Buffy Anne Summers
Alexander 'Xander' Harris
In the scene where Xander punches through the wall, you can clearly see that there is a circular hole in the wall surrounding his arm. However, when the screen shows his arm again, there are broken pieces of wall filling the hole that surrounds his arm.
UK DVD formatting error: After the Scoobies get the autopsy results they sit down, and as they do the tip of a camera lens is visible in the top left-hand corner for several seconds.
At Willow's dorm when Xander is pacing, a shadow moves against the back wall across the hallway, but no one is walking in front of it.
There seems to be a slight flaw in timing. When Buffy returns home, she calls for Joyce asking if she wants her to pick Dawn up from school, which would set this in late afternoon (after fighting the Aprilbot from the previous episode) but after the tragic opening scene is played out, Dawn is preparing to go to class, as well as the entire lighting of the house scene seems to be in the morning time at some point.
The image we see on Dawn's canvas when she leaves the room is completely different than the image we see when the camera does the close up of it at the end of the scene.
When Buffy first enters the kitchen to dial 911, the roll of paper towels are visible across the room near the sink. After Buffy vomits and leaves the back door to re-enter the kitchen, the paper towels are now in the middle of the room on the counter.
When Dawn enters the morgue to look at Joyce's body, she is wearing canvas tennis shoes, yet the sound effect of footsteps is dubbed in, making it sound like she's wearing hard-soled shoes. Her tennis shoes wouldn't make any noise except maybe a squeak.
The doctor who did the autopsy/post-mortem exam of Joyce is the same doctor who performed her surgery. This is an ethical, if not legal, no-no in all fifty states.
When Dawn entered in her classroom, she pulled her school bag down from her back. Following that scene, we see Kevin (for a second). After, we're back with Dawn who STILL has her school bag on her back and she pulls it again. This is due to the editing cuts.
When Buffy grabs the paper-towel, she holds it close to her chest. We also see that it's wrinkled. Later, when she puts it onto her vomit, the paper-towel is neatly folded into a square.
Willow: Did it make you feel better?
Xander: For a second there.
Willow: A whole second?
Xander: In my defense, some crappy wallmanship.
Willow: Yeah, you can hear everything next door.
Xander: (Talking about being there for Buffy) We'll go. We'll deal. We'll help. That's what we do. We help Buffy.
(After Xander punches the wall in Willow's dorm)
Willow: Xander, where did your hand go?
Willow: (to Anya, after her rant about death) We don't know how it works. Why...
(Anya, Willow and Xander return with armloads of snacks from the vending machines)
Willow: We panicked.
Dawn: I have to go to the bathroom...
Buffy: Do you need someone to go with you?
Dawn: No... I still remember how to pee.
Tara (entering to see Xander's fist in the wall): What happened?
Anya: Xander decided he blames the wall.
Buffy: Mom? Are you home? (turns to see Joyce laying on the couch) What are you doing? (camera zooms in on Joyce, showing her eyes are frozen open) Mom? Mom? (voice grows faint, quivering)... Mommy?
Buffy: Was it sudden? Your mother?
Tara: No. And, yes. It's always sudden.
Tara: There's a Santa Claus?
Anya: Mm-hmm. Been around since, like, the 1500s. He wasn't always called Santa, but you know, Christmas night, flying reindeer, coming down the chimney -- all true.
Dawn: (smiles hopefully) All true?
Anya: Well, he doesn't traditionally bring presents so much as, you know, disembowel children, but otherwise...
Willow: Why do all my shirts have such stupid things on them? Why can't I just dress like a grownup? Can't I be a grownup!
Anya: But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens, how we go through this. I mean - I knew her, and then she's... there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And... and Xander's crying and not talking, and... and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, "Well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch - ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn, or brush her hair, not ever," and no one will explain to me why.
Dawn: Is she cold?
Buffy: It's not her... it's not her... she's gone.
Dawn: Where'd she go?
On the DVD Commentary for the episode Restless (4x22), Joss says that the scene in Buffy's dream where Joyce is living in the wall was a metaphorical hint about Joyce's illness in this season. Primarily that Buffy would not be able to get to her, or save her.
This episode is number four in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to The Last Sundown featurette in the season seven DVD box set.
In a 2003 interview with Entertainment Weekly shortly after announcing her decision to leave the show, Sarah Michelle Gellar said that this episode was "pretty amazing" and said that it was one of her favorites.
This is one of the few episodes that begins where the previous one left off, with out being a two parter (a "to be continued...").
In a situation like this, the first person you want to call (excluding 911) is your other parent. Buffy, however, calls Giles, her closest father-figure. As we later see in season six, Buffy finds it hard to deal with things without Giles.
This episode is the opposite to the season 4 episode Hush in which there are few spoken words and more music. In this episode, there is the absence of music through out the episode, and most is spoken word. Joss Whedon explained that music comforts the audience, and he wanted this episode to be touching and horrifying at the same time.
This is one of Alyson Hannigan's favorite episodes of the show, according to an October, 2005 interview with PopWatch.
Although listed in the opening credits, James Marsters does not appear in this episode.
The toy which Anya throws away from underneath her in the chair in Willow's room is a Japanese character called 'Burnt Bunboy'. Joss and his wife are big fans of him and Joss couldn't resist putting him in his show.
Anya reveals in the opening sequence the true nature of Santa Claus. She says he was a creature from the 16th century who would disembowel children. However, the parts about the chimneys and the reindeer are apparently true.
Buffy makes reference to the episode 'Band Candy' when she says "As long as you two stay away from the band candy..." to Joyce and Giles. In the Season 3 episode, the two had sex.
According to Joss's DVD commentarry he wishes that he had included Joyce in the scene at the table, and not have her seperated from the scoobies in the kitchen.
There was no "Previously on Buffy" teaser at the beginning of this episode and there was no music, incidental or otherwise at all. Joss Whedon told the BBC Buffy website: "The lack of music, the no cutting, every act in one scene... it was all supposed to be relentless, almost a kind of boredom to create what I wanted to capture".
This episode reveals that Tara's mother died when Tara was 17.
Willow's dorm room is number 213. She shared a dorm with Buffy last year which was number 214, so this is probably next door.
Joss wanted Willow and Tara's kiss to be natural, and not to be the main focus of the episode so he included it in this episode.
Alyson Hannigan was allergic to the plaster dust from the scene when Xander punches his hand through the wall. Her right eye and face swelled up during the filming of that scene and she had to be taken to hospital.
Kristine Sutherland has said in interviews that Joss told her at the start of season 4 that Joyce was going to die in season 5.
It is said that if you have a dream of an open grave, while it is raining, someone you know will die within a year. (Faith awoke from a dream such as this last season in 'This Year's Girl'.)
According to Joss Whedon's DVD commentary, the episode begins with the flashback of the gang's Christmas dinner because Joss didn't want the cast and crew credits to appear over the main scene of Buffy finding her mom.
This episode is the most vampire/monster-light episode of the series, being completely free of any vampires or supernatural beings until the vampire that appears in the last few minutes.
After almost a full year of the implied off-screen physical relationship between Willow and Tara, the two finally share their first on-screen kiss, bringing an end to the WB's apparent policy about contact between same-sex partners.
Tara: Purple means ... royalty.
The color purple has been a royal symbol since ancient Rome, when the color was reserved exclusively for use by emperors. This is probably due to the fact that purple dye was very expensive.
Willow: I had too much nog.
This is a reference to Eggnog which is a drink consisting of milk or cream, sugar, and eggs beaten together. This drink is traditionally served at Christmas or New Year's and is often mixed with liquor such as rum or brandy.
Xander: The Avengers got to make with the assembling.
The Avengers are a superhero team from Marvel comics. "Avengers Assemble" is their battle cry, usually shouted by a leader as they rush into combat.
Willow: Strong like an Amazon?
This is a reference to the song "Amazons" by Phranc, the "all-American Jewish lesbian folksinger" and record-holding Tupperware Lady (I kid you not). Willow is quoting the line of the chorus. Whedon reveals this in the DVD commentary, but insists he didn't choose this song because of Willow's, Tara's and Phranc's sexual orientation. This is odd, since Phranc's success has mostly been with her gay audience. It makes sense that Willow and Tara would know this song, but it would make sense mostly because they're lesbians.
Willow: Strong like an Amazon?
From Greek Mythology, the Amazons were a group of strong and fierce warrior women. The term is generally used today as a way to denote strong women figures. Two such icons are Wonder Woman and Xena: Warrior Princess.
Willow: Santa always passes me by. Something puts him off. Could be the big honkin' menorah.
A Menorah is a nine-branched candelabrum used to celebrate the Jewish holiday known as Hanukkah, or the "festival of lights". Santa is the traditional figure of Christmas in Christian religion. Since Willow is Jewish, she doesn't celebrate Christmas.
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