horrible, you really feel for her but I guess it's revenge for her 'Sheep' speech.
Where do you begin? PVC-clad VampWillow plays no-safety-word S&M sex games with 'Puppy' whilst leatherclad vampXander watches. Buffy thinks the hero worship that everyone shows her in Sunnydale is a 'get in my pants thing'.
Calling Captain Subtext;
vampWillow has obvious lesbian overtones (her killing of both Cordy and the Master's victim is almost akin to snuff). However she still digs Xander and Angel so it's still more than likely she's bi rather than gay.
Plenty of torture but only by the bad guys
Questions and observations
Staggeringly brilliant in every way and anyone who doesn't think so should be locked up as a danger to themselves and others. Great ending too, cool, touching and funny, wonderful music. Plus Jonathon AND Larry, great.
What is the Mayor doing in Master dominated Sunnydale? And the Initiative? Where are Darla and Luke, killed by the White Hat's? Where are Hank and Joyce? Who is the Watcher Giles talks to on the telephone? Wesley? Sam Zebuto (Kendra's Watcher)? Gwendoline Post? Giles refers to demonic activity in Cleveland which will be referenced in Chosen as Giles says there's a 2nd Hellmouth there (presumably inactive?) We always knew Buffy was an exceptional Slayer and that the Watcher's found her late but here we see that without Giles and the Scoobies' help she ends up battlehardened, emotionally cut off and with the Slayer deathwish, just like all the others. Interesting to compare 'The Wish' Buffy with Faith (and what's happening to her in the Wishverse?)
And here's Anya, no sign as yet that she'll become a major character and appear in the opening credits.
Now, where does the Wishverse lie in the continuity of things? I figure it's a dead end, a right angle to the real timestream that stops dead at the moment Giles smashes the pendant. Of course what happens if the Wishverse had continued? Well with all respect to Kendra I don't see her lasting that long leaving it to Faith to defeat The Master. So that would mean that Dawn is Faith's sister, Giles her Watcher, a grieving Joyce and Hank surrogate parents to both LeHane girls and Larry, Oz, Harmony and Amy as the Scoobygang? Would that make Spike the PTB's souled-vamp champion, just try picturing him and Doyle as a team. Interesting to wonder, huh?
Once read a great fanfic where all the Scoobys are vamps but this meant that the valiant Darla was the Slayer and The Mayor, Adam, a human Spike and Dru, Glory and the Nerds were all good guys and made up her alternate Scooby Gang. It says a lot for the depth of character Joss gives his villains that the concept actually worked really well, that they all could have been heroes if things had taken a different path.
Actually Cordy has dated Jonathon before or at least let him buy her a muffin at the Bronze in Inca Mummy Girl. We hear the gang go on about how Faith has become more and more distant since the events of Revalations, Buffy has sympathy for her and we later see she wouldn't have been too different to her under other circumstances. You have to agree with Oz turning Will down, he's right as to her motivations. You note that although things are bad in SD the Harvest wasn't the end of the world it was advertised to be, the rest of the world goes on pretty much unaffected. How do they dispose of all the demon bodies they leave lying around?
Legend has it there's a girl looking just like Faith amongst the prisoners at the Factory. Eliza Dushku however has stated at a convention that this definitely isn't her, she wasn't even on set that day. Popular explanation is that this is her stand in/stunt double earning some spare cash as an extra.
10/10 and a whole lot more.
Great episode of Buffy. Its fun and interesting, but also dark.
The wish is a very well written episode and its a dark look into what could have been without Buffy.
Cordelia comes back to school after her injury and finds that things are very different for her. She no longer is miss popular and her old friends laugh and make fun of her. Feeling down she realizes that all her problems started because of Buffy and sheinadvertently makes a wish to the new girl Anya, who just happens to be a vengeance demon.
Cordelia wishes Buffy never came to Sunnydale and soon finds herself in an alternate reality where vampires reign supreme, the master is still alive, and where Xander and Willow are super scary vamps.
Now at this point they could have made this episode a typical alternate reality episode where the person throughout the episode learns just how bizarre their alternate reality is and then tries to change it. And in the beginning Cordelia does just that. But things take a turn for the worse when Xander and Willow kill her.
I think that that was an interesting twist to a story idea that has been rehashed many times. The whole episode is well done. Xander and Willow are terrifying as vampires and its a good setup for Dopplegangland where vampire Willow makes a return.
The alternate Buffy is also very interesting. She almost reminds me of Faith and I wonder if that's what the writers were going for. She's tough, scarred, and dark with none of the fun loving Buffy we all well...love.
The end scene in the warehouse is well done. We watch as all of our favorite characters die. The part where Angel gets shot and says, "Buffy." as he turns into dust is sad, but also made even sadder because Buffy doesn't even care. She walks right through him as though he didn't matter.
Well written episode, great to watch, and its interesting to see how much Buffy has done for Sunnydale.moreless
The Wish was a true Buffy the Vampire Slayer treat.! This episode was exciting because wa saw the return of Cordelia, introduced to a new cool girl who is not who she appears to be or should I say what. The story for this episode is Brilliant and ties in other story lines really well and I have a feeling it will play a part in the future as well. This episode saw the return of The Master, and in Cordelia's new world Willow and Zander are quite different but still hot for each other. This was good episode to show range of different versions of the various characters.moreless
definitaly not one of my favorite episodes, but they used it well in futre episdoes. I think that this episode is necissary, but not what I like about the show.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of my favorite shows. I like the first three or four seasons the best, after that they lose thier wit and comedy. There's a nice mix of action, romance, comedy and sci-fi. This episode was one of my least favorite. I don't like the fact that Cordillia is still part of the "Scooby Gang" although she isn't Xander's girlfriend anymore. Then she gets removed at the end of the season. This episode is vital for the rest of the season to make sense though. I like the fact that all of the episodes deal with new topics, but all of the episodes are linked and are related to each other. This is a classic show but they changed it too much after season four. I'll keep watching, but that's only because this show has something that no other show has. I don't know what it is but I like it!moreless
The Master is back but not really. Actually, nothing in this episode really happens. Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and a demon named Anyanka actually grants her wish, but it is all reset by the end of the episode.
The Wish is yet another episode penned by Marti Noxon. Noxon joined the Buffy staff with season two as story editor. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was her first job in Hollywood, and she wrote six episodes her first season working. Only Joss Whedon can claim the same: he wrote six episodes of Roseanne the first season he was hired, and Roseanne was his first Hollywood job. Noxon received multiple promotions every season. She was promoted to Executive Producer and took over Whedon’s role as show runner during the last season of Buffy, because Whedon was busy developing Firefly at this time. I have no doubt that Noxon is a very talented writer; I simply have not liked most of the episodes she has written so far.
It seems like most series finally get around to an alternate reality episode--especially sci-fi series. Sometimes they are good. Most of the time, they are bad. The Wish was bad. In fact, as a Buffy fan, it was painful to watch. In alternate reality episodes that are good, the writer has fun with the characters and setting. Nothing about The Wish was fun. It was dark and creepy. Xander and Willow came off as lame Spike and Drusilla wannabes. Buffy came off as bored with her lame alternate persona.
This episode was also riddled with plot holes. They made such a huge deal about prophecy and destiny in the first season with the Master. All the prophecies about the Master intricately involved Buffy as slayer. In season one we were told that he could not even escape without the help of Buffy. All this is ignored in this episode, and the Master escapes without the help of Buffy. Since all of Sunnydale is aware of the vampire threat, why is everyone not toting crosses and holy water? Why is Giles the only one smart enough to pack a crucifix?
There was actually no character development in this episode, because none of the events really happened, and we knew from the very beginning that none of the events were going to have any consequences. There was no truth for the characters to learn in this episode either, because nobody remembered a thing. Most reviews of this episode compared it to It's a Wonderful Life. This is an unfair comparison. It's a Wonderful Life had a definite message that this episode did not even come close to. The dues ex amulet was the final blow that crushed any hopes of this episode being taken seriously and receiving better than a 2 out of 10.
Find this review and more at tv.swingthesickle.commoreless
Season 3, Episode 9.
Cordelia wants to get rid of Xander for good. So, she confides her problem in her new friend, Anya. When she wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, Anya turns into a demon and grants her wish.
I always liked this episode. The concept is awesome. Buffy looked awesome when she was being strangled by the demon in the beginning of the episode. Plus, Cordelia looked really good in this episode. I liked seeing Xander and Willow as vampires, but I don't like the different Buffy. At least the whole problem was solved. Not a bad episode at all. Unique, definitely.moreless
What a fun episode!
This episode's alternate universe showed us just how much Buffy has accomplished in her time at Sunnydale. It was fun to see how Willow and Xander would be as vampires and fun to see them actually end up together for a change. The only negative about this episode is that nobody got to see what it was like without Buffy. Only we know what happened in the episode with the exception of Anya and she never tells, even Cordi who is aware of the changes forgets the alternate universe once the spell is broken. It would have been fun to see the others react to what "could have been". Still one of the most fun episodes!!moreless
An alternate world.
This is such an amazing episode of the series and it introduces us to evil Willow, whose "Bored now..." line just never gets old. And this episode introduces Anya who lives on to be such a great character. For my Willow and Oz note, I love the scene where he tells her that her wanting to talk is selfish because he needs space, it is so heartbreaking. But the scene with Harmony insulting Cordelia at the beginning is so sad and it makes you feel so bad for her. Then her wish turns the whole world upside down. And Evil Xander, who we only really get to see in this episode, he is quite hot as evil and the way he plays it is so sexy. I love when Willow is torturing Angel and he says that he just wants to watch. I also like how he refers to Cordy as an old crush which shows that he was always at least a little interested in him. The alternative world is such a great vision of world without Buffy and Giles speech at the end about how the other world has to be better is really great. A fantastic episode.moreless