"Forever"
Written and directed by Marti Noxon

Buffy, Dawn, and Giles look at coffins in a funeral home, still numb from Joyce’s death (see “The Body”). Buffy tries to shield Dawn from decision-making a little. At home, Buffy and Giles finish up preparations for the funeral and wake. Buffy can’t believe that their father still hasn’t called. Dawn asks if they’ll return to the house after the funeral and asks if she can go to Willow and Tara’s instead. On their way out, Willow tells Xander that she’s going to stop at home to see her mother and he says he might stop by, too. Spike arrives with a bouquet of flowers and Xander tells him he’s pathetic for bringing them to try to get on Buffy’s good side. Spike says that they’re for Joyce because she was always nice to him. He throws the flowers down and leaves. Willow picks them up and sees that he didn’t leave a card.

Buffy tries to comfort Dawn during Joyce’s funeral, which saddens all of the Scoobies. Afterwards, Willow and Tara take Dawn to their dorm while Buffy stays at Joyce’s grave until the sun goes down. Angel (last seen in “The Yoko Factor”) arrives and stands with her. At Willow and Tara’s, Willow tries to comfort Dawn by telling her that things will get better. Dawn angrily thinks that she means that Dawn will forget about Joyce. She tells Willow and Tara that she wants them to teach her a spell that will resurrect Joyce. At Xander’s apartment, he and Anya share a friendly moment, feeling as if they’re more awake and part of something bigger now. Tara tells Dawn that it’s impossible to resurrect Joyce - they can’t tamper with matters of life and death. Back in the cemetery, Buffy tells Angel that she doesn’t know how to be strong and he tries to encourage her. He tells her that he can stay in Sunnydale as long as she wants him to and she asks him if he can stay forever. They share a kiss, and she tells him that he should go. She thanks him for helping her get through the night and he says that he’ll stay until the sun comes up. Ben leaves the hospital and runs into Jinx, who says that Glory wants him to keep trying to get together with Buffy in case she spills information about the Key. Ben refuses to help, beginning to say that he wouldn’t let Glory hurt someone innocent. Jinx realizes that the Key is a person, and Ben stabs him with his own dagger to try to keep him from telling Glory.

Willow and Tara head out for breakfast, leaving Dawn alone in their room. Willow magically moves a book on a bookshelf so that Dawn can see it sticking out. She leafs through and finds information on resurrection. She winds up at the Magic Box, dusting things while trying to get information from Giles about books that are off-limits. While Giles and Anya are busy, Dawn heads up to the forbidden section and grabs a book. That night, Spike catches her getting dirt from Joyce’s grave. She tells him that she wants to bring Joyce back and he replies that he’s going to help her. Giles sadly listens to Cream’s “Tales of Brave Ulysses” in his apartment (see “Band Candy”). Spike makes Dawn promise that she’ll never let Buffy know he’s helping her. Jinx is brought back to Glory’s apartment, where he tells her that he was injured by Ben. She is happy to learn that the Key is most likely in human form. Spike takes Dawn to meet Doc (Joel Grey), who Spike has heard can help them. Doc tells them they shouldn’t mess around with resurrection but Spike continues to press him for aid. While he gathers some things for them, Dawn notices that he has a tail but doesn’t say anything to Spike. Doc tells Dawn that, in addition to her ingredients, she needs to steal an egg from a Ghora demon’s nest and get a picture of Joyce. He says that, if anything goes wrong, the only way to stop the spell is to tear up the picture. Dawn assures him that she’ll do everything right. He warns her that Joyce might not be exactly the same, but she will “more or less” be Joyce. As they say goodbye, Doc’s eyes turn black, startling Dawn.

Spike and Dawn find the Ghora nest and Dawn tells Spike that she’ll steal the egg. He is amazed by her confidence and distracts the demon while she goes for the egg. She gets one fairly easily, but drops and breaks it on her way out. She goes back for another and they make it out all right. In her room, Dawn starts her spell. In Willow and Tara’s dorm room, Willow writes in her journal, wanting to make more of every moment of her life. Tara notices that one of their books is missing and decides that Dawn must have taken it. Willow tells her that she doesn’t think Dawn will be able to do anything harmful with it, but Tara isn’t so sure. They call Buffy, who arrives home as the phone is ringing.

In her room, Dawn continues the spell but is interrupted by Buffy, who demands to know what she’s doing. Dawn replies that Joyce is coming home and heads downstairs. Buffy follows her and tells her that she can’t know what’s actually going to come back. She tells Dawn to reverse the spell but Dawn refuses. Outside, someone walks across the front lawn. Dawn tells Buffy that she’s alone and Buffy replies that Dawn has her. Dawn accuses her of not caring that Joyce is dead and Buffy slaps her. Buffy tearfully explains that she has to keep working because, if she stops, it means that Joyce is really gone. She confesses that she’s scared and doesn’t know what they’re going to do. There is a knock at the front door and Buffy hopefully says, “Mommy?” As she runs for the door, Dawn tears the picture of Joyce in half. Buffy opens the door and is saddened to see no one there. The sisters hold each other and cry freely.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Don’t do resurrection spells, ever.

GRADE: B+ It’s like “The Body,” Jr. The final scene is especially heart-wrenching.

WELCOME TO THE HELLMOUTH: Doc

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Willow: “I'm gonna stop by my mom's first. Been doing that a lot lately.”
Xander: “Yeah. I actually might stop by your mom's too. Well, I'm not going to my place. Those people are scary.”

“That's crazy, isn't it? I mean, I, I, I'd swear, you were that guy. I mean, your hair's a different color and you're a vampire, but uh, other than that….” - Doc to Spike

Dawn: “Mom…died, and it's like you don't even care.”
Buffy: “Of course I care. How can you even think that?”
Dawn: “How can I not? You haven't even cried. You've just been running around like it's been some big chore or something. Cleaning up after Mom's mess.”
(Buffy slaps her)
Buffy: “Dawn…I've been…working. I've been busy, because I have to--.”
Dawn: “No! You've been avoiding me.”
Buffy: “I'm not! I have to do these things, 'cause…'cause when I stop, then she's really gone. And I'm trying. Dawn, I am, I am really trying to take care of things, but I don't even know what I'm doing. Mom always knew.”
Dawn: “Nobody's asking you to be Mom.”
Buffy: Well, who's gonna be if I'm not? Huh, Dawn? Have you even thought about that? Who's gonna make things better? Who's gonna take care of us?”
Dawn: “Buffy….”
Buffy: “I didn't mean to push you away, I didn't. I just, I couldn't let you see me.”


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