Guest Starring: 
 Lisa Hoyle: 
  3. Afterlife.  
  A demon that 'piggy-backed' into Sunnydale with Buffy terrorises the Scoobies.  
  Great quotes:  
  • Anya: "Jet lag from hell's gotta be, you know, jet lag from hell."
  • Willow: "What in the frilly heck is going on?!"
  • Willow tries to convince the Scoobies that Buffy is OK: "She's fine, normal; she used to go to bed all the time."
  • Anya to Buffy: "You're not a zombie are you?" and then "Maybe you are going crazy, from hell? No, you're fine."
  • Buffy: "Where ever I was, I was happy. Time didn't mean anything, nothing had form, but I was still me. I was warm, I was loved and I was finished; complete. I don't understand theology or dimensions, but I think I
    "I think I was in heaven..."
    was in heaven, and now I'm not. I was torn out of there, pulled out by my friends. Everything here is hard, and bright, and violent; everything I feel, everything I touch, this is hell. Just getting through the next moment and the one after that, knowing what I've lost. They [Buffy's friends] can never know, never."
  Fantastic moments:  
  • Buffy's revelation to Spike about where she really went after she died is a brilliant twist in the plot. I don't think many people will have seen that one coming.
  • Just look at the way Spike reacts to Buffy being back, he merely reacts with numbed disbelief and joy; contrast that to the reaction of the other Scoobies, who bombard her with questions. He is also the only one who understands that she had to dig out of her own grave, and knows exactly how many days she's been dead.
  • The ghostly apparition of Buffy, which appears in Willow and Tara's room, is the best scene in the episode and has a wonderful Donnie Darko-esque feel about it. She shouts at the two wiccas, calling them "... filthy bitches..." and asking Willow "Did you cut the throat? Did you pat its head?" in reference to the young deer she killed in order to raise Buffy.
  Duff Bits:  
  • The 'piggy-back' demon is full of gigantic logical holes. If 'one [Buffy or the demon] cannot survive without the other' - i.e. the fates of it and Buffy are intertwined - then why should they be able to kill each other? Cough... Plot contrivance... Cough!
  • What on earth does Willow think she's wearing towards the end of the episode? Her jumper looks like it was made out of a red carpet.
  • James Master's accent lags a tiny bit at the start when Spike reacts to Buffy being back.
  • Dawn seems to take Buffy's return from the grave rather blithely; your dead sister is alive again, smile or something!
  Dean's comments:  
A 'piggy-back' demon, or something.
There are only really two good things about this episode, the revelation that Buffy was in heaven and the realisation (again) that Sarah Michelle Gellar is actually a really good actress. Gellar gets to play several distinctive roles, just-out-of-the-grave Buffy, scary ghost Buffy and reconciliatory 'get on with my life' Buffy. The subplot (or is that the main plot) about the piggyback demon stinks of the writers thinking "Shit this is meant to be a Sci-Fi show isn't it? Well we best stick some crappy demon-of-the-week up on screen then to keep the punters happy." They do, however, use the opportunity to lay on some entertaining special effects. Not least of these are the images of Dawn and Anya being 'possessed', both in straight out homage to 'The Evil Dead'. Anyone who thought that the new atmosphere of melancholy about Buffy and the series - which is what we saw in the opening two episodes - was a flash in the pan is in for a shock with 'Afterlife'. The almost disorientated nature of the narrative in the episode is reflective of Buffy's and the Scoobies' states of mind, but even this metaphor cannot wholly save it from being far too depressing and fractured for its own good. It does improve with multiple viewing though; knowledge of what is to come in the rest of the season shines new light on events here.
Home, previous review, next review.