airdate: 2 Oct 2001.
At this point the show had moved to UPN which played in my town late at night on some other channel (I didn't actually have UPN, is what I mean). I hadn't been able to watch Buffy since the end of season 3, and this was before Hulu, of course, so I had missed a LOT. I don't even know if they had the DVDs out yet for seasons 4 and 5, but I started watching again during season six. I think I might've known before I started watching that Buffy was dead, but I can't remember. Anyway, I had just graduated high school and I would have seen these two episodes the day before my 19th birthday. I'm just two years younger than Buffy. As she resurrects, she's 20 as I was still (barely) 18. I do kind of feel like I grew up with Buffy. This particular season I was at the tail end of a really terrible, abusive relationship and I identified with what was going on a LOT. I even nicknamed my asshole boyfriend Spike in my LiveJournal blog, if that tells you anything, and it SHOULD. Anyway, I cried a lot watching the darkest season of Buffy ever then, and I will again. Here we go.
Episode begins with a typical vamp chase through the cemetery. Tara, Spike, and Giles. Willow starts talking to them in their minds. Buffy puns. Together they eventually kill the vamp, but it takes all of them to do it. There's another, Buffy gets this one. "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!" It's the bot, of course. They're trying to maintain that the Slayer is still alive, so the beasties are scared and stuff. But like, what about her tombstone? I guess maybe if the beasties don't know her name. Tara and Willow are living with Dawn and the Buffybot is making sandwiches. Apparently, dad doesn't know Buffy is dead. They're not revealing it even to Dawn's school, so that way Dawn doesn't get taken away by Social Services. Again, wouldn't her obit have been in the paper? And then there's her gravestone in the Sunnydale cemetery? Ok, I'll suspend belief. Buffybot has to go to the school for a PTA thing or orientation or something. Everyone is worried about her performance at the school function, but who's going to suspect she's a robot? They'd just think she's weird.
Giles is preparing to leave Sunnydale and is leaving the store to Anya. Anya is stressed because Giles keeps "almost" going, then he doesn't and she keeps "almost" being in charged, but then she's not and "maybe he shouldn't even be going anyway, but we're not supposed to talk about that"...Xander comforts her. Apparently they haven't revealed their engagement yet because everything is up in the air, so Anya is stressed about that, too.
Spike is babysitting Dawn while Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara have a meeting. Dawn tries to tell him he can leave, but he says he won't leave her to get hurt...not again. Buffybot gets into a scurmish with a vamp and he breaks a bottle over her head and runs away after seeing her short out and spark. So a vamp saw that she was a robot and now she's malfunctioning. Willow says it's "time". They "have everything". Xander lays it out: they're going to bring Buffy back. Xander is nervous, says it feels wrong. Tara agrees, but they decided. Anya suggests telling Giles, but Willow says no. Spike and Dawn aren't in the loop, either. Because Buffy was killed by mystical forces, she can be brought back, unlike Joyce who died of natural causes. Willow is worried she's in a hell dimension. Buffybot is at home when Willow gets back. She has a homing device to get back to Willow when she's injured. Willow plugs her into a computer to fix her. Buffybot apparently is plugged in to recharge at night in Buffy's old bed. Creepy. Dawn goes in at night to cuddle with her. Buffybot trains with Giles. Buffybot occasionally says something sexy to Spike, but Spike gets upset when she does. Willow has tried to get all that out of her software. Buffybot comforts Giles when he laments his role in getting her killed.
The vamp that witnessed Buffy as a bot is telling the story to a biker gang of demons. He's wearing a Hanson t shirt, by the way. Their ears perk up, they kill the vamp, and decide to invade Sunnydale.
Willow is doing a spell in the forest. She's all in white. "Come forward, Blessed One. Know your calling." A deer walks up. So cute. Willow kills it. She's upset. She doesn't tell anyone what she had to do. After she comes back from the killing, she's wearing red and a bloodstone-looking necklace that is exactly like the one she was wearing when she killed the deer, only then it was a milky-moonstone-like necklace. Clothing symbolism...love it.
Giles has left a note. He's left. They go to him at the airport to say goodbye. They all brought him cheesy gifts from the gas station on the way over. Everyone hugs him. It's super sad, especially because they're resurrecting Buffy tonight, so he really shouldn't leave right now.
Later they're at the cemetery lighting black candles. Willow has to put the deer-blood on her forehead. The spell gets scary and Xander is worried. Tara tells him Willow told her she would be "tested". They can't break the circle. The bike gang arrives. They loot and destroy. A snake crawls out of Willow's mouth. The Buffybot confronts the biker gang. They slash her open. She has to go back to Willow, you know, 'cause she's injured. They fight. She gets away and they chase her on the bikes, leading the gang to them. the spell is still going and the "urn" is broken, ending the spell. They have to get away now. Anya and Tara go in one direction and Xander and Willow in the other. Willow passes out.
You see Buffy reanimate in the coffin. It looks so cool. She was all decayed and skeletal and then refleshes and shit. Awesome. She's in the coffin though and has to break out. Why didn't they dig her up before starting the spell? She looks all scared and hoarse and her vision is blurry (they keep showing it from her POV). When Willow wakes up Xander tells her that the last urn got broken and Willow has to accept that Buffy is really gone. It's heartbreaking. They're going to meet back up at the magic shop. Dawn is watching the destruction from the window and Spike keeps having to pull her away. He realizes the biker gang must be there because they know Sunnydale is vulnerable.
Buffy gets out of her grave. Ok, she's not in a cemetery...just the woods. They had her hidden, so that's why they could keep her death a secret. Her hair is longer and darker too, which makes sense, 'cause your hair grows when you're dead. She's wandering Sunnydale now. Everything is destroyed and on fire, probably unrecognizable to her blurry vision. Anya and Tara get back to the magic shop before Willow and Xander. Anya is freaking out and Tara comforts her and does a spell to send a little light to Willow to guide her back to them. They were lost, so that's helpful.
Buffy is very disoriented by stimuli, which is a nice touch. She's really acting like she's just come back from the dead. Spike and Dawn are on foot. Spike steals a motorcycle from one of the demons and they get on. Xander and Willow get back to the magic shop. They need to find Spike and Dawn. Anya wants to know how they're supposed to handle the sitch without Buffybot, Giles, or Spike.
Buffy wanders up to the gang as they're about to take the bot apart. I bet that looks weird. They delimb the bot and go after the real Buffy. She's able to run, at least. Anya, Willow, Tara, and Xander are out looking for Spike and Dawn. Tara is telling Willow perhaps they weren't "supposed" to save Buffy, fate-wise. They run into Buffy. They think it's the bot at first, then she runs, sort of rocking in a corner of an alley. Xander realizes she had to crawl out of the grave. She is confused and scared. She's not responding to them. Some of the biker dudes show up just as they're getting eye contact with her. As the gang is threatening to rape the women, Buffy starts fighting. There are a lot of them, but she's handling herself well. I think she's been back a few hours at this point. Spike and Dawn find the bot without limbs. The bot says the other Buffy was there and then ran away. Dawn runs. Spike was distracted by trying to find the bot's pieces. Buffy bests the biker dudes and then runs away. One of the biker dudes isn't dead, but together they kill him. Buffy goes to the tower. Dawn somehow knows she'll be there. This time Dawn has to save Buffy. She's confused and thinks she needs to jump off again. The tower is falling apart. Buffy asks if this is hell. Things were so "clear" when last she was here. Dawn keeps pleading with her to walk toward her and get off the tower. She doesn't react until Dawn is in immediate peril and she saves her. The tower self destructs.
Dawn hugs her and says "you're home". She does not look happy about it.
Commentary (by Marti Noxon and David Fury) notes added 5.11.13: They're talking about how Buffy/Sarah's hair is honey-blonde (less platinum) post-death, talking about how that's perplexing that her hair would change color in the grave, etc, but I think that works. I always thought it was an intentional touch, like her hair had dulled in death. They also talk about how the knock-knock joke in the teaser fell flat and "didn't work", but I TOTALLY think it did.
"When we bring Buffy back, we're going to earn it." -Joss
Again, talking about a scene that "didn't work", but it did! Marti Noxon needs some more confidence, man. Perhaps what she means is that things don't look how she imagined them in her head when she wrote them. She's oddly obsessed with Anya's hair looking like Buffy's. It's mucch blonder and more '70s. I don't think it's confusing. Marti, Marti, Marti. Everything is just fine.
Alyson had a really hard time during the deer-slaughter scene. They said she was crying a lot. Makes me wanna cry. Originally Dawn was going to be 9ish. Sooo glad Joss talked them out of that. Marti talks about Willow's wardrobe change after killing the deer (from light blue to red). Yes! I was JUST about to write that they weren't mentioning it.
As Buffy is Carrie-ing it through the streets after digging out of her grave Marti mentions the chaos around her is an externalization of the inner chaos and confusion of her mind, not knowing where they are.
Ugh, they are constantly complaining about shots that didn't work and things that had to be re-shot and places they screwed up and they're invariably things I don't think they screwed up and it's devaluing the work. Honestly...should I stop watching the commentaries that aren't Joss? Perhaps I will pick and choose from now on. If it's Marti and Fury, no thank you. If it's Solomon (but it won't be because he came in on 6 I think), maybe. If it's someone I haven't seen do a commentary, yes. But to write five paragraghs in an hour and a half of watching?! And I'm bored? I've never been much of a commentary-watcher. I enjoy hearing tidbits, etc and even watching the show while listening to the commentary...I know what it is! I hate hearing the sound of the show. I would like the sound of the people doing the commentary and the visual of the show and NO OTHER SOUND. Yeah. That's exactly why I've been hating all of these commentaries. That makes so much more sense. Ok, here's the deal. If it's writers I haven't seen before (or Joss) I'll watch. However, if the guys I've not seen before are not interesting me and I'm spacing within the first 15 minutes, I can bail. This time, I'm oly ten minutes away from the end, so I'll go on, but that will be the new plan. Because I just haven't been engaged during this process. I'm ready to watch other special features and catch up on the comic book, but I don't want to do that until I finish the commentaries. There's a precise order in my head of what I want to do. I have a list, damnit, and there needs to be order!