Guest Starring: 
 Danny Strong: 
 Adam Busch : 
 Tom Lenk: 
 Dean Butler: 
 (Hank Summers) 
 Kristine Sutherland: 
 (Joyce Summers) 
 Michael Warren: 
 Kirsten Nelson: 
 (Lorraine Ross) 
 Sarah Scivier: 
 Rodney Charles: 
  17. Normal Again.  
  Buffy is injected with a mystical poison that makes her think she is in a mental asylum imagining her superhero powers. Or is she...  
  Great quotes:  
Buffy the mental patient.
  • Warren: "... Freakazoid!"
  • Buffy: "Some kind of waxy demon poked me." Xander: "When you say 'poked'..." Buffy: "In the arm!"
  • Xander: "What, you think all this isn't real just because of all the vampires and demons and ex-vengeance demon and the sister that was a big ball of universe-destroying energy?" The man makes a good point...
  • Buffy: "What's more real; a sick girl in an institution, or some kind of super girl chosen to fight demons and save the world? That's ridiculous."
  Fantastic moments:  
  • Finding yourself in asylum with people telling you everything you know is in your mind; now that's a scary proposition. The direction and frantic acting from Gellar give each asylum scene a truly frightening edge. This is as scary as BtVS has been since 'Hush'.
  • The final 5 minutes of the episode is pure class. Buffy is all ready to throw in her slayerness and escape into her mind / 'normal life' in order to be with her parents again. All season long Buffy has yearned for the chance to escape her responsibilities; this is her big chance. Joyce tells her that she needs to fight the delusions, but which ones? Finally she makes the decision, thanks and says goodbye to her mother before escaping back into 'reality'. The very last scene then has a shows a catatonic Buffy in the mental asylum, her doctor tells Joyce and Hank that she's gone. A chilling and brilliantly post-modern twist, surely the entire series isn't actually happening inside the mind of a delusional girl? See below.
  Duff Bits:  
  • The sudden requirement for Buffy to kill all her friends feels like it was crow-bared into the plot by over-imaginative fan-fiction writers. 'Wouldn't it be cool to see what happened if Buffy attacked the Scoobies...?'
  • So there's a website dedicated to demons? That's just lame; look it up in a musty old book or don't bother.
  • Dawn takes Buffy's uncertainty over what is 'real' as a personal slur against her.
  • Dawn's teen foibles are really starting to annoy me now.
  Dean's comments:  
Joyce and Hank comfort Buffy in the asylum.
Conceptually brilliant and deviously post-modern, 'Normal Again' is an episode that slaps the audience about and challenges them to wonder what is 'reality' in the world of BtVS. The episode says 'Hey kids; Buffy might not be real!' Well, duh! It's a fictional television program; of course it's not real! Ultimately does it really matter where the series exists, be it in the ether between the DVD and your TV or in Buffy's mind? 'Normal Again' attempts to undermine the entire premise of the series by pointing out all the flaws and idiocies of the science fiction genre. The doctor in the asylum points out inconsistencies in Dawn's introduction and how lame the baddies this season are. Anyone would have thought someone was making it up as they went along. Well someone is; he's called Joss Whedon. The film has a lot in common with Jostein Garder's brilliant novel 'Sophie's World', a book that internally challenges its own validity by creating characters that 'aren't real'. In addition to the philosophy, the episode fits nicely in with Buffy's angst about life and forms a welcome interlude in the on-going soap that is Anya / Xander and Willow / Tara's lives. Spike tells Buffy that she's addicted to misery, she refuses to drink the cure that will stop the asylum nightmares and decides that she'll probably be better off inside the asylum than at home. So I suppose the big question is; given the final scene, is BtVS real or in Buffy's head? Except that it isn't a big question! It doesn't matter! It's all fiction anyway! Argh!
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