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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5, Episode 17: Forever

DVDWritten and Directed by Marti Noxon

No episode is going to look particularly great coming hot on the heels of The Body, but this is a reasonably assured follow-up that, for all its flaws, works quite well. Given the number of resurrections that have taken place in the Buffyverse (Buffy, Angel and Darla spring to mind), I'm glad they approached the issue of bringing Joyce back, given that, in a fantasy world, the natural reaction would be to attempt a resurrection spell. The sight of the shadow of Joyce (or some perversion of her) knocking at the door is actually a pretty unsettling sight, and I'm glad the writers had the sense to leave her dead, given the extent to which resurrections tend to cheapen the original death. I also like that the song Giles is playing on his record player, "Tales of Brave Ulysses", is the same one that he and Joyce listened to in Band Candy. It's a nice bit of continuity that doesn't scream for attention. In the post-Season 5 environment, he would probably have mused "Joyce always loved this song", or something like that.

For all its strengths, though, there is some piss-poor dialogue on display ("We're witches, we know stuff" - I don't know about you, but to me that just sounds silly), and the overly mawkish treatment of the funeral, with its swelling music, slow motion montage and people sobbing their hearts out, is a big step down from the mature and realistic treatment of death in The Body. Noxon was trying, I'll give her that, but if ever there was a clear demonstration of the differences between her method of storytelling and that of Joss Whedon, it's this double bill of episodes. Hopefully we'll see a return to the fun and games of vampire slaying in the next episode, because all this doom and gloom is threatening to turn into Season 6 lite.

Overall rating: 7/10.

Next time: Intervention.

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