The Wish

Perri's Review | Julie's Review | Valerie's Timeline Analysis | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

EEEEE! And may I just add, EEEE! And perhaps one more EEEEEEEE! for good measure. Fans have been tossing around a "what if" like this almost since the premiere, but only the Joss/Marti/David collective would actually deliver. And we almost wish they hadn't....

We open with a long shot of a quiet, beautiful peaceful garden full of bright, happy flowers, with birds singing sweetly. This being Sunnydale and all, there must be violence happening nearby. Yup -- Buffy is busy fighting with something that resembles the offspring of the Ceature from the Black Lagoon and a Pak'mara. With assistance from bystanders Willow and Xander, Buffy dispatches the ick, and the trio settles down for a nice heart-to-heart over the corpse. Faith has apparently been incommunicado, Cordelia is still refusing to speak to Xander (who is desperately trying to make it not his fault), and Willow is still deeply depressed over Oz.

Cordelia is dealing with her pain a bit more directly -- chopping up a picture of the four of them, she sets it on fire while Xander's desperately cheeful voicemail messages play in the background.

Willow stalks Oz the next morning, desperate to talk to him. She reports to Buffy that Cordelia is well and active, since Amy saw her at the mall, but the Slayerettes have still had no contact with her. Cordy arrives in due course, dressed for action, with all the attitude she can muster. But even the renounced Cordelia attitude isn't enough to save her -- while she's greeted cheerfully by Harmony and the snobs formerly known as the Cordettes, the humor turns nasty quickly. Being Xander Harris's "castoff" is apparently even worse for Cordy's image than being Xander' Harris' girlfriend.

Willow's morning isn't going much better -- she manages to catch Oz at his locker, but his response is quiet and simple: "Leave me alone -- I need to figure things out." Devastated, Willow lets him go. Meanwhile, Cordelia spots Xander in the hall and goes on the offensive, snagging former flame John Lee and trying to look as if they're already an item. John Lee is less than enthusiastic -- he can't risk his reputation by being seen with Cordelia in public, although he's got no objections to going somewhere private. Utterly trashed and rejected, Cordy happily seizes the offer of friendship from cool new student Anya, who is unimpressed by Harmony. Cordy comments on Anya's pendant, which she calls her lucky charm. Bolstered by new friendship, Cordy sets out to prove how over Xander she is. Which she reiterates to Anya the next morning. Goaded by pulled stitches, the sight of the three Slayerettes together and more jabs from Harmony, supported by Anya who loans her her luck pendant, Cordelia finally explodes, "I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale."

Anya turns around, her face now pale and veined and ugly even by Sunnydale standards. She smiles. "Done."

A flash of light, and Cordelia looks around at a changed Sunnydale High. The courtyard is nearly empty and trashed, everything different. Cordelia immediately concludes this is a good thing, caused by 'good fairy' Anya. She nearly skips into the building -- and is immediately confronted by Goth Harmony, who greets her as a bosum bud and compliments her on her 'daring' outfit (a relatively sedate blue dress and sweater). To complete the turn of Cordy's fortune, John Lee races up to beg a date to the Winter Brunch. Being back on top of the social ladder is enough to make Cordy overlook the nearly empty classroom, the 'monthly memorial service' and the curfew. But when Harmony greets the idea of going to the Bronze with horror, delivers the news that Xander and Willow are dead and Cordy finds no cars in the lot because students aren't allowed to drive, she finally gets past her self-absorbtion long enough to realize that This is Bad.

She's taken too long, though; it's dark by the time she heads home. The streets are dirty and deserted and she's actually relieved to see Xander arrive. But she soon realizes he's less than a comforting companion, dressed in leather and with attitude to spare. Cordelia tries to get him to help her find Buffy, who she has already realized is important. Xander recognizes the name of the Slayer, but obviously has no further clues -- neither does Willow, who arrives in lowcut, skintight leather, lipstick and insanity worthy of Drusilla at her wiggiest. They kiss, and, with her usual keen sense of priorities, Cordelia freaks over their coupleness -- just before Xander fangs out. She recovers enough to run for it, and is hunted down almost immediately, to the disappointment of her bored former-friends. But before Will and Xand can get down to the snacking, a van screeches onto the scene, and Giles emerges. He brandishes a cross at the two vampires while Oz levels a crossbow, and two more students leap out to drag Cordelia to safety.

They wind up (big surprise) at the library, huddled around Cordelia's unconcious form. Giles' new posse of Slayerettes includes Oz, our old friend Larry (significantly less Cro-Mag than of old) and a girl named Nancy (nonrecurring; the costumers should have put her in a red shirt, but it would have been redundant). He sends them off on patrol and contemplates (and since he's unshaven and wearing a very nice sweater instead of tweed, the GASPers take a nice little trip from reality for a moment). When they emerge, we are at the Bronze, which is still crawling with teenagers. Only, these days, most of them are the undead; the rest are the buffet. Willow and Xander report in to the boss -- The Master, silly dialogue, bad attitude, fruint punch mouth and all. He gives Willow some 'scraps' and settles down for Xander's report. Xander is still disgusted at Cordy's escape, and tells the Master that Cordelia knows of Buffy's existance, and wants to bring her to Sunnydale. The Master, a bit swifter on the uptake and protective of 'the plant' which is about to go online, immediately sends the deadly duo out to kill Cordelia.

Who is finally awake, and babbling all to an incredibly confused Giles. She gets the essentials across to him -- alternate universe, she did something bad, if Buffy is there it will be better. But before the conversation can continue, Giles gets trapped in the cage by Xander and Willow, who gangfang Cordelia as Giles watches helplessly. Whent hey finish, Cordelia slumps to the ground. Dead. Giles finally frees himself, although he's far too late, as the rest of his gang returns -- sans Nancy, who is dead (told ya). They haul Cordelia's body to the inceintrator -- but not before Giles spots and removes Anya's pendant, which Cordy is still wearing. He follows Cordy's warnings and gets on the phone to the active Watcher -- who apparently neither keeps good track of his Slayer, or believes in Hellmouths. Frustrated, Giles gives up.

Xander returns to report to the Master, who rewards them by letting them 'play with the puppy'. A bored Willow immediately follows through, going to a cage set up in the bottom of the Bronze; a figure lays sprawled on the floor of the cage, obviously a long-time prisoner. The reason for the locks and chains becomes clearer when we see his face -- it's Angel. Carrying a whip and primed for action, Willow saunters over to her 'puppy', taunting him with news of the opening of 'the plant' and his upcoming death, along with the death of the people he tried to save (presumably what landed him in the Master's, ah, doghouse). Xander joins in the fun, throwing a lighted match onto Angel's chest, but prefers to watch as Willow enjoys herself.

On Angel's scream, we return to the library, where Giles has finally found what he was looking for; Cordelia's pendant is the symbol of Anyanka, a patron of scorned women who grants wishes. Giles, Larry and Oz put the pieces together -- "The entire world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish?" Larry summarizes succinctly. Giles goes off to do research, but the boys are more interested in carving stakes. Giles is stopped en route to home by the sight of a gang of vampires loading people into a van. Armed with a cross, a stake and no functioning brain cells, Giles attacks. While he manages to free the prisoners, he is (say it with me) hit over the head from behind, and falls at the vampires' feet. But before they can do anything, they have bigger problems -- Buffy Summers has arrived in Sunnydale and is ready to kick butt.

But this isn't the Buffy we know, given away fairly quickly by the rotten fashion sense, long hair, ugly scar through her lips and attitude (and the even more disturbing complete lack of slanguage). This Buffy is entirely unimpressed by Giles and his stories about Anyanka, even when he concludes that they can defeat her -- reversing all of her wishes and reducing her to a powerless mortal -- by destroying her power center, whatever that is. Buffy is even less impressed by the fairy tale that this world is wrong, and can be changed -- she's more interested in getting something out of her trip by killing the Master. Over Giles' objections, she goes off on the hunt.

The Bronze is eerily quiet and deserted -- the only time we ever see it like this, Bad Things invariably follow. But the only thing she finds is Angel, who recognizes her; he'd seen her in LA, and come to Sunnydale to wait for her -- but she never came. The Master rose after the Harvest in spite of his efforts and imprisoned Angel, who never gave up hope Buffy would come. Buffy's patience is wearing thin; she begins to release Angel, but is shocked and disgusted to find he's a vampire. She still releases him though, so he can take her to the factory, and get his own revenge on the Master.

Who is holding forth on the wonders of modern technology and mass production at his factory. With the gusto (and collateral scenery damage) of Gallagher hawking the Sledge-o-Matic, he introduces his latest invention -- an automated human juicer. The first victim is, appropriately enough, one of the Cordettes; he drinks the first glass of blood with relish and a deep appreciation of his own brilliance, which is abruptly (and thankfully) cut off by the crossbow bolt Buffy fires at him. He uses Xander as a shield, Angel, Larry and Oz get into the act and all hell breaks loose.

It's breaking loose elsewhere, too, in the form of Anyanka, who Giles summoned. Needless to say, she's not real thrilled with being called on by (eww!) a man, and stalks forward to extract revenge. Giles keeps to the topic at hand -- Cordelia's wish -- trying to make Anya change it back. Anyanka gracefully declines by pinning Giles to the wall. In the factory, Buffy is holding her own, but a sneak attack from behind leaves her a target for Xander -- until Angel steps between them. He saves her, at the price of a stake through his heart.


Buffy only blinks before moving on to her target. She and Xander wind up hand to hand, and Xander comes out on the pointy end.


And again, Buffy doesn't blink. Across the room, Oz and Larry together wrestle Willow to the remains of a holding pen; without a qualm, Oz shoves her backwards onto a broken board.


The Master makes his appearance, and Buffy races to face him, as Giles wrestles gainast Anyanka's grip -- and sees something glow green on her chest, right where Cordelia's pendant would have dangled. He grabs the power center and tears it off as he hits Anyanka away; she rises to her feet, challenging Giles how he knows the other world will be any better. Giles barely pauses, because he knows it can't be worse than this grim world.

Which is about to get even grimmer, as Buffy comes out on the losing end of her fight with the Master. Even as Giles raises a weight to smash the power center, the Master snaps Buffy's neck. One Slayer dies.... and the power center is crushed under Giles' blow. There's a bright flash as the Slayer falls --

-- and we're back at Sunnydale High, listening to Cordelia expound on why Buffy Summers is the root of all evil. She makes her wish, Anya smiles and grants it -- and nothing happens. Cordy keeps wishing, not noticing the growing fury and surprise on Anya's face as she realizes she's powerless. Buffy, Xander and Willow sit together happily in the sun as Cordelia strides off, Giles swings by to remind them of practice after school, and the world continues on its merry, familiar way.

None, except that Cordelia's rank on the social scale is currently somewhere below Buffy's, and Faith is still at a distance from the others.

Willow and Oz aren't speaking yet, despite Willow's attempts.

Cordelia regards Xander as lower than pond scum (with more than a little justification).

With the exception of Cordelia, most of the character development we get in this episode is from how what people could have been ranks with who they are.

Cordelia actually doesn't deserve everything that's come down on her lately. Being dragged into slaying was bad enough, but the fallout of losing her social status, the constant life endangerment, getting involved with Xander (formerly a fate worse than death) was one hell of a lot than she bargained for. Then to be cheated on by Xander, impaled through the body, and publically humiliated to boot -- not even the Cordy of old deserved this. She reacts with admirable chutzpah, actually -- dressing for battle and facing down everyone who wants to give her trouble, refusing to show weakness in front of Xander, and generally making a good stab at putting her life back together. Unfortunately, this is Sunnydale, and nothing is ever as simple as moving on. She figures out what happened with admirable speed once it starts, but loses points for not picking up on the implications sooner -- come on, Cordy, that classroom was way too empty! And she doesn't react to Xander's reappearance when he's reported dead fast enough for an active Slayerette (although we can plead physical and emotional trauma for that one). Still, what she did, she manages to undo by confessing all to Giles (the tradiational Slayerette response to Really Big Screwups), and she certainly pays for that offhand wish -- 12 hours after making the wish she hopes will improve her life, her life ends. < shudder > Give alternateverse Cordy a 6 for overall performance, with points lost to lack of adaption skills and a high self-absorbedness score even for her.

Giles in the bizarro world is essentially unchanged from the Giles we know -- a bit sadder, much scruffier, but still Giles -- understandable, since, unlike the teenagers, what he is was formed long before Buffy came into his life. We can assume his standing with the Watchers is even lower than I'm assuming it is now, and that part of Anyanka's plan to keep Buffy out of Sunnydale was to make the Hellmouth a 'myth' in the minds of the Watcher council. So he was essentially placed in the middle of Vamp Central alone and without a Slayer -- imagine the tweed-clad, uptight Giles of 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' in this situation. But even without Buffy to alternately protect him and shake him up, he's still managed to adapt and get his job done -- and has still managed to accumulate a mob of teenaged Slayerettes in the process. < g > And even without Buffy, he managed to discover the same spirit that the Slayerettes taught him -- that destiny can be, and must be, defied. A pretty damned impressive performance for our favorite Brit librarian -- give that man a 10!

Angel also scores high in the alterverse -- without the Slayer to do it for him, he sucked it up and tried to stop the Harvest himself. He doesn't lose any points for failing, considering how outnumbered her must have been, and he picks up a lot of points for lasting almost two years as the Master's prisoner. After two years as a plaything for the Master's pets, they still have to keep him locked and heavily chained, he still has hope, and he still bounces to his feet to take on the Master one more time -- and gets himself killed trying to save a Slayer who doesn't give a damn. Angel gets a 9 for giving it the old college try.

In real time, Oz is wounded and dealing with it with quiet, unmovable dignity and honesty. Painful, but you gotta admire it. In the alternateverse, Oz's score comes in pretty much the same -- on the surface, he hasn't changed much, still underreacting to life in general, calm and controlled. But where the Oz we know radiates calm and serenity (when he's not being Wolfman), this one radiates intensity. He's obviously been in the game for a few years, instead of the few months of our Oz, and he's as comfortable slinging a stake or a crossbow as our Oz is with a guitar. But like our Oz, he takes whatever anyone throws at him and he copes. Another 9 for him.

Buffy's score comes in quite a bit below that of the Buffy Summers we know. Grim, determined, and very much alone -- without Giles, Willow, Xander and Angel to lean on, she turned into Kendra. A coldly capable and narrowly focused Kendra, who apparently believes that her only value lies in her Slaying -- "The only thing I'm good at." Her parents are nowhere in sight, since she travels where and when she chooses, and her Watcher apparently doesn't care enough to do more than screen her calls. She's been fought enough and been wounded badly enough to be scarred, both physically and emotionally, and she takes her Slaying far more seriously than the Buffy we know ever did. But where the Buffy we knew, the one who had friends and a life, took on the Master and won, this cold and focused warrior loses. AlterBuffy gets a 6 -- she lost everything she was and still died, but at least she took of them with her.

Xander in our verse isn't ranking much higher than his vamp counterpart at the moment. He feels bad about Cordelia -- bad enough that he's desperately trying to justify himself and bull his way through on testosterone. AlterXander is a bit more straightforward -- killing seems to be the only alternative, and he's a man who loves his work, with all the enthusiasm that our Xander shows for cheerleader watching. It's a little scary that Demon Xander could wind up so high in the Master's good graces, but not entirely unexpected (insert your own teenage boy=monster joke here).

Willow, on the other hand, is Drusilla, only scarier. It's, again, not a surprise that she apparently didn't manage to survive the transition to vampire without completely losing her mind. The recurring "I'm bored" chant, the delight in "playing with the puppy" -- all things that could have come from our Willow, in a much brighter and happier kind of way. In her own way, she's far more dangerous than alterXander because she's so unpredictable -- like Angelus and Spike, you *know* Xander's going to go for your throat; like Dru, Willow could go for your throat, then decide to start licking instead of biting. < shudder > I much prefer our Willow, thank you. Our Willow, by the way, is going to curl up in a little puddle of guilt if she doesn't let up. She's dealing okay, firmly resolved to wait for Oz to do his thinking, and meanwhile stay the heck away from any potential entanglements of the romantic kind with Xander, but the guilt trip is going to get old, fast.

Best Moments:
The first scene between Willow and Oz. Oz is perfectly behaved, well within his rights, and says what needs to be said -- which doesn't make it any less painful. Ow.

Buffy and Cordelia outside the Bronze. Nice performances from both Sarah and Charisma, and the parallel to "When She was Bad" was just really well done.

Cordelia realizing she got her wish. Those old denial muscles kick *right* in with the 'good fairy' decision. that's our girl...

"Monthly memorial service..." < snerk >

Cordy meeting Xander and Willow. Willow's entrance is beautiful, Xander is palpably dangerous and Cordelia is completely hilarious!

Followed immediately by Giles and Oz's arrival on the scene, looking oh so grim and dangerous and cute. Gotta love that.

Cordy and Giles in the library. She's frantic and he's the first familair thing she's been handed, and he deals with frantic Cordy quite well. And the expression on his face as he's forced to watch her die is heartbreaking. Really great job from ASH.

Oz and Larry getting filled in on Anyanka. They're both so not interested in anything but what they have to do in order to fight and win. Have I mentioned lately how much I love all three of these guys?

Wilow playing with the puppy. I know, I know, but it was scary and ughsome and thoroughly horrible and awesomely done!

Buffy and Angel's 'first' meeting. Both Sarah and David pull this off beautifully -- they are completely different than the people they were. Angel is heartwrenching, Buffy is totally believable, and the incredible irony flows freely.

The entire last montage. Chris Beck delivers the goods in awesome music, the editors mix the great performances in grand style, and the impact of the flashes of the fight -- Angel's death, Buffy killing Xander, Oz killing Willow, Giles saving them all in spite of themselves -- couldn't have been more brutal. Wow.

Questions and Comments:
Okay, so how did the entire school find out about the circumstances of Cordelia and Xander's breakup? None of the participants would have talked, given circumstances -- I can only assume someone high up on the gossip chain has a working crystal ball.

< sniff > Wanted Jenny. And Snyder, for that matter, although I'm assuming he's dead (and Mary Beth says the Posting Board back me up).

Outstanding performances by the entire cast -- Willow and Xander were quite nicely creepsome as vamps, Angel was a completely different man than our Angel, Buffy was... the Terminator. The subtle changes in Giles and Oz were pulled off beautifully, the supporting characters -- Harmony, Larry, et al -- got to enjoy themselves, and even Cordelia had some fun through the looking glass. Bravo!

Okay, what was *with* spitting on the shoes? Ewww!

Loved the various bit and peices of homage to previous episodes. At one time or another, I was having flashbacks to "When She was Bad" (Buffy and Cordy outside the Bronze, Buffy and Angel at the plant), "Invisible Girl" (Buffy in the empty Bronze), "Prophecy Girl" (fighting the Master), "What's My Line (Willow torturing Angel).... I could go on. Just lovely little ibts of business and setting here and there adding to the effect, because everything 's familiar, but it's all different. Nicely, and wigsomely, done.

I would have liked this as a two-parter, just to answer some questions -- is Oz still a werewolf? What happened to Jesse, Darla and Luke? Where are Buffy's parents? Did Willow bring Xander across? Where *are* Snyder and Jenny?

I'm with the lot wondering how Anya got her power center back when it was bouncing from Cordelia' neck to Giles' keeping the whole ep. But I'm also in the camp that thinks it simply reverted back to Anyanka as soon as she was within range and it had served its purpose.

Rating: 5 out of 5. A bit slow to get going, but then it never stops! Outstanding writing, acting, directing... heck, even the set design was awesome, almost all the way through. And -- despite the record-setting onscreen death of five out of seven main characters in one episode (I don't think anyone but Blake's Seven has managed this) -- not so emotionally painful no one can ever watch it again!

Julie's Review

It's time again for the incoherent review. :)

Once again I'd like to remind you that scene order varies in my mind's reality. Yours may differ.

Here's the short form:


Yes, I still hate Joss. Does he have ANY idea how difficult it is to refluff that moose? Bad, mean Joss.

Now the long form:

We start with everyone still miserable. Willow feels bad for hurting Oz and is begining to realize just what she lost. She's planning on trying again to talk to him at school the next day. We also learn that Xander has been trying fruitlessly to talk with Cordy (having left her many, many, many messages on her answering machine).

We than see Cordy, sitting on her bed, cutting up the pictures she had in her locker (the ones we saw in 'Lovers Walk') and setting them on fire [not in her bed-in a cup thingy]. (In light of how Giles summons the demon later, I wonder if this is how Cordy got it's/her attention in the first place. Just a stray thought. Don't let it follow you home-it's not housebroken.)

The next day sees Willow playing stalker-girl waiting for Oz and he tells her to go away. He needs space to deal, and she's crowding him. He very accurately points out that she's doing so not so much that she hurt him, but more that she feels bad about hurting him. Big diffy there and I think he's right. Go Oz. Making Willow happy is no longer his main priority-and it shouldn't be. I like Willow, but she needs this kick in the backside. Maybe once it really sinks in she'll be ready for a relationship but not before. Kudos to Oz for realizing this.

This day is also Cordy's first day back and she comes dressed for bear. Leather skirt suit and spike heels. Unfortunately, what happened between her and Xander seems to have made the rounds and we see Cordy being made the butt of jokes from everyone begining with Harmony & Co, to the jocks. But in true Cordelia fashion, she makes one innocent encounter look differently just to drive Xander off as she sees him approach. Then there is one girl, a new 'cool' girl who had been with Harmony & Co., who doesn't spurn Cordy (I can't for the life of me remember her name) and keeps trying lead her into wishing something, but Cordy just blindly rants in another direction.

Later at the Bronze we have Xander, Willow & Buffy doing the pity party thing with Xander mopingly watching Cordy hold court. It's interesting to see that Willow won't even let Xander touch her casually any longer.

Cordy leaves, holding her stomach in slight pain, and Buffy on impulse follows her. Buffy tries to get Cordy to talk about it, but is interrupted by a vamp attack. Cordy ends up in the rubbish pile just intime for Harmony and the Harmettes to come by with catty remarks.

The next school day sees Cordy taking more verbal abuse from her one time 'friends'. Her new friend gives her a 'good-luck' necklace and finally gets Cordy to make a wish--that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale as Cordy feels that all of her problems are due to her having come to town. The new girl turns to Cordy with a demon's face. "So be it."

Suddenly, everyone vanishes. The school courtyard is virtually deserted and looks neglected to boot. Cordy runs into Harmony-who is dressed rather drably/severely who asks Cordy why the colorful clothes? They go to class. A very lightly attended class with a teacher who looks like Rick Moranis. Talks of memorials services conclude the class. Everyone's in a big rush to get home before dark. There's a curfew. Nobody goes to the Bronze anymore. Nobody goes out at night any more. And Xander & Willow are dead. Cordy's confused and Harmony is too. Cordy explains that she recently hit her head & is forgetting things. Cordy goes out to get her car & go home but can't find it. The janitor (gee, isn't it the same guy from I Only Have Eyes for You?) tells her that teens aren't allowed to drive anymore.

A very confused Cordy walks home down deserted streets as twilight hits. Then she sees someone: Xander. A very pale, leather clad Xander. And Willow joins him, equally Goth-attired. They kiss and Cordy can't believe that even here they're still all over eachother. She also asks where Buffy is. They know Buffy as the Slayer, but also that Buffy's not here. Xander & Willow talk about wanting to have fun and liking screaming. Then Xander turns to Cordy--with a vamp face. She runs and Xander happily chases and brings her down. Willow comes up lamenting that it was no fun and over too quickly. Just as they are about to pounce, a van pulls up and Giles, Larry [::mind boggle::], Oz and a girl roll out and rescue Cordy with crosses and such. [I'm begining to wonder just how many people have played with that crossbow. Let's see, Buffy, Giles, Ms. Calandar, Kendra, Oz, I missing anyone?] They wisk her off to the library.

Willow & Xander go to the bronze, which the vamps have taken over completely. We see people in cages being tormented and tied to the pool tables. They contine through to a back room and the Master, who is making a blood espresso (eww). He gives Willow his current play-thing that won't stop looking at him and Willow happily lunges & lunches. They tell the Master that they lost their prey but that it had mentioned the Slayer. The Master is upset--he doesn't want the Slayer to possibly upset his plans. He sends the deadly duo out to kill Cordy & silence what she knows. Or else.

Cordy wakes up and starts to talk to a very different Giles, a very casual Giles who is not a Watcher. She tells him they need Buffy, that it was 'better before'. Then Xander pops up, locks Giles in the cage and her & Willow kill Cordy. [meep] Giles manages to get out after they leave and Larry & Oz come in looking worse for wear. They got jumped outside & the girl was killed. He tells them to take Cordy's body to the incinerator but as they start, he notices the necklace and removes it to research.

Vamp Willow and Xander return to the bronze and let the master know that they succeeded in killing Cordy. As a reward, he let's Willow go play with the 'puppy.' The 'puppy' turns out to be a chained Angel [meep] that Willow is having much fun torturing as he aparently tried to save some mortals when the Master got free and got caught for his efforts. (Another stray thought-it's interesting to see vamp Willow in charge of the Willow/Xander relationship in this time stream. But considering that Willow probably made Xander a vamp, probably not real surprising. Just struck me as interesting.) Willow goes to torture him some more and talks about 'the factory' and how it'll make people die faster and Xander, after throwing a lit match on Angel's chest [owie, meep] tells Willow he just wants to watch her have fun.

Back at the library, Giles found the story on the necklace, it's for a demon who's a kind of 'patron saint' [*ahem*] of scorned women and she grants the women in question one wish. (kinda a bitchy woman's cut-rate genie) He begins to realize that the world he's in *could* and probably *was* different, but for Cordy's wish. "Ok. The world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish?" is how Larry sums it up [*g*]. Giles will research it more to see if the wish can be undone and the boys decide to call it a night. Giles tries to reach the Slayer's Watcher (in Cleveland?) but is rebuffed even in spite of him having been a former Watcher. Aparently however, Buffy is seen by her Watcher rather infrequently, so Giles figures lost cause here and decides to go home. As Giles is going home he spots some vamps herding people into a van and stops to rescue them but gets jumped himself. Then *he* gets rescued. (I must say here, that for a moment, I thought his rescuer was Indiana Jones what with the clothes and waepons and scar at the mouth. ;) By a very hard-lined Buffy. They go back to the library and he tells her what he's learned and that the wish can be undone by destroying the demon's power center (or was it source? *shrug*) but he doesn't know what that is. I was struck by this reality's Buffy, very hard and no nonsense. That along with her being in Cleveland and gone much of the time made me wonder if both her parents were dead. She had that 'nothing-to-lose' attitude. Buffy is apalled that they know the vamps main base & haven't taken it out. Giles tells her they've tried, but the Master is too powerful. She sets out to take it down. She gets to the Bronze and sees the reamins of a vamp party-lots of rubbish and dead bodies strewn about. As she looks around, she finds Angel locked up. He recognizes her (which visably startles her) and asks her why she didn't come before as he was suppose to help her and fulfil his destiny. (I'd say he looks at her with puppy-dog eyes, but MB would hurt me so I won't.) She goes to unchain him and he reacts to her cross dangling in her face. She starts to consider dusting him when he shows her the torture marks on his chest and asks her if she doubts that he wants the Master dead.

Giles has discovered a way to summon the demon and proceeeds to do so.

The Master and all the vamps are in a huge factory room with mortals in cages behind (like Oz and Larry, who look somewhat worse for wear). The Master goes on about making the vampire race move with the times and unveils mass production blood-letting. Put the stunned people on c conveyor belt and stab them with needles attached to hoses. We watch it suck the blood from a girl and syphon into glasses which the vamps drink. In this, Buffy and Angel slowly make their way in. Buffy aims the crossbow at the Master, who sees it and thrusts Xander in front of him. All hell breaks loose, the mortals are let loose and a major brawl ensues.

Giles succeeds in summoning the demon who is definitely anti-men and is threatening him.

We see many fall. First is Angel being dusted. [AIIIEEEE]. Then Xander. Then Willow is Oz [owie].

Giles is being strangled by the demon and sees a glowing pendant around it's throat. he grabs it.

Buffy squares off with the Master and is being outclassed. He snaps her neck. [MOMMY]

Giles argues with the demon and smashes the necklace saying that the world will be has to be.

Fade to...Cordy making her wish. And another. And another as demon-girl gets confused as to why she can't grant it. Cordy walks off blaming Buffy for everything.

Okay, I can see a few reasons why Joss probably did this ep. First, he got to kill practically everyone with no real lasting effects...maybe [this is Joss remember.] As Cordy remembered the current reality as she made it happen, will Giles remember the other one as he caused it to revert? Time and Joss will tell. I also think the Evil One just wants to see what speculation and fanfic comes of this which is on par with the Dallas it-was-all-a-dream crap. Whatever floats his boat I suppose. Anyway, I did enjoy this ep, even though I spent quite a bit of it whimpering, squeezing the stuffing from my moose, and scarfing Muddy Buddies. And next week. Looks like the Ghost of Christmas Past is coming...and it's pissed. Poor Angel. Poor us. It looks to be another gut-shreading episode. I'm gonna go hybernate. Tell me when it's over, okay?

Valerie's Timeline Analysis

Several people were posting in the Bronze right after "The Wish" that it didn't seem to them it would follow from Buffy not coming to Sunnydale. We do have to allow a slight concession that Anyanka had to alter some conditions to effect the wish-granting and prevent Buffy's arrival (classic "Monkey's Paw" be-careful-what-you-wish-for cause and effect), but it *does* make perfect sense.

Okay, here goes:

Buffy got called in L.A., as we saw in the "Becoming 2" flashback. Whistler still took Angel to see her, Angel still decided he wanted to help her, and went to Sunnydale to await his destiny.

Either Merrick didn't die, or the Watcher Council assigned a different Watcher to her for reasons unknown, and she was sent somewhere other than Sunnydale. (It's not clear whether she's actually based in Cleveland, or simply on a field mission there, a la Kendra. Speculation: maybe something happened to Kendra prematurely, and Buffy was assigned to Sam Zabuto instead of Giles.)

Giles may or may not still be a Watcher (his "was" to Cordelia could be either past or subjunctive), but he doesn't seem to have much standing with them either way. I'm betting this is at least in part because he believed the Slayer should have been sent to Sunnydale, with its Hellmouth that the other Bizarro-Land Watchers don't seem to believe in. So he went there anyway, sans Slayer, to accomplish whatever he could.

The night before the Harvest, Darla and Thomas brought Jesse and Willow (respectively) as tribute to the Master. Without the Slayer issue complicating things, the Master went ahead and killed Darla for snacking on Jesse and "bringing him scraps". He made a meal of Jesse (no Slayer = no need for bait); but turned Willow as a replacement for Darla, for her intelligence and/or her sweet 'n' helpless demeanor (one of Darla's favorite weapons, and probably the way she was as a mortal). She may well have already been well on her way to the Dru-esque madness we see in "The Wish"--considering she was on none too stable ground the day after Buffy rescued her in the "real" world.

The Harvest happened, and Buffy was not there to stop it, so the Master successfully escaped from his chambers, but the Hellmouth didn't actually open (that was mentioned as a danger only in "Prophecy Girl", not in "The Harvest"). Angel tried to stop the Harvest and was captured, though he must have managed to save some of the trapped Bronzegoers, including Cordelia, who escaped notice long enough to survive because Jesse wasn't there to draw attention to her. (I can't see Cordy just not being there, nor can I see Luke & Co. letting the leftovers go after he had killed enough to free the Master, so this is the only way she--not to mention Harmony and the other Cordettes, for that matter--could still be alive.)

Willow being smarter than Jesse, she was able to sneak Xander away from the festivities and/or persuade the Master to let her have him, turning him as the Harvest novelisation & script tell us Jesse intended to do with Cordy.

Once free, the Master embarked on his reign of terror unchecked. The Mayor attempted to propitiate him, as he would with any demon, and is probably still around as a puppet dictator. It probably didn't take long for his power to be established firmly enough that they could afford to have the mortal population aware of their existence...not to mention being amused with the spread of rumors like "vampires are attracted to bright colors" (which ranks right up there with classic folkloric security blankets like wild roses and seed-counting *g*). (Have I mentioned that Marti Noxon is a goddess?)

Snyder, if he was ever hired at all, is probably busy enforcing all the new rules, or perhaps in some other position backing up the Mayor's lackeydom the Master. Or dead.

Giles' attempts to fight them quickly drew support from braver students (can I just say how immensely cool it is that Larry is among that number?), and they banded together to do what they could. He probably also continued to try to persuade the Watchers Council that they desperately needed help, but for whatever reason (perhaps a spell somehow isolating Sunnydale?) they were disinclined to listen. Jenny was probably among the "white hats" at some point, and became a casualty of war. Ditto for Amy, and maybe Jonathan.

Without the Slayer around, the prophecies in "Never Kill a Boy..." and "Prophecy Girl" didn't apply, so chances are the Annoying One (" greatest weapon against the Slayer") never turned up.

Spike and Dru did, tho, in search of those healing Hellmouth vibes. They may have lasted a week before the Master had them executed for insubordination.

Life went on, such as it was...the vamps ruling and snacking at will, the dwindling human population doing its best to go on, the "white hats" saving whomever they could.

And we arrive at "The Wish", not just an interesting nightmare Bizarro World, but a logical state for a Sunnydale that has existed the last 2 1/2 years without Buffy.


"Can I say that Nicholas Brendan looks good in a white shirt and leather jacket?"
"You just did. And I'm impressed! I was mostly saying mnwhywawahugawa." -- Dawn and Mary Beth

"Xander and Willow. Willow and Xander. Willow and Cordelia and Xander... and this is PG-13?" -- Dawn "I'm just annoyed that no one remembers... that we saw all this info and even growth and things Cordy needed to realize and did (very quickly too, I might add!)... and then it's all *poof* gone! But it makes sense to be that way... for all that doesn't make me much more forgiving of Joss :-p" -- Dianne "So, there is _nothing_ that Allyson can do that will make her look not cute (was that a sentence? but you know what I mean!). Was she not just the most adorable little psycho-vamp you've ever seen? And with the little ruffles over her lack-of-cleavage. < chuckle > Sorry, but I was most amused by Willow-as-Dru. I couldn't really buy her as a vamp-vixen, even as hard as she was trying to sell it." -- Maureen

"Which was what made it so gut-wrenching to watch her: the mind inherited by the demon when it took her over was FAR past the line between genius and madness. Makes me wonder...the Master probably chose her for turning because of her intelligence, but what she was reduced to made it essentially useless. And her "bored now" mantra is a sign that the remnants of the genius are still there...the highest intelligence, however twisted and childish, bores most easily. *brrrrrrrrrrrRRRRrrrrrrr*" -- Valerie on Willow

"Which made watching Xander only marginally less chilling. He was essentially sane (in vampire terms), but equally vicious, fueled in part by reasons left over from his socially-challenged mortal life. Actually, it struck me that the pair of them were less a parallel to Spike and Dru than to the way Angel and Dru must have been before Spike was added to the family." -- Valerie

"Did *not* expect Cordelia to get whacked, certainly not so early on. One reason I'm okay with it being "reset", and the lessons thus "lost", is that I most definitely do not want her to remember being murdered by Xander and Willow in one of the worst imaginable ways. And it's pretty much an all-or-nothing shot. Giles reversing the wish bought her (and all of them, of course) a second chance, in which she'll have to learn these things the slower but ultimately less damaging way. What she's been through in the last week is bad enough; I'm not sure her mental health could take being *really* killed in the Bizarro-world on top of it, and then what good would the other things she learned there do her?" -- Valerie

"Giles saved the day by being ultra-cool, which I love. Not that anyone remembers that. And he did it in a really soft-looking sweatshirt.... < gleeep!... > Back. Right. Ahem. No, really! Giles was still Giles, no matter what; and ASH managed to bring off lines like "I have to believe in a better world" < sigh > that many lesser actors would've overdone. It was _wonderful_. " -- Chris

"It wasn't even the familiarity of these two tainted by evil, it was the horrible, languid, *thoughtless* cruelty of them. They *really* weren't the Willow and Xander we know. Those people never existed here, after the Harvest. There's just been demons in their bodies. And when they did seem like themselves, it was worse; Xander's sarcasm when he met Cordy was frightening, and Willow asking to play with the puppy almost sounded like herself... except I had a good idea what the puppy was. Eeee!" -- Chris

"Cordy... boy, this was a rough ep on her. I was dissecting her sitch with Dianne, and I think that she's been pulling off her balancing act as Popularity Girl and Xander's Girlfriend by sheer force of willpower and personality. But the second Harmony & Co. saw a weakness they went for it like a pack of hungry coyotes, so I'm inclined to think that they've just been waiting for the chance. They didn't dare diss her while she seemed to have what she wanted, but getting "dumped" by Xander (and how *did* everyone find out so fast, hunh? Who talked?) cost her so many face points that they felt it was safe to attack. She never saw it coming because she stopped caring about what they really thought months ago, she just wanted to hang on to her facade; but losing Xander cost her that. Plus, she's lost Willow as a friend (not a close friend, but still a better friend than Harmony), and she knows that Buffy is closer to both of them than to her, and that while she's the injured party, Buffy can't just dump them. Cordy's lost her boyfriend, her *real* friends, and her social position all in one week, and she's still getting over being impaled. Her life *sucks*. :>> Were it not for being on the Hellmouth, her little non-directed wish would've had no consequences. But it does. And then she's dead! After last week's bait-and-switch with the funeral, this was especially brilliant, since I don't think *anyone* believed she'd stay dead through the commercial. " -- Chris

"Poor Angel was waiting and waiting for Buffy to show up and she never came; there's something really poignant in that. Nothing like being stood up by your destiny." -- Chris

"Every person who saw Giles trying to do that spell with his glasses in his mouth told him to take them out." -- Chris

"It's not that [Xander] didn't *poof*-- you're right, the shot was much too far right (although it would have been right-on for the Master behind him-- Buffy's crossbow aim is better in the Bizzarro World :). It's that in the next shot his shirt isn't even mussed... much less ripped or slightly bloody.

"Two more I caught:
* Cordy slices up her photo, cutting each one apart, then makes a final cut diagonally through Xander's face... close-up to his face burning _whole_.
* The Blood Juicer victim had the same amazing-repairing clothing thing going-- she gets punctured and sucked dry, then when she's moved down the convoy belt there isn't a scratch on her (or her clothes).

[Those are both less obvious since they are lose-ups contradicting long shots, rather than the one Mo mentioned where they're two long shots conflicting.]" -- Dianne

"Anya, how did you like having a demon named after you? < heee! >"
"Mom always said I was the bad one." -- Chris and Anya

"Loved the subtle clues to what was going on--Cordy's "daring" outfit, quite conservative by Cordy standards (and covering noticeably more skin than Harmony's!), until you realize the others are all in nondescript grey. Then the "Winter Brunch" thing...for a second I thought John Lee was hoping for leftovers by asking her to some minor event! I wonder if they dance at all any more, at any time of day." -- Valerie

"Angel and dog references...WUWT??? (The torture part I...kinda get. A fact about which I'm not going to think too much, as it's likely to result in Dru-channeling.)" -- Valerie

"The slo-mo slaughter was not only dramatically effective, it served a very practical fight-choreography purpose--Jeff could have the actors do the normally-too-difficult/dangerous stuff at a safe speed, with their faces in full view, the better to rip our hearts out and feed them to Joss." -- Valerie

"I do feel that the demonic-nature of that alternate reality predated the time-frame before Buffy came to Sunnydale. If Buffy had been raised by her mother and father, and her parents had split, in any reality the odds were she'd end up in Sunnydale. If she hadn't had the family issues or raising, it could explain how she could be a killer with no apparent social graces or snappy dialogue." -- Anya

"Another thing, I wonder who's idea or conceptualization the factory was. The technology and simplicity of the idea was almost Willowy, wouldn't one say? Their (Xander and Willow's) preeminance on the podium during the Grand Opening suggests some degree of involvement in the Factory. I always thought Willow would rise to the top of the undead. " -- Anya

"I was jumping up and down on my couch when I realized who it was with Oz in the back of the van. Larry is rapidly becoming my favorite non-major character." -- Gina

"I'm in the midst of a tangled chicken-and-egg wondering about Jenny. I'm not clear on whether the Romany PTB sent her to Sunnydale *immediately* upon Angel's arrival to monitor his happiness levels, or only after he met Buffy and began to emanate "I'm not suffering so much any more" vibes. I don't think, from what we learn in Surprises and Innocence, that we're meant to believe that she or someone else from her clan was *constantly* monitoring Angel ever since his soul was restored, following him I hazard a guess that they only sent her there because of Buffy, sensing that she gave him a purpose which might eventually lead to his happiness. After all, there had to be a reason she was sent there as a *teacher*--if they had no idea what, specifically, might lead to his happiness, she could've kept an eye on *Angel* from almost any job. She could've run the local boogedy-boogedy shop. But she was a teacher to keep an eye on *Buffy* and company, and how they related to Angel. But in the new reality, there was *no* danger Angel would lose his soul again or stop suffering--pretty much all he did was suffer. So I think it's possible she never got sent there at all. "
"I've always thought Jenny took the job as a kind of escape, whether or not she believed in vampires. "Yeah, yeah, right, sure, watch the 'vamp' and make sure he doesn't have a moment of happieness, whatever, get me *out* of here!" For whatever reason, I've always been very strongly sure that she was out of step with her own people (*well* before Surprise, I had a theory about being the odd one out in a very power Pagan family) and getting to Sunnydale was a way out. With my limited knowledge of the Rom, I'd hazard a guess that the skin tight clothes she wore and the technology she loved would both be frowned upon. And both were probably a rebellion of sorts. Her body language with her uncle in Suprise is *very* interesting; very tight and controlled. Her hair is up and her clothes are drab. Jenny Calendar is who she has made of herself, but for her people, she is Janna, she is what she was made. So either the Rom *did* keep an eye on Angel constantly, and she was the 'watcher' because she *wanted* to go out into the outside world, or she managed to create a position of, "Well, *someone* should keep an eye on him, right?" for herself to escape." -- Gina and Lizbet

"You have to admire how fast she snapped out of it, though. The girl is _not_ dumb, either-- she figures out immediately what happened when the world changes around her, she's quick enough to keep up an impromptu fascade of normality in a strange new world, she's *right* on the "If Buffy's not here, why are you?" bit with Giles, and as soon as she realizes this new world is worse (and it doesn't take long), she's all over doing her best to get Buffy back." -- Dianne on Cordy

"my question being: since Giles already _had_ the charm Cordy had brought, why did he have to grab Anyanka's? Why did Anyanka show up with another one? How many are there? The answer I liked best was that there was one for each reality-- effective only there. So Cordy's switched realities, but was then only a pretty stone with the symbol of Anyanka on it. Giles used that to locate the info and call up Anya, who was wearing the actual power center (glowing, anyone?) for this reality that could reverse things. And apparently destroying one canceled them all." -- Dianne

"(And that brings up another thing: this is the second time his shirt has been torn open--the first time by Spike, now by Willow--and both times he managed to keep one button attached so he could semi-button his shirt up again, later. His tailor must always make sure to use reinforced thread for that one button, huh?) Not only was he wearing a shirt, he was wearing what seemed to be a new shirt, in good shape. I was *very* surprised that he was fully and well clothed, considering how long he must've been in that cell--and considering how shirtless he's been throughout the season in scenes where it wasn't particularly called for. Okay, that's it. And stop looking at me like that." -- Betsy

"I just want to say thank you to Joss and Marti and David Greenwalt and the entire cast and crew for a really nifty gift. That's pretty much what I see The Wish as. A gift to the fans. A scary...veiny gift to the fans. As Joss pointed out, we're the ones who got the lesson last night, not the characters. The characters got to finish an episode happy and healthy and together (with a couple exceptions). Yay for them! We on the other hand, were left with a stunned sort of feeling of "what might have been" and "be careful what you wish for." See how good we've got it? I'm never wishing any of the characters away again 'cuz who knows how *their* absence affected things. :-)" -- Mary Beth

"Cordelia. Ouch. She gave up her life for Xander, and we never really realized just how much. The pain of scorn from those you used to rule over.... no matter how superficial it may seem, it's very real. I'm proud of her for holding her head high.... and was so irritated with her for pulling such tricks on Xander -- though I laughed too. The scene in the hall with the guy was just painful to watch... but so was watching her get treated like dirt by Harmony. " -- Mary Beth

"Joss is right though, it's cool that no one learns anything from this."
"I'm liking the idea less ambivalently than I was. I reacted to it from pure gut "CHEATERS!" instinct, but with this show--which normally leaves no loose thread unpulled, the better to unravel our favorite characters' lives--it actually becomes the exception rather than the tiresome rule." -- Chris and Valerie

"And may I say no amount of chocolate can repair the damage Joss has done to my delicate psyche this week?" -- Julie

Back to Episodes.