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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 5 Episode 16

The Body

5
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 27, 2001 on The WB
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (74)

9.6
out of 10
Average
889 votes
  • There's not much I can say that hasn't been said already about "The

    10
    It's a brilliant masterpiece that is further proof that the Emmy Awards are meaningless. I will not lie--this is a tough episode to watch and, honestly, I am repulsed by the idea of dissecting and analyzing it. In light of this I decided not to take very many notes, not discuss many of the details, and not nitpick about specifics.



    This episode is presented in a manner that parallels our actual lives. Even shows that are based on 'reality,' such as the endless slew of cop, law, and medical dramas, are in reality very little like our actual lives, or even the lives of people in those professions. I've lost a loved relative and was there during the following hours after her death. What I experienced was unlike anything I'd ever experienced before in my life--this odd numbness where I couldn't feel, couldn't think, and felt like I was hearing people speak through an audio fog. To think that an episode of television could capture that unique feeling, and then convey it to complete perfection, seems like nonsense. After all, when a beloved character on a television show dies, you've got to have the endless sobbing and swelling sad music.



    Somehow, though, Joss Whedon has done it. It's well known that he wrote this episode from his own experience of seeing death. That must be why what is on display here is unbelievably powerful--a work of 'life,' if you will. "The Body" isn't about Joyce at all, but rather the "negative space" around her body--as in, how this death affects everyone close to her. And affect everyone close to her it does, in a major series-changing way. From this point on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not the same series. Some see this full-on dive into darkness as the wrong direction. I, on the other hand, see it as a welcome path. The characters have gotten older, so it's time the series got older with it. What follows through the end of the series is dark, complex, compelling, and at times absolutely riveting.



    How about Sarah Michelle Gellar? This girl puts out amazing performances on this show so often, I often forget just how talented she is. There's not one moment in this entire episode where I don't buy that she's feeling exactly what I felt in my own experience. Whedon uses a whole variety of simple techniques to help us see through Buffy's eyes and feel Buffy's heart: quick cuts, hopeful dream flashes, odd framing, blurring, and brash physicality. Additionally, the complete lack of any music is a unique and gutsy move by Whedon, but it pays unparalleled dividends here. Instead of pointing each technique out let me just say they all work perfectly for me and wonderfully add to the realism that Whedon has achieved here.



    The one specific thing I feel the need to discuss is the vampire in the final act. The first time I saw the episode I must admit that I was pulled out of the sense of realism that Whedon spent the entire episode holding onto. I even felt that it really hurt the episode. Since then, after hearing Whedon's commentary and rewatching the episode several times, it just doesn't bug me anymore. I accept Whedon's reasoning at face value, and it makes well enough sense from a story perspective. It is meant to show us that even in the face of tremendous personal tragedy the world outside still goes on. This is shown in different ways throughout the episode which include Buffy staring blankly out her back porch and hearing the sound of children laughing, Xander getting a parking ticket, and then finally Buffy being forced into a very ugly fight with a vampire. For Buffy, this fight represents her day-to-day life forcing itself on her, not caring that she's experiencing tremendous loss. I agree that the episode would have been just as potent without the vampire, but it being there doesn't bother me anymore.



    I want to apologize if you wanted a more detailed analysis from me. "The Body" is not complex nor is it meant to be. Simply watch the episode, listen to Whedon's commentary, put yourself in Buffy's shoes, and the episode will review itself. This is a piece of life that is rarely depicted outside of each of our lives. On display are emotions so naked and raw that we're forced to see just how beautiful and magnificent human life can be. As Anya will soon say in "Forever", "I'm not ready to make life with you. But I could. We could. Life could come out of our love and our smooshing and that's beautiful. It all makes me feel we're a part of something bigger. Like I'm more awake Anya, you nailed both the confusion of death and the miracle of life. Now, as Willow says, " I wanna be there for As do I.
  • This is one of the best episodes of any TV show I have ever seen.

    10
    This episode made me sob, and not just because of the episode itself. My freshman year of high school, my aunt died suddenly of an aneurysm in the brain, the same thing Buffy's mom died of. I was watching Buffy for the first time on DVD, and by the time I got to this episode, it was exactly one year to the date that my aunt had died. I identified with Willow when she was freaking out about her clothes. I ended up sobbing on the floor of my room before my aunt's funeral, because I didn't have anything nice that was black, everything was colorful and juvenile, and I was sobbing during Anya's speech, because it made sense to me. This episode shows perfectly the different reactions people have, from disbelief to hating yourself to feeling completely lost. The lack of music was an excellent choice, and made the episode even more depressing, and I loved how the acts didn't cut away from one location, but stayed there. It gave the feeling of an inability to escape, which is perfect for this episode. I admired how Joyce didn't die of supernatural causes, but natural ones, showing that Buffy couldn't protect her family from everything.
  • So beautiful yet so sad

    10
    The Good;

    All of it, an epic 40 minutes of TV, the cast are all incredible



    The Bad;

    A few problems. Why did the paramedics tell Buffy to stop CPR when she breaks Joyce's rib? A broken rib won't kill her, lack of oxygen would. Surely only a doctor can officially determine that someone is dead? How can the vamp rise when it's already had it's autopsy, it's heart has been taken out and put back in again?



    Best line;

    Buffy; "That's not her, she's gone"

    Dawn; "Where did she go?"

    Just beating Anya's heartful monologue as she desperately tries to understand what's happening.



    Women good/men bad;

    No room for that here



    Jeez!;

    Buffy breaking Joyce's rib is just wince inducing. The scariest vamp in all of the Buffyverse is the one who attacks Dawn in the morgue, partly because this is a naked man attacking a terrified 14 year old girl but also because this is a vamp stripped to it's bare bones, it genuinely looks like what it is, a reanimated corpse. The scene where Buffy imagines successfully reviving Joyce then we realise it's all just her fantasy is just too cruel for words.



    Kinky dinky;

    Dawn's schoolfriend Lisa says that her crush Kevin 'Wants her'



    Captain Subtext;

    The Willow/Tara's first onscreen kiss, so much going on that it almost goes unnoticed. Willow likes it when Tara rubs her tummy. Could she be related to Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory? Willow and Tara refer to the Amazons. Anya and Giles hug. Buffy seems to just be able to sense when Dawn is in trouble, maybe their link is deeper than just sisters. Buffy's 'Mommy?' line surely needs no explanation?



    Scoobies to the ER;

    Xander hurts his hand again



    Apocalypses; 5,



    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 1

    Dawn; 1



    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 16

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1

    Anya;1



    Kills: 1 vamp for Buffy

    Buffy: 95 vamps, 32 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 6 vamps

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon

    Anya: a demon

    Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons



    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 3



    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 6

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3



    Recurring characters killed: 10, goodbye Joyce, how we loved her and how we never really realised it until she was gone.

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara, Joyce



    Sunnydale deaths; Joyce but from natural causes

    89;



    Total number of scoobies: 6

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara,



    Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?



    Scoobies shot:

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Riley; 1



    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes?

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 1 possible, Dracula(?)

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?)

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara

    Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore



    Questions and observations;

    Notice that Buffy never hugs Dawn, never holds her? More on that next episode. How can you have an episode so sad yet so beautiful? Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, cannot praise this highly enough. Wonderful details like Buffy pulling down Joyce's skirt as the paramedics arrive. The end of the fantastic Joyce/Kristine Sutherland as a semi-regular on the show, she'll be missed as all the cast and crew remark upon but what a wonderful send-off she gets. A very real posibility that this may be simply the best ever episode of television ever.

    Marks out of 10; do you have to ask? 10/10

  • Want to know what I think about The Body? Simple, it is the single greatest hour of television in the history of the world.....

    10
    Want to know what I think about The Body?
    Simple, it is the single greatest hour of television in the history of the world, and being someone who watches more tv than your average family of 5, this should mean something to you. Id rank this episode of Buffy with the greatest films of all time, its that damn good.
    From the flawless acting to the camera angles that truly depict ones vision and range of "comprehension" during such trauma, there is literally nothing you can complain about this episode. As a guy who most people would never call a softie, I have to say, even after over 100 viewings of this episode, I still cry every single time, and i am not ashamed to admit it.
  • Simply Phenomenal!

    10

    Been on a Buffy/Angel marathon on Netflix the last few weeks watching them straight through. There had been a few powerful episodes, but this one blew them out of the water. An emotional person I am not, but within about the first two minutes I was choking up and it continued through the episode.



    Each character had their own moment to show their grief and each one was superb in it's own right. Especially moving in my opinion was Willow's breakdown and Anya's complete bewilderment. The lack of any background music throughout just highlights those moments; in fact, I thought I had accidentally muted the tv a couple of times. Just a brilliantly acted/directed/produced episode all around.



    * Only thing I'd change would be to take out the beginning credits and the end credits. The music was completely jarring after an episode with none. Although; on second thought, it does bring you abruptly back into the real world.

  • Dying, sad and different ...

    10

    the best episode of a TV series I have ever seen in my entire life. No soundtrack only a chilling silence and dying, for Buffy is the most delicate moment of his life. With a photo and climate unlike anything ever shown on the show handle and the way Joss Whendon shows the pain of each Character is simply: Genial!

  • Sublime, stunning, miraculous

    10
    The best hour of television ever made. Period. No other television program has truthfully handled the subject of death and those who grieve with such sensitivity and artfulness. This episode it so stunning and revealing it is incomparable. University professors have shown this episode to students when discussing the themes of death and grief as an excellent example of how the mind and soul process such an event, especially when it happens suddenly and unexpectedly. I have been there, I have felt this, and nobody, in any medium, has conveyed sudden death and the effects on those who knew the deceased so appropriately and accurately. Without equal.
  • this episode is one of the lovely est ones, you have buffy dealing with her mum dying, and then dawn not coming to grips with not believing it till she sees the body at the end. you the have xanda getting angry with the whys

    10
    this episode is one of the lovely est ones, you have buffy dealing with her mum dying, and then dawn not coming to grips with not believing it till she sees the body at the end.

    you the have xanda getting angry with the whys( and at the point that xanda hits the wall did you know that the plaster dust that came out made alyson ill as she was elergic to it), then you have anya so funny still with her comments so funny, and not being able to understand the human nature.

    you then have willow with some great acting with the changing of the clothes and wanting to be a "grown up". you then have tara trying to console her, and there first kiss on screen. and if you look close to willow at 30mins in the show you can see her face at tara with such a loving look, she then mouths to her that she loves her. beautiful. love the show
  • "But I don't understand! I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this... It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid!...and no one will explain to me why."

    10
    one of the best episodes ever! dealing with dead in such a way is so unusual in these days, that it is absolutely refreshing. it's not oversentimental or anything like that. there's no music at all, the camera shots are extremely long... this actually creates an unbelievable deep feeling of being helpless. the sheer pain of death is almost touchable.
    and the most important thing to mention is the absolute breathtaking acting of ALL of the cast.
    emma caulfield had the most intense scene of all and she pulled it off so damn good, that it always makes me cry, even if i just watch her little scene alone! "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."
  • The Body

    10
    The body was a perfect episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer because it was shocking, and the way it was filmed gave it a genuine feel. What happened to Buffy was a very real human experience, and as tragic as it was I think it made Buffy even more relatable. I was sad to see what happened, and I'm curious as to what will happen now. This episode was very quiet, just like it would be in real life in this situation. The characters all reacted differently, and it was very touching to see their emotions. This episode definitely stirs some thing in the viewer and I think that every one did an outstanding job on this episode given its subject and material.
  • Must be one of the, if not the, best episodes of the series

    10
    I love love loved this episode, I especially love the flashforwards of how life would have been if Joyce hadn't died. I loved how Buffy told Dawn. I liked how not just Buffy and Dawn were devastated, the whole gang was. I liked how Anya dealt with the situation, funny but she broke down a few times. I actually had to pause the episode in the middle and cry and tell my mom and dad "Promise you'll never leave me. I just realized what life would be like without you two." If there is any one thing I absolutely loved was the cliffhanger ending.
  • Buffy may of been dealt the biggest blow of her life when death hits too close to home. The sudden passing of her mother, Joyce Summers.

    10
    After first watching "The Body", you don't know what to say. You don't know what to do. You don't know how to feel. It's that good. It's that compelling. It's not only an episode like this that makes you glad Joss Whedon is alive in the world and given us this show, but glad there is something this good on TV. For anyone who whines and complains and says that "tv Is Poison!" or TV has nothing but "crap", need to shut their mouths and open their eyes for once. This one single episode alone eclipsed everything else that year on TV. It eclipsed anything in the theaters. In the end, you have to thank Joss Whedon for appreciating his viewers.

    The episode holds no punches. Episodes like this for any other TV show would be pushed over the edge. They would be maudlin, campy, and will make the drama so big that it will literally force you to be sad and cry. Not to mention the "special" music welling up in the back. You are not going to find that here folks. What you will get is the rawest quick punch to the gut episode that has aired on TV. There is no music. Not a single trace. Nothing to tell you that this is the "sad part" and this is the part where you have "to cry". It isn't needed. Watching the episode, you will be doing just fine on your own. But the ep does something else too. It shows that while Buffy is a horror/fantasy type show with great action and humor and romance, it is a show that deals very much with reality. Reality that is just glossied up for more entertainment. The show has never been about monsters and what goes bump in the night. It's about life. It's about growing up. It's about this and that. And "The Body" is an ep that shows the show at it's best. It doesn't need an apocalypse, or sword play, or blood and guts, to be a Buffy show. Far from it. The message is also extremely powerful. Buffy, with her super strength and healing powers, can't save everyone. There are some people she can't save from things she can't possibly fight. Life. It only makes her, and the show, more human. Joss' story, and his writing for this, was as good as it comes. As usual, the most startling episode on TV that year did not get one single Emmy nod, but you can bet that "The Sopranos" and "The West Wing" got their 785th nomination.

    The episode is in four parts like a play. The opening part with Buffy discovering her mother. If you have never dealt with a loss before, you will feel like you have. It is so real, you feel like you are right there. The way Joss filmed it like it was kind of unreal, was a masterful touch. Even more brilliant was the way he showcased Buffy going through this and letting us hear the noises and kids playing outside. Like, how can life still be going on when this horrible thing is happening?. It's utterly priceless. Once again, Joss is a master. The scene with Dawn at school may of been the most emotional. When Buffy goes to tell her, we don't get the big reveal of Buffy saying it. We are in Dawn's classroom, seeing her quietly fall apart outside in the hallway. Stroke of genius. Willow, Xander, and Anya in Willow's dorm room was also perfect. Xander mad, Willow freaking out which shirt to wear to see Joyce(because what would she like?), and Anya's perfect dialogue about how something so stupid like this can happen. More growth and questions from the ex vengeance demon. It ends in the hospital, where Buffy and Tara really connect for the first time. The end with the vampire in the morgue, some thought was silly and out of place for the episode. It wasn't. Why?. Because even tho this horrible tragedy has happened, and it is showing something very, very real, the vampire presented Buffy's fate. Her life. Showing that no matter what, there are still beasties out in the world. Her job. Something she can really fight and end.

    "The Body" was the best episode of any series I have ever seen. Never have I ever witnessed anything so emotionally raw, and never will I probably again. Joss deserved an Emmy for this, as did Sarah. It's a perfect, priceless, pitch perfect piece of art.
  • An absolutely phenomenal episode; positively breathtaking and with some of the greatest television acting I have ever seen.

    10
    The Body is just one of those episode that make you realise how special and unique a show that Buffy is. Some may dismiss it for it's silly name but it's miles ahead of anything to have ever appeared on our screen. What other show could handle this episode? Absolutely none. No other show has this quality of writing and acting. Truly an unmissable episode.

    First of all I have to mention the absolutely unforgettable and beautiful performance Sarah Michelle Gellar gave this episode. Those who doubt her outstanding talent need to see this. She was utterly astounding; I always knew she was brilliant but she gave the performance of her life here. She was completely believable and she just brought this wonderful child like quality to Buffy here as she finds her mother dead. Your heart really breaks for her and she is just head and shoulders above anything I have ever seen here; the most underrated and overlooked actress of this generation.

    However the rest of the main cast are not to be outdone. Michelle Trachtenberg puts in an outstanding performance especially considering she's 15 years old. Her breakdown at the high school was just mindblowing and she's just amazing all the way throughout. Emma Caulfield puts in a fantastic performance also and I will talk about her wonderful speech later. Alyson Hannigan is wonderful also but I know this isn't her outstanding performance of the show- she will amaze me go on to amaze me in "Grave". Nicholas Brendon was shockingly average though. Maybe he was just outshone but I didn't find him remotely good. He just can't handle emotion well in my opinion; he can do comedy brilliantly but emotion isn't his thing.

    The actual plot of the episode is so simple yet so moving. It wasn't amazingly dramatic and shocking; it was beautifully real. The reactions of the main cast were the meat of this episode and it did not disappoint. Everyone's reactions were believable and Anya's infamous speech is truly heartbreaking; it's a huge question that no one knows the answers to and portrayed and written so well.

    The directing of this episode was just amazing. The long shots and the simplicity was just excellent. It made us feel like we are really there in the same room as our cast and this is a remarkable achievement.

    The lack of music was a stroke of inspiration. Music is generally the main thing about a death; it gives you comfort and helps you remember this is just a TV show. Having no music takes that away. You feel totally pulled in and as lost as Buffy. Just a really brilliant thing to do.

    The Body is an emotional, realistic and beautiful journey. No other show could handle this sort of thing and it leaves you devastated. What amazes me is that this episode will be excelled just 6 episodes by "The Gift". It proves the quality of the show and is just unmissable.
  • Very Depressing.

    10
    In this episode we had to cope with the sad tragedy of Joyce's death.

    This episdoe was great.

    It was very good episode.

    Very cleverly written and exciting.

    The acting of the cast was so good you would not feel bad for Joce that much. You would feel bad for them even more.
    I think sarah Michelle Gellar's reaction was great.

    It was a depressing episode from beginning to end.
    Finding Joyce dead.
    Telling Dawn.
    Willow trying to cope.
    Xander punching the wall.
    Anya not knowing what to say or do.
    Dawn goinginto a medical ward seretly to see her dead mother but encounters a vampire instead.
    The funeral.

    All these things were put together in a smart way.

    The no music in te episode idea was fantastic.

    The cast and crew really set the tragedy mood for this episode.

    Also in this episode you start getting a bit of a connection between Tara and Buffy which shows progression of friendship between them.

    Everything in this episode was great.

    A+

    Bravo

    If you have not watched this episode then do so quickly.
  • Season 5, Episode 16.

    9.5
    Buffy returns home to find her mother dead on the couch. She is devastated, and all of her friends must pull themselves together to help Buffy and Dawn through this tragic time.

    I loved this episode. Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting was OUTSTANDING. This episode was very powerful and definitely worthy of a few Emmys. Joyce had an aneurysm! :( I cried when Buffy told Dawn. Plus I liked that Anya was also sensitive to Joyce's death. Buffy has some pretty amazing friends, though. That kid Kevin or whatever his name was in Dawn's class was hot! Definitely one of the best episodes of Buffy ever.
  • "Mom? Mom? Mommy?..." - Buffy

    10
    You can see that I gave this episode the 'Tearjerker' classification but there are so many that this episode applies and I could only choose one. The other classifications I would give this episode are 'Series Classic', 'Exactly Why I Watch This Series', 'A Very Special Episode' and 'Another Great Installment.' All these classifications are perfect descriptions for this episode. The Body is the episode in which Joyce's body is found in the living room, motionless. Buffy goes into shock when she finds her mother dead on the couch, very pale. When she enters the house she has no idea that her mother has died and is in fact, talking to herself. It takes a few seconds for Buffy to realise that her mother has died. After the opening credits we see the Scoobies, along with a living, breathing Joyce, at Christmas having a big Christmas meal. Everything seems perfectly normal in this scene and is quite confusing. Then it all ends and we're back in the present with Joyce dead. Buffy calls an ambulance straight away and begins to panic. The thing that really makes me upset is when Buffy daydreams and she dreams that everything is fine and her mother will live, once it's over it makes me so upset. In this episode Sarah Michelle Gellar shows us acting we have never seen her perform. Sarah makes this even more realistic with her performance. She looks as though it has really happened to her and she really is in shock and that everything around her is real. About the third time I watched this episode I realised that Buffy wasn't really listening to the doctor and that she isn't aware of anything going on around her.

    When she steps outside, because there is no music, we can hear everything that is going on around her. Birds and the neighbours arguing which makes this episode so uncomfortable. Joss Whedon said on the DVD interview that he didn't want any music as music comforts the audience. I agree, music does soften up the viewers but without music it makes you feel uncomfortable.

    When Buffy goes to tell Dawn at school I felt so sorry for Dawn, who has always been so attactched to her mother and now her mother is gone. She has never been so loving with Buffy and she realises she must close the rift between them. However, Dawn has her own problems at school with Kirsty making up lies about her and the boy who called her freaky.

    All of the other Scoobie's lives are affected by Joyce's sudden death. The warm, loveable person they could always look up to is now gone. I think that they must feel alone and that there is nobody to watch over them.

    I think that this is the best written and directed episode of Buffy ever. The writers have put so much thought into that one episode that it is amazing that they were able to do it. All in all I think that this episode is completely unforgettable, perfect in everyway. This is the one episode that has such good emotion and feeling into it that it is completely unmissable. Definitely a ten out of ten!
  • Why is it so hard?

    10
    For the first time it's really hard to talk about my feelings for an episode. It was the purest expression of emotions and feelings I have ever seen. The actors did such a job that all the awards in the world wouldn't be enough to honour it. To be totally honest - I cried from the first second of the episode until the very end. Sarah Michelle Gellar's reaction in the beginning was just beyond words. And did anyone notice that there was NO music at all in the episode? This only made it more fantastic and more tragic of course. Also the scene at the school when Buffy told Dawn what happened was..... The class teacher was just terrified. It was just all so unexpected and sudden. If it was a two-parter about some demons or whatever trying to destroy the world and Joyce would die in an "epic battle" it would not be even half as good as this version and I would be very angry about her death, but now... I'm just sad that's all and hold no grudge on the writers, actress or whatever... All in all - the best character driven, emotional story in all the movies and TV shows I've ever watched.
  • An intensely heart wrenching emotional episode, as Buffy finds her mother dead and everyone has to come to terms with it.

    10
    I cannot watch this episode with out the flood gates opening and anyone who seriously cannot feel the pain and tragedy behind this episode must have a heart of stone.
    Last seen staring transfixed at Joyce lying on the couch in the livingroom and muttering "Mommy!" Buffy is still where we left her, as is Joyce, a bit of a thanksgiving flashback where everyone is happy, then back to Joyce dead, Buffy shakes her frantically breaks a bone, gives mouth to mouth directed by paramedics on the phone, then phones Giles asks him to come, buffy straightens Joyce's skirt so as not to embarrass her, then the paramedics rush in, bring her back and they all have a celebration at the hospital, Buffy has saved the day again, Joyce thanks her for getting there on time and...We are sent straight back to reality, Joyce is actually dead, that tiny bit of hope everyone was given was a Buffy daydream, Buffy does actually have to deal with this, she cannot save the day, or go out and kill the monster, this is her mothers death and she cannot do a thing about it. With no music throughout the whole episode, you get drawn in as if you are actually there watching this, not just watching a tv show.
    The physical aspects portrayed are so real like Buffy's catatonic numbness, vomiting then calmly covering it up watching it soak through the kitchen roll in a robotic state, going back to a helpless child state needing a father figure like Giles, who arrives thinking the problem is Glory to keep in with the seasons theme.
    Dawn is in tears because of some boy at school making you believe she has heard the news already, but there is worse to come when Buffy appears to break the news, normally there would be music for the emotion, but the silence is so emotional in its own way as watched by her classmates out the window, Dawn collapses to the ground sobbing and not a sound is heard.
    While Willow frets that all her tops aren't suitable to comfort a grieving friend and changes over and over, she is comforted by Tara and a fuming Xander who just wants someone to blame even Glory will do, but he settles for Willow's wall, a very confused Anya looks on, in what has to be the best performance from Emma Caulfield, she does not understand why Joyce died, everything she says is just wrong because she needs it explaining to her because she doesnt know what to do, its so emotional and a really lovely performance, it gets me every time "I wish that Joyce didn't die, because she was nice and now we all hurt".
    Tara relives her own mothers death as she tries to comfort Buffy, leaving Dawn time to wander off.
    Of course to keep in with the theme that Buffy is a vampire slayer, one appears in the morgue as Dawn is visiting Joyce, even this has no music, but it shows things still haven't changed that much,Buffy has to save Dawn and kill the vampire, in the fight Joyce's sheet is pulled down and Dawn and Buffy are faced with a lifeless Joyce "she's gone" Buffy says "where did she go" asks Dawn.
    Points have to go to Kristine Sutherland as Joyce she is so still she is like a waxwork dummy, and Sarah Michelle Gellar looks ill almost anorexic,with dry lips and pasty complexion,and dark circles under the eyes, she gives a frantic, childlike performance to begin with then goes more numb, wide eyed and tragic, slow subtle movements and facial expressions keep you transfixed and the pain is so real its heartbreaking to watch.
    An amazing episode.
  • A sombre episode that explores the grief of not only the Summers girls, but the entire scooby gang, after Joyce's sudden death.

    9.9
    Quite simply, a beautifully written, shot and acted episode where not a single hole could be picked in any aspect. A particularly gorgeous performance by Emma Caulfield, though the entire cast has their own shining moments throughout. I started crying at the beginning and did not stop until some minutes after I finished watching the episode. Whedon's directorial choices, such as the complete lack of music in the episode, leant it a silence and stillness that made it rivetting to watch and achingly powerful in it's delivery of the plot. A must see episode for any fan of Joss Whedon's work.
  • It's mortal and stupid...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.

    9.6
    I don't think any other episode I've seen so far can beat the beginning scene. Buffy's reaction was gut wrenching and very realistic; showing us that real life can be a lot scarier and shocking than the supernatural world of vampires, trolls, and demons. Michelle Trachtenberg's scenes at school were just as excellent: dealing with the rumors of her cutting, the opinion of a boy she likes, and finally, in the middle of an art class; the climatic scene Buffy takes her outside in the hallway where she breaks down and a stunned classroom and teacher stare outside in silence. Truly their best work.

    I didn't give this episode a 10 because I was kind off turned off by the reactions of some of the members of the Scooby gang, specifically Xander and Willow. Xander's acting seem a little over the top (he punches a wall), while Willow's goo goo cutesy talk and rudeness to Anya is a little patronizing, though you can argue she's more overcome with grief and doesn't know how to react to Anya's quirkcs. Still, for what it's worth, Anya's reactions seemed a lot more sincere and heart felt (acting-wise); Emma Caulfield did a tremendous job here.

    Giles and Tara were the most supportive to Buffy; with Giles acting as the parental adult figure in comforting her and helping her take care of the paperwork; and Tara connecting with Buffy in a scene where she finally opens up to Buffy and tells her about the pain of losing her mother. I really will miss Joyce's character. I loved her from the day she told Buffy "try not to get kicked out" of Sunnydale the first day she dropped her off at school, to the wonderful chemistry she had with Giles, her supportiveness of her daughter's destiny as a slayer, the motherly role she played to both her daughter's friends the caring aura that attracted even villains to share their cares and love of soap operas with her (you know who I'm talking about).

    And now, after seeing her body in the morgue, we don't know where she went...but she's gone.

    P.S. As stupid as I thought Xander's punching a wall feat was, I feel it might have been a connection to Buffy's dream in Restless (season 4 finale), where Joyce is inside a wall with a hole.
  • This episode is truly an amazing way of showing how the grief of losing someone close to you is handled.

    9.7
    "The Body" is the most tearjerking piece of television I have EVER seen, Joss knew exactly how to present this masterpiece.

    The acting in this episode was superb from every single member of the cast, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar, when she finds her mother her reactions are played out so intensely the viewer really knows what she's going through. The way absolutely no music is played throughout the whole episode really gives it that morbid, depressed feel which fitted perfectly for the departure of the much loved character Joyce.

    When Buffy is trying to save her lifeless mother and her eyes open, they're in ambulance together and Joyce tells Buffy she got there just in time, and then suddenly shoots back to Buffy standing over her cold body, it really showed in a harsh way that this is really happening, she's not coming back, and no matter what, Buffy can't save the day like she always does.

    I especially loved the part where Anya breaks down as she's new to being human and doesn't understand why Joyce isn't going to wake up and be alive again.

    Overall I think this is one of the most well done pieces of television ever shot and applaude the cast and creators of the episode, well done.
  • Where Did She Go?

    10
    The Body-Buffy is devastated when she arrives home and finds her mother dead. The rest of the gang try their best to pull themselves out of their own grief so that they can help Buffy and Dawn to deal with the worst day of their lives.

    "How?" is my question after watching this almost unwatchable hour of television. Don't get me wrong, "The Body" is hard to watch not because it's unbelieveably bad, it's because it's so incredibly surreal, it's almost as if your watching a documentary instead of a fictional TV show. Joss Whedon, once again, crafts an episode that goes beyond the limits of network television and creates a work of art. Now I've lost grandparents, but I was too young to remember what happened, so I have never truly experienced death first hand and after watching this episode, I don't think I ever want to. Just the first act alone is hard to swallow as Buffy frantically struggles to hold on to reality as she realizes her mom is dead. Sarah Michelle Gellar has never been so captivating on screen and this was, without a doubt, the best performance of her career.

    The rest of the cast are also remarkable, notably Alyson Hannigan, Michelle Tratchtenberg and Emma Caufield. Each of their reactions shows a unique form of grief when you find out a loved one dies. Willow and Tara's scene is heartbreaking as Willow just can't seem to find something to where and nearly falls apart if it wasn't for Tara keeping her strong. Anya is completely unaware of how to handle to situation and gives a powerful speech about her not understanding death period. Then, there's Buffy telling Dawn the news and her breaking down, then falling to the ground in complete denial. Of course, Xander's natural reaction is anger and putting the blame where it belongs. Lastly, Giles just tries to be supportive throughout and the strong father figure his always been.

    Another stunning scene is Tara revealing that she lost her mother at 17 as her and Buffy finally connect on a subject. Even though Tara is still relatively new to the gang, her presence is definately getting stronger with each episode, especially this one. The episode ends on though-provoking note as after Buffy is forced to stop a vampire in a horrifying struggle, Dawn finally sees her mother's lifeless body and delievers probably the most universal question about death:

    Dawn: "Where Did She Go?"

    From the haunting absense of music througout to the bizarre yet surreal cut aways to alternate senarios in Buffy's to so many other moments to painful to remember, "The Body" is both disturbingly real and profoundly morbid, both that is all to be expected when dealing with death. "Hush" may have been sci-fi perfection and nominated for an Emmy, but "The Body" is an episode that made you forget this was a supernatural series and gives you drama that most non-fantasy series can't touch. If any episode of Buffy truly deserved that award, actually mutiple awards, it's this one! How on earth those hacks didn't recognize how exceptional Joss Whedon's writing skills are as well as his direction, not to mention how Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alyson Hannigan have immense acting talents should be a crime!
  • One of the best from the series. Perfect.

    10
    This review will have spoilers for Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 5. If you plan on watching, or are currently watching Buffy I suggest you not to read the following review:

    This episode was really emotional. I knew before hand that Joyce was going to pass away, but I was still heart stricken when I watched this episode. Everybody was torn apart and didn't know what to do. Buffy saying "Mommy" was touching and sad at the same time. Buffy didn't know what to do and trying to explain it to Dawn was horrible. How do you break the news that your mother is dead? It was hard to watch. I really felt like I was going to cry more than once. Willow trying to figure out what to wear to the hospital and trying not to offend Buffy was sweet. We finally got a Willow and Tara kiss(that's basically the ONLY plus to this episode). Anya finally spilling her feelings about being human and not understanding death. That is EXACTLY how I feel and Emma did a superb job acting that out. That scene really touched me. The Buffy/Tara moment in the hospital when it was supposed to be awkward, they bonded. I just love Tara. Amber Benson is a great actress. Dawn going into the morgue was horrible and Buffy going after her and then, them both having to see their dead mom. Very hard to watch. This episode was one the best I've seen so far. I'm glad they dealt with death and how everybody would react. It was really sad but it got not only the viewer thinking, but the characters too.

    Rating = A+
  • Gut-wrenching!!

    10
    This is my absolute favorite episode, hands down! The raw emotions stayed with me for many days after I watched for the first time. I cry every time I watch it! As a fact, I started crying while reading some of the other reviews!! Watching how each person dealt with the loss of Joyce was so true to life. The lack of music through out the entire episode made it all the more dramatic. By following each person as they dealt with their grief, it allowed for the audience to connect emotionally with them.

    You feel Buffy's pain when she discovers Joyce's body. You feel her confusion and terror over not knowing what to do.

    You feel Dawn's pain as Buffy tells her that their mom is dead and she breaks down while her classmates watch the scene unfold from the classroom.

    You feel Willow's pain as she tries to find something appropriate to wear. Tara really tries her best to comfort Willow and to help her through this.

    You feel Xander's pain and anger as he tries to process his grief. You feel his helplessness over the fact that there is no demon or vampire to kill and to put the blame on.

    But for me, the one scene that gets me every single time, is when Anya cries. Anya is, normally, a no holds-barred person. She's a former demon that only recently became human. She absolutely has no clue how humans deal with the loss of a loved one - what they do or what they say. When she says, "I mean, I knew her and now there's just this body. And I don't know why she can't just get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid. And Xander's crying and not talking; and I was having fruit punch. And I thought well, Joyce will never have fruit punch again. Or eggs. And she'll never yawn or brush her hair, not ever! And no one will explain to me why!" you can't help but feel her pain and sorrow as Anya tries to understand. There were only a couple of light-hearted momenst. The first one is when Willow offers to 'fight' Xander. Then, Xander decides to blames the wall for Joyce's death. The other one is when Xander, Anya and Willow come back with armfuls of junk food from the vending machines and Willow says, "We panicked!"

    This episode shows us just how individual and personal grief really is, which is why this is so outstanding!!
  • Gut-wrenching!!

    10
    This is my absolute favorite episode, hands down! The raw emotions stayed with me for many days after I watched for the first time. I cry every time I watch it! As a fact, I started crying while reading some of the other reviews!! Watching how each person dealt with the loss of Joyce was so true to life. The lack of music through out the entire episode made it all the more dramatic. By following each person as they dealt with their grief, it allowed for the audience to connect emotionally with them.

    You feel Buffy's pain when she discovers Joyce's body. You feel her confusion and terror over not knowing what to do.

    You feel Dawn's pain as Buffy tells her that their mom is dead and she breaks down while her classmates watch the scene unfold from the classroom.

    You feel Willow's pain as she tries to find something appropriate to wear. Tara really tries her best to comfort Willow and to help her through this.

    You feel Xander's pain and anger as he tries to process his grief. You feel his helplessness over the fact that there is no demon or vampire to kill and to put the blame on.

    But for me, the one scene that gets me every single time, is when Anya cries. Anya is, normally, a no holds-barred person. She's a former demon that only recently became human. She absolutely has no clue how humans deal with the loss of a loved one - what they do or what they say. When she says, "I mean, I knew her and now there's just this body. And I don't know why she can't just get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid. And Xander's crying and not talking; and I was having fruit punch. And I thought well, Joyce will never have fruit punch again. Or eggs. And she'll never yawn or brush her hair, not ever! And no one will explain to me why!" you can't help but feel her pain and sorrow as Anya tries to understand. There were only a couple of light-hearted momenst. The first one is when Willow offers to 'fight' Xander. Then, Xander decides to blames the wall for Joyce's death. The other one is when Xander, Anya and Willow come back with armfuls of junk food from the vending machines and Willow says, "We panicked!"

    This episode shows us just how individual and personal grief really is, which is why this is so outstanding!!
  • In my opinion, it's the best dealing with death in film or TV.

    9.8
    Devastating. This show--it's hard to talk about. I am grateful to Joss for shooting it. This is challenging, inspiring television making. This episode is miserable to watch and yet I rewatch it. It's the most honest and comforting take on death I've ever seen and a version that is never told. It's comforting b/c it doesn't lie, it doesn't sugarcoat anything. So it almost acts like a support group. This episode is very special to me as a humanist who does not believe in dismissing death as a passage to something better and the result of a great plan. On a technical level, this episode is an achievement as well. One of the best pieces of television produced in all honesty. People dismiss it because it has 'vampire slayer' in the title however and that's their problem.
  • One of the most moving episodes from the whole series.

    9.9
    I was really hesitant about watching this episode. I saw all the previous reviews first and didn't want them to sway my opinion. After watching this episode I thought it was done in a way to let you become involved in Buffy's life. The scenes were really moving and I felt some of the scenes were very little was said were the most moving. If you view this episode as part of a whole, understanding the complex relationships of the characters involved, you begin to understand how well the writers/actors have worked together on this show. I think this was a necessary event in the progression of the story line and development of the characters on Buffy.
  • Goodbye, Joyce.

    10
    Given the depressing nature and the lack of action, this episode could have been boring had it been handled differently. However, it captures the pain and suddenness of death in a way that I've never seen on film, and its possibly the best episode of television I have ever seen. Its strange that a show about the supernatural could convey death so realistically, but I will truly never forget this episode. I really cannot do this episode justice in words, so I will merely give the details I appreciated the most. --Anya's monologue in Willow's dorm room: her lack of understanding death was so moving, and it communicated articulately all the thoughts one has when someone dies. --The silence: it gave an eerie quality that drew focus to the scenes at hand. --Joyce's death as natural: Buffy always deals with death, but we are reminded that death happens even without vampires. There's noone to blame, and it makes it harder to accept Joyce's death. --Buffy's perspective: we see Buffy going through everything mechanically while the rest of the world continues about its normal business; it shows how odd it is that a life-shattering event only affects those close to it. Overall, all the details combine to make a heart-wrenchingly beautiful episode about Joyce's death.
  • "I wish that Joyce didn’t die because she was nice and now we all hurt" - Anya

    9.5
    This is the second of three of Joss Whedon’s experimental episodes, but whilst Hush and Once More With Feeling are highly stylised (Bros. Grimm and B. Berkeley respectively), The Body is of the realist genre, the purpose being to bring us closer to the subject matter. The fourth wall is removed as we see the gang acting like real people rather than witty TV characters, and hear the silence not usually allowed on TV. Buffy TVS has always been about death but not in this way. There’s no exploding corpses, no murder weapons, no soaring music or comforting words, just a repeat of the last few seconds that Buffy believes her mother to be alive before we go into the credits. The happy family Christmas scene, in which we discover that Santa Claus is real (but not benevolent), juxtaposes nicely with the bleak reality back on the sofa, the bridge being disaster - Buffy sees an analogy between the burned and dropped pie and her mother. Back in the now Buffy tries to resuscitate her mother and she cracks her rib, the slayer super strength is a hindrance; indeed, Buffy can fight all manner of demons and vampires but she can’t fight disease and decay. She has coped with the death of her friends, her boyfriend and many others, but nothing like this, not a natural death, not her mother who’s always been there. The series-long theme of Buffy being forced to grow up continues. Joss plays on Joyce’s death by natural causes by making the episodes naturalistic: the silences, the awkward conversations where no-one says the right thing, the long scenes, the arthouse-y focus on inanimate objects, the tracking shots of one person, the concentration on corporeal functions. At the same time Buffy has no sense of this being real, she tries to stop Giles going into the living room – if he sees the corpse, it makes it true. Her distorted reality is shown by her viewpoint with the paramedic half out of shot and her fantasies that she could have saved her mother or hearing different words than the doctor is saying. She can’t focus. Buffy is used to having power, saving people, saving the world: having no power to stop something hits her very hard. The death is portrayed as inevitable; the paramedics couldn’t have saved Joyce, if Buffy had been at home rather than watching April the robot die, she still couldn’t have averted it, she would just have watched her mother die instead. As with everything in Buffy TVS this is analogous to what people feel about death and their inability to prevent it.

    The gang are going through the various stages associated with accepting the death of a loved one. Xander is angry, looking for someone to blame, stating that “things don’t just happen” – we know that they do, this is a meaningless death, nothing to do with Glory or a vampire. Willow is trying so hard to stay in control that she is losing control and focusing on irrelevancies: what to say, what to do, what to wear. She’s trying so hard that the smallest things become impossible. Tara is the only one who’s strong and supportive and the couple share their first kiss, beautifully timed and all about love; not sex. Tara’s “Amazon” strength is shown again later when she is the only one who can empathise with Buffy as she too lost her mother. Just as Buffy’s strength became weakness when trying to CPR her mother, Tara’s weakness – being outside the gang -becomes her strength as Buffy doesn’t feel she has to be strong for her. Tara can understand without presuming to know what Buffy is feeling: “It’s different for you; because it’s always different”. That said, death is the only thing that unites us and that’s why this ep is so powerful, we can all relate to the death of a loved one, or the fear of the death of a loved one. Conversely, none of us likes to think about it and so even though we know death is going to happen, it’s still horrific when it does. Life is spent in denial of death, even for Buffy who has spent so much time around it. Tara says: “It’s always sudden”: however old someone is, death always comes too soon.

    Anya, the ex-immortal doesn’t understand. The most moving scene in the whole 45 minutes is when Anya is struggling to comprehend what’s going on. She’s wreaked death and destruction on men for hundreds of years, and seen quite a lot since she became human, but this is entirely different. Everyone else is fighting to be in control, but she isn’t. We think she’s being her usual brusque self when she asks questions as to what will happen to the body, and about morgue etiquette, but she seriously doesn’t know what she should be doing; she even tries to take cues from Willow (“should I be changing my clothes?”). She asks because she’s new to humanity, but we all want to know what to do when someone dies, how to act, what to say. She also vocalises all of our lack of comprehension of death, she can vocalise what we have learned to hide when we grow up:

    “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 Xander's crying and not talking, 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.”

    Joyce’s body has stopped working and this is emphasised by the rough treatment of her corpse, she is now just a body, Buffy’s assertion, after the ambulance men have (illegally) left Joyce in the living room, that no-one is “supposed to move the body” makes her realise that this is what Joyce has become. The end of Joyce’s existence is further emphasised by the bodily functions of the other characters – Buffy’s vomit seeping into the kitchen towel, the hot sweat on her brow, Xander’s bloody hand (making Anya again fear his mortality) – all things alive people can do and dead people can’t.

    Anya asks why this has happened - a space usually filled with religion, but atheist Joss is not going to go that way. The Sunnydalers know that there is life after death but this episode does not address this, only the absurdity and unfairness of now you’re here, now you’re not life ‘n’ death. Human mortality is even more unjust since they know of the existence of Gods and monsters who, if not immortal, have lived an awful long time. And life goes on. When Buffy opens the back door into the too-light world of Other People she can hear children and music playing. Xander is still ticketed for double parking; the warden is not part of their drama. Space and silence are the key themes in the episode; the writers have used Science and English school lessons as a shortcut to their meaning before, but this is the first time they’ve used Art. The teacher advises Dawn and her classmates to focus on the space around the object – Joss does the same as he uses silence, the negative space, around the dialogue: we see Xander and Anya wordless in the car, and Willow’s quiet obsessing over her blue jumper. Dawn’s bad day turned good – when the cute boy admires and understands her point of view and criticises this year’s Cordelia turns very very bad, and again we have the silence as Dawn breaks down, we don’t hear her, instead we see the students’ and teacher’s sympathy and Dawn’s unfinished picture of a body. Take away life and you only have a body - you have a space where the person was. When Dawn, not prepared to admit the truth until she’s seen the body, asks “Where did she go?”, we only get silence. Dawn is asking where a person’s personality goes when their body dies, rather than asking if Joyce has gone to heaven or hell, but again Joss doesn’t give us any answers, only a space for us to fill with whatever we believe. The vampire that Buffy grapples with (her instinct for a) trouble and b) protecting Dawn) piercing her numbness) is more alive, veins filled with more blood, than her mother. It’s a cliché – the naked vamp rising from the hospital bed and silently approaching Dawn – but a shock as the viewer forgets they are watching a vampire show. The fight is brutal, lacking the fancy kung-fu action we’re used to from the vampire population of Sunnydale, and also shows Buffy dealing with death the way she knows how; she is the bright red light in the blue-tinted morgue.
  • When Buffy comes home from her encounter and battle with the April-bot, she finds a horror waiting for her at home. And this time, there's no one to fight. Alert: Kleenex is highly recommended.

    10
    A perfect episode of Buffy and one of the finest hours on American T.V. - ever. Buffy and the gang have to deal with the loss of Buffy's mother and each tries to deal in their own way. Lots of crying results...not just the characters but the audience!

    It's easiest to break the episode up into small pieces, starting with Buffy's frantic attempts to revive Joyce while waiting for an ambulance to arrive and the minutes after finding out there isn't anything to do. This is easily the most tense scene of the episode as we are kinda expecting that Joyce will be revived. We're even shown that she does in fact get saved by the arrived ambulance crew, just in time. Of course, the filming of it is so weirdly disjointed that you're trying to figure out exactly what Joss was thinking, when we flash back to 'reality' only to realize that it was Buffy's daydream/hoping/wishing. Joyce's mobile heart monitor is flat-line and the paramedic confirms our fears, she really is gone.

    The next scenes are some of the most painful to me personally when I watch this. Buffy's stunned wandering around her house followed by her vomiting on the carpet. Her subsequent scene as Giles arrives breaks my heart (and we're barely into the episode!)

    Giles has seen Joyce lying on the living room floor and rushes to her aid while Buffy is rushing down the hallway from the back door. The ambulance driver, before leaving, has told her it would be best to leave the body alone until the M.E. can arrive. As she spots Giles trying to help Joyce and ignoring her still-in-shock, "No, no, it's too late" she suddenly screams, "We're not supposed to move the body!"

    The moment after she realizes what she's said and the horror on her face is just amazingly painful and really, SMG just nailed this scene.

    From there, it's just pain on pain as Dawn is told at school and goes from flirting with a classmate to being utterly devastated and trying to shout at Buffy that she is lying before collapsing to the floor in tears.

    Willow also makes me cry as she is trying to find an appropriate outfit to wear to the morgue, where the gang is to meet Buffy and Giles. Tara is trying to help her stay together, but doesn't really know what to say. And poor Willow has a breakdown about a totally unimportant detail as she can't cope with what to do. As Tara tells her that purple means royalty, Willow responds crying and aghast, "Well I can't go to the morgue and be all royal! Oh, I'm better than you! I have to be supportive... Buffy needs me to be supportive!" Aly always nails any scene in which Willow has to cry and this is no exception.

    Xander and Anya arrive to pick up the witches with Xander just being angry. He needs to have someone to blame for this. You can tell that with his family, Joyce probably was a surrogate mother in his heart and he wants someone to pay for her death. First suggesting it was Glory until Willow points out that if it was, she'd be gloating over it. So next he turns his anger on the doctors for not taking better care of her. He's almost speechless in his anger until Willow brings him back down to earth by offering to go fist to fist with him. It's a touching scene and when Xan leans over and kisses her forehead and says "you know I can't take you" you can feel their years of friendship... of family.

    Anya is the biggest surprise and really was a shock when I found myself crying with her as well. She's spent the past several minutes butting in with inappropriate and painful questions like "Are we going to be in the room with the body?" It seems at first, the way its set up, that Anya is just being her usual, "I don't get human behavior" self. But when she asks if they're going to cut open the body and Willow screams at her to shut up, we get the truth. Anya is hurting too and she's confused and doesn't know what she's supposed to do or how to react. As she says, "I mean, I knew her and now there's just this body. And I don't know why she can't just get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid. And Xander's crying and not talking; and I was having fruit punch. And I thought well, Joyce will never have fruit punch again. Or eggs. And she'll never yawn or brush her hair, not ever! And no one will explain to me why!" How can you not ball when you realize how lost and alone Anya is feeling here?

    After Xander decides the wall is to blame and punches it, breaking up the morose tension in the room, the Scoobies pull it together. They still have to get to the hospital and support Buffy and Dawnie.

    The ending of the episode is filled with hugging (even Xander and Giles) and its confirmed for us that Joyce's death was by natural causes. Nothing mystical and no demon attack (or hell-god). But Dawn is still angry and sullen, not wanting to believe it's real until she can see the body for herself.

    She sneaks off to the actual morgue and while trying to work up the courage to pull the sheet from Joyce's face, is attacked. We're still in Sunnydale and the evil forces don't stop just because the gang is reeling from their collective loss. While this is occurring we get a nice low key scene between Tara and Buffy... uncomfortable because they still don't know each other so well. Tara reveals that her mother died too, a few years before and offers to give someone for Buffy to talk to. I really like Buffy's asking if Tara's mother's death was sudden. At first Tara says no, but a heartbeat later, she adds, "And, yes. It's always sudden." When Buffy notices Dawn has been in the bathroom too long, she goes to find her.

    Breaking into the locked morgue (Dawn locked the door) she fights off the vampire in a pretty brutal fight. He's naked and really does look particularly corpse-like, not at all like the usual undead we see. During the fight, Dawn is knocked into the table and to the floor. The table holds Joyce's corpse and the sheet leaves her face leaving a scared Dawn to look up at her. As Buffy beheads the vamp, Dawn is standing and staring at her mother and reaches out to touch Joyce. During the entire episode, Joyce's eyes have remained open and staring and its particularly unnerving here. Just before Dawn can lay her fingertips on Joyce's lifeless cheek, we cut to credits.

    This is a directorial masterpiece. Joss chose to eschew any sort of background music (or any at all...no radios, even in Xander's car) cheating the audience out of any sort of comfort zone. In addition, we only see the outside world from the confines of rooms and Xander's car. Our characters gaze out at the world, but are never seen outside giving everything a claustrophobic feeling and giving us no where to escape to.

    Even for people who don't like Buffy this should be recognized as a phenomenal hour of television. For those of us emotionally connected to these characters, it's a killer.
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