Buffy Logo 'After Life'
Story Code '6ABB03'

by Jane Espenson

Xander, Anya, Tara and Willow make their way to the Summer’s house, where they hope Buffy has gone. They wonder is something might have gone wrong with the spell; that Buffy might have come back ‘broken’ in some way. Meanwhile, Dawn takes her sister home, but Buffy doesn’t give any sign that she’s happy to be there, she just wanders through the house. She starts to come round a bit, and Dawn cleans the blood from Buffy’s hands, and changes her into clean clothes. Spike arrives, and starts yelling at Dawn for running off. He sees Buffy, and at first assumes it’s the robot, but as she comes nearer, he realises it really is Buffy. Spike sees the wounds on her hands, and he knows that she has had to dig her way out of her grave. He helps bandage up her hands, and he tells Buffy she has been gone for 147 days, but to her it feels a lot longer. The rest of the gang arrives, and Spike leaves. They bombard Buffy with questions, and Dawn realises what they have done. Buffy goes to bed, and as Xander and Anya leave, they bump into Spike outside, who’s been crying, upset that no-one told him about the spell. Spike walks away angrily when Xander accuses him of trying to cover up the fact he is happy to have Buffy back. Willow calls Giles to tell him that Buffy is back, and he will return to Sunnydale in a few days. As Willow and Tara get ready for bed, they discuss the spell and the changes in Buffy, but they are confident she will return to her normal self, given some time. In her room, as Buffy looks at photos of her friends that suddenly change to a skeletal appearance, and then back again. Later, Willow and Tara are woken by Buffy, shouting at the bottom of their bed and throwing things at the wall. But when Willow turns the light on, she disappears, and they find Buffy in her bed, asleep. Willow calls Xander, and as he talks to her, Anya starts cutting her face with a knife before fainting. The next day, Xander, Anya, Willow and Tara discuss what happened. Anya thinks a demon may have hitched a ride with Buffy. They decide to research at the Magic Box, and Buffy decides to patrol, but when she leaves, Dawn is possessed by the entity as well, and she breathes fire before returning to normal. Spike is in his crypt, and unable to cope with Buffy’s return, he is punching a wall. He hears a noise upstairs, and is surprised to find Buffy waiting for him. He tells Buffy that he has never forgotten the promise that he made to her, and every night he has dreamt of rescuing Dawn from Glory and preventing Buffy’s death. At the Magic Box, Xander questions Tara if she thinks that Willow knew that something may have come back with Buffy, but Tara resists the idea. Willow discovers that the entity is a demon, but it was actually created by the spell, the price paid for the gift if life. It has to take over someone’s body or create a copy to manifest itself, but it can only be destroyed by un-doing the spell. Willow is confident the entity will eventually dissipate, as it cannot survive for long unless it destroys the subject of the spell. But the demon has taken control of Xander’s body, and now knows that it has to kill Buffy. Buffy arrives home, and immediately she is attacked by the demon, but her blows have no effect, as it is non-corporeal. Xander, Anya and Dawn rush to the house, while Willow and Tara perform a spell to make the demon tangible. The spell is a success, and Buffy kills the demon. The next day, Buffy gives Dawn her lunch for school, and she seems a bit more like her old self. Dawn tells her it was bad while she was gone, but it will be better when her friends see her being happy. Buffy goes to the Magic Box, and she tells Willow, Tara, Xander and Anya that she was in Hell, and she is grateful to them for bringing her back. Xander and Willow enfold her in a tearful hug. Buffy retreats to the alley behind the shop for some alone time, and finds Spike in the shadows. He tells Buffy he will do anything he can to help her. Buffy confides in Spike that she thinks she was in heaven. She was happy, safe and loved. But now everything is bright, hard and violent, and this now feels like Hell to her, and getting through each moment is extremely hard for her. As Spike watches her return inside, she tells him that her friends and Dawn can never know.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn), Amber Benson (Tara), Lisa Hoyle (Demon)
Directed by David Solomon

TX (US): 9th October 2001
TX (UK - Sky One): 17th January 2002

*Featuring Buffy, Xander, Willow, Anya, Tara and Dawn