"There's a world of strength in your heart, honey."
1. The Trio! They make a surprise return appearance after several episodes without them. Your thoughts?
Wow, Jonathan is sure losing it
Finally, action on the season arc
I'd be just as happy if we never see them again
Those guys? I forgot all about those guys.
2. The college scene where Willow fails to talk to Tara. What do you think?
Willow, you're an idiot, but I understand
I'm so excited by this evidence that Tara has been moving forward with her own life and making new friends
3. The institution scenes. Your thoughts? (check many)
Oh, Joyce! Break my heart again, why don't you?
The stereotypical depiction of mental illness bothers me a bit
The stereotypical depiction of mental illness bothers me a LOT
I get that BUFFY (who is demon-drugged) feels like they're real, but I don't find them terribly convincing
Buffy looks kinda cute all disheveled like that
Her doctor reminds me of that counselor who gets killed -- season 2, I think? I wonder if that's deliberate.
Just in case you didn't realize that Buffy has been going through a major depression all season, here, have some imagery that you will immediately recognize as signaling mental illness.
4. Some fans think that Buffy's story about having been in a mental institution prior to the show's timeline is inconsistent with Joyce's behavior in seasons 1 and 2, and "fanwank" the explanation that this event exists only in the post-Dawn timeline. Your thoughts?
I agree that it's mildly inconsistent, but I think it's just the kind of thing that will come up sometimes after a show has been around for six years. No fanwanking necessary.
It's not inconsistent. First two seasons Joyce was clearly in a LOT of denial.
When Buffy tells this story, my only thought is "poor Buffy!"
5. Buffy dumps the first batch of antidote after a conversation with Spike where he pushes her to be honest with her friends about their relationship. Why does this conversation trigger that decision?
Ironically, she's taking his advice. Trying to "stop with the bloody hero trip" and not be The Slayer for a while.
He's being a jerk here. No wonder she responds badly.
Her earlier conversation with Dawn indicated that she's starting to feel disoriented even when not actively hallucinating the mental institution.
Just as it appears -- she can't deal with the thought of her friends finding out about her relationship with Spike, and that tips her over the edge.
She just needs someone to take care of her right now. If Spike were paying attention to her needs (as he did back in the beginning of the season), she wouldn't feel such a strong urge to take refuge in imaginary Joyce. IT'S ALL SPIKE'S FAULT.
Spike is just being his usual caustic, honest self -- his bad luck that she's in a distressed mental place where this triggers such an objectively horrible decision on her part
6. Buffy kidnapping Willow, Xander, and Dawn -- what do you think?
We have officially reset the bar on Buffy's lowest moment.
Eh, she's drugged. I don't really see it as character-defining behavior.
The scene where she's going after Dawn is super disturbing. Like, Serial Killer Buffy disturbing.
It doesn't really work for me as a story turn.
It's fine as an idea, but it doesn't work here.
Wow, Tara showing up just then is pretty convenient, huh?
I'll admit it. I've wanted to see her clock Xander with a frying pan for YEARS.
7. The final "we've lost her" scene has been very controversial in some fan circles, because of the way it implies that, perhaps, the entirety of the show is a figment of Buffy's imagination. Your thoughts?
Eh, it's just a little joke, who cares.
IT IS A HORRIBLE "SCREW YOU" TO THE FANS AND IT MAKES ME HATE THE EPISODE WITH THE BURNING PASSION OF A THOUSAND FIERY SUNS.
It's sort of a cheap joke but it doesn't ruin the episode or anything.
I have no particular opinion.
It's thematically very important.
BUFFY Um, you didn't by any chance just eat a bunch of nerds, did you?
WILLOW Hi, um... Tara. How are you? I was wondering... do you want to go out sometime? For coffee? Or food? Or kisses and gay love?
XANDER I don't wanna hear this crap from you. SPIKE Right. Wouldn't wanna listen to Spike. Might get a bit 'a truth on you.
XANDER What, you think this isn't real just 'cause of all the vampires and the demons and the ex-Vengeance demons and the sisterthat used to be a ball of universe-destroying energy?
DOCTOR You used to create grand villains to battle against. And now what is it? Just ordinary people you went to high school with. Not gods or monsters. Just three pathetic little men who like to play with toys.
WARREN She's tripping like a Ken Russell film festival.
XANDER Spike, we need muscle here, not color commentary.
SPIKE Oh, balls. You didn't say the thing was a Glarghk Guhl Kashma'nik. XANDER That's because I can't SAY Glarma --
SPIKE You're not drawn to the dark like I thought. You're addicted to the misery.
SPIKE Let yourself live already.
XANDER Hello? I'm back. Clean and with a better smell now.
JOYCE I know the world feels like a hard place sometimes, but you've got people that love you. There's a world of strength in your heart, honey. I know there is. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself.
9. Rate this episode
Mean: 6.73 Median: 7 Std. Dev 2.42
Bonus question! We see Buffy working at the Doublemeat Palace for I think the last time. Who kinda thought she quit when she walked off the job to go chase demons with Captain Charisma?