"After Life"
Written by Jane Espenson; directed by David Solomon

Willow, Xander, Tara, and Anya are on their way back to the Summers’ house, eager to see Buffy again. Some of the motorcycle-riding demons pass them on their way out of Sunnydale. Willow worries that Buffy is traumatized from being in Hell and won’t be the same person she was before. Dawn takes Buffy home, where she notices that things are different. Dawn helps her sister wash up and change her clothes. She tells her she’ll call Giles and let him know she’s back. Spike returns home and blasts Dawn for running off on her own. He sees Buffy and thinks she’s the Buffybot, but soon realizes it’s not. He notices that she had to dig her way above ground and says that he had to do it himself. She asks how long she was gone and he tells her the exact number of days. The other Scoobies arrive at the house and bombard Buffy, asking how she is. Dawn realizes that they brought her back and tells them to back off. Buffy says that she’s tired and goes upstairs. The Scoobies try to convince themselves that she’s fine.

As Xander and Anya leave, they run into Spike, who had left earlier. He blasts them for resurrecting Buffy without telling him; he thinks that they did so because they weren’t sure she would be normal. He warns them that magic always has consequences. In their room, Willow and Tara discuss Giles, who will be coming back in a few days. Willow admits that she’s worried about Buffy; she thinks that she should be happier to be alive again. In her room, Buffy looks at pictures of her friends. She is shocked when their faces briefly turn into skulls. In the middle of the night, a picture frame in Willow and Tara’s room breaks and they wake up to see Buffy in the room. In a low voice, she asks what they did, saying, “The blood dried on your hands, didn’t it?” Willow turns on the lights and the room is empty. There is no glass from the broken frame, and when they go down the hall to Buffy’s room, they see her there, asleep. They are unsure of what happened or what Buffy said. They suddenly see something moving through the walls of the house.

Willow calls Xander and Anya and lets them know what happened. They tell them that it seemed as if Buffy was possessed and that they saw something moving in the walls. Xander tells them to get out of the house as Anya, her eyes white, cuts her face with a knife and laughs demonically. Xander grabs the knife and Anya collapses, her face uncut. He sees something moving through the floor. The next day, the Scoobies gather in the Summers’ backyard to try to figure out what’s going on. Anya suggests that they’re dealing with a hitchhiker, a demon that attaches itself to something moving through dimensions. Willow realizes that this means they’re to blame for the possessions. Buffy arrives and asks if they’re killing something; they fill her in but tell her not to worry. She tells them what happened with the pictures and they assure her that they’ll figure things out.

At the Magic Box, all of the Scoobies research possible hitchhikers but can’t come up with anything concrete. Buffy decides to go patrol by herself; as she leaves, Dawn’s eyes glow white, though no one notices until later, when she starts saying things similar to what Buffy said the night before. She shouts, “Look at what you’ve done,” then shoots fire out of her mouth and collapses. After she is back to normal, the Scoobies wonder where the hitchhiker went. Buffy goes to Spike’s crypt and he tells her that he protected Dawn while she was gone. He wishes that he had been able to do so before, so that she wouldn’t have had to jump. He says that every night, he saves Buffy in his dreams.

Back at the magic shop, Xander asks Tara if she or Willow might have known that things would turn out this way. Willow finds the answer to their questions - thaumogenesis, that act of creating a being out of a spell. When they performed the spell to bring Buffy back, a demon was tossed in as a price (or, according to Anya, “a gift with purchase”). Dawn wonders why they can’t see the actual demon and Willow says that it’s out of place in their dimension. The demon is linked with the spell, and if they want to get rid of it, they’ll have to reverse Buffy’s resurrection. Dawn refuses to let her and Willow assures her that they will figure out a way to get rid of the demon without getting rid of Buffy. Willow reads that the demon will die if Buffy dies. Xander, suddenly possessed, says, “Thanks for the tip” and the demon moves through the floor. At the Summers’ house, a cloud of mist takes a form similar to that of a human and follows Buffy upstairs.

Buffy hears a voice say, “You don’t belong here” and turns to see the mist. She tries to fight it but, since it’s mist, she’s not very successful. Xander drives Dawn and Anya towards the house while Willow and Tara work on a spell to give the demon solid form so that Buffy can kill it. The demon taunts Buffy as she continues to try to fight it. Xander, Dawn, and Anya arrive at the house as Willow takes over the spell, her eyes turning black. The demon becomes solid and Buffy eventually manages to decapitate it. The next morning Buffy makes Dawn lunch and generally acts a little more normal. Dawn tells her that her friends only want to see her happy. Buffy meets up with the Scoobies at the Magic Box and finally thanks them for bringing her back from hell. Everyone is happy to see her getting back to her old self. Outside, Buffy runs into Spike and admits to him that she wasn’t unhappy when she was dead. She didn’t know where she was, but she was loved and felt complete. She thinks she was in Heaven but was pulled back to earth by the Scoobies, who think they saved her. Earth is Hell to her, now that she knows what things will be like after death. She tells him, “They can never know. Never,” and walks into the sunlight.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: If there’s a possessing demon hanging around, don’t talk.

GRADE: B- So far, season 6 hasn't been anything special.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Buffy: “Tired.”
Anya: “Well, yeah. I mean...jet-lag from hell has gotta be, you know, jet-lag from hell.”

Xander: “Give it time. I bet in a week she'll be our little Bufferin again.”
Anya: “Oh yes, cause six or seven days, that's all you really need to get over eternal hell experiences.”

“Well, maybe you are. Going crazy. From hell. (Willow gives her an angry look) No. You’re fine.” - Anya

Anya: “Uh, coffee, coffee, coffee, um, hot chocolate for Dawn. You're too young for coffee.”
Possessed!Dawn: “Idiot.”
Anya: “You can have my coffee.”

Dawn: “Xander! Drive faster!”
Xander: “I can't!”
Dawn: “I could drive faster and I can't drive!”

Anya: “Great, so now what? We have to talk in some sort of anti-demon secret code?”
Xander: “Ood-gay idea-yay, An-yay.”
Dawn: “Stop talking wrong in Pig Latin and drive!”

“That's probably the sort of thing I'm not supposed to see, right?” - Dawn, after seeing Buffy decapitate the demon

“And you know what they say. Those of us who fail history? Doomed to repeat it in summer school.” - Buffy

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