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THE WISH (ep #3.09)

(a.k.a. It's a Buffyless Life)

Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Greenwalt
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Mark Metcalf as The Master
Emma Caulfield as Anya(nka)
Larry Bagby III as Larry
Mercedes McNab as Harmony
Co-Starring: Danny Strong as Jonathan
Nicole Bilderback as Cordette #1
Nathan Anderson as John Lee
Mariah O'Brien as Nancy
Gary Imhoff as Teacher
Robert Covarrubias as Caretaker

Plot Summary

Cordelia's wish that Buffy never came to Sunnydale comes true, with disastrous results.

Plot Details

The episode opened with a tentacle-faced demon holding Buffy by the throat. She gave a muffled request for a knife that Willow eventually interpreted correctly. She tossed the knife to Buffy, who easily killed the demon. Xander and Willow then talked about getting caught kissing. Xander tried to deflect blame from himself, while Willow felt guilty and planned to do some serious begging. Meanwhile, Cordelia was busy destroying pictures of her and Xander while listening to the numerous messages that Xander left for her.

At school, Cordelia reunited with Harmony and the rest of the popular clique that Cordelia used to lead, including a new member named Anya. Harmony pretended to welcome Cordelia back, but then proceeded to humiliate her by suggesting that she start dating Jonathan.

Willow stalked Oz's locker until he arrived. She once again tried to express her regrets, but Oz really wanted to be left alone. Xander did no better with Cordelia. Before he could talk to her, she pretended to make out with the first guy she saw. However, the guy did not want to be seen with "Xander Harris's castoff," so he brushed her off, except for an offer of sex in private.

At the Bronze, both Cordelia and Xander pretended to be enjoying themselves with Xander being even less convincing than Cordelia. Buffy followed Cordelia when she left and suggested that Cordelia talk about how she felt. Before she could do so, a vampire ambushed them. Buffy managed to stake it, but not before Cordelia was shoved into a pile of garbage.

The next day, Cordelia told Anya that all of her problems were Buffy's fault as Anya gave Cordelia an amulet to wear. Cordelia even went so far as to say that she wished that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. She was probably very surprised when Anya turned to her with a demon face and said "done."

Cordelia quickly realized that her wish was granted. She did not see the changes as unpleasant, at first. Harmony and the other Cordettes greeted her as a friend, a guy asked her out, and Xander and Willow were dead. However, nobody wore colorful clothes, there was curfew one hour after school ended, and students were not allowed to drive.

Cordelia apparently did not get home before dark. She wandered empty streets until she ran into Xander, who was supposed to be dead. Cordelia told him that they needed to find Buffy. A leather-clad Willow arrived straight into Xander's arms. Cordelia was upset at this and was even more upset when Xander revealed himself to be a vampire.

Xander let Cordelia have a head start before he pursued her. He easily knocked her unconscious, but Giles, Oz, Larry and a woman (Nancy) came up in a van and rescued her. They took Cordelia back to the library while Xander and Willow went to the Bronze, which was overrun with vampires.

Xander and Willow reported directly to the Master. Xander complained about Giles interfering with a kill, but the Master was more interested in Cordelia's threat to summon Buffy. He ordered them to kill Cordelia.

Cordelia regained consciousness and told Giles that things were better with Buffy. Giles was particularly surprised when Cordelia said that he was a watcher, something he apparently had not told anyone in this reality. Before Cordelia could say much more, Xander and Willow arrived, locked Giles in the book cage, and ate Cordelia.

The Master was pleased that Cordelia was dead and decided to let Willow "play with the puppy." "The puppy" turned out to be a captive Angel, and "play with" turned out to mean torture.

As Oz and Larry carried Cordelia's body away, Giles noticed Anya's amulet around Cordelia's neck. He took it for research and tried to reach Buffy through her watcher. He had little luck reaching Buffy, but he did find a reference to Anya's amulet in a book. Apparently, Anya is really a demon named Anyanka who grants wishes to scored women. Giles decided to head home to investigate further.

On his way home, Giles found a couple of vampires herding people into a truck. He managed to hold off the vampires with a cross while the humans escaped. However, a third vampire knocked him down. The others ganged up on him when Buffy arrived, staked two vampires, and scared two more away.

Giles took Buffy back to his apartment. He was interested in defeating Anyanka by destroying her power center, but Buffy only cared about killing vampires. She raided the Bronze and found it empty except for Angel, who was still in his cell. She did not believe his claim that he wanted to help her until she saw his scarred chest.

Meanwhile, The Master was giving a speech to a group of vampires and a cage full of humans, including Oz, Larry, and a Cordette. He apparently created a machine to take blood from a human and decided that the Cordette would be the first victim. She was being drained as Buffy and Angel entered the room.

Buffy shot a crossbow at the Master, but he used Xander as a shield. Angel went to free the humans, which got Oz into the fight. Xander was going to stab Buffy with the crossbow bolt that she shot into him, but Angel got in the way, and took the bolt to his heart. He quickly turned to dust. Buffy staked Xander soon afterward. Oz grabbed a shocked Willow and shoved her into a wooden protrusion.

As this was going on, Giles summoned Anyanka. She seemed proud of this new world that she created and was quite upset that someone with Y-chromosomes summoned her. Giles figured out that the amulet she was wearing was her power center and, despite her protests, smashed it just as the Master was snapping Buffy's neck.

We went back to Sunnydale when Cordelia originally made her wish. This time, nothing happened when Anya said, "done." The episode ended with Cordelia continuing to make wishes without anything changing in Sunnydale.

The Good

Although it might have felt like it, this was not an episode in which the actors had the opportunity to play different characters. Instead, this was an episode in which the actors had the opportunity to play the same characters in very different circumstances. The actors did a very good job in portraying that.

This episode took a lot of imagination to create. Marti Noxon gets a lot of credit, but it also took imagination from others such as the costume designers and the set decorators.

The Bad

It is hard to think of anything bad. Some people are upset that nothing seemed to change and that nobody seemed to learn anything from what happened in the episode, but I am not concerned.

Overall Rank: 14

Action: 8

Buffy rescued Giles from vampire attackers.

Buffy and Angel attacked the Master and his gang. In the fight, Xander killed Angel, Buffy killed Xander, Oz killed Willow, and The Master killed Buffy.

Comedy: 3

This episode contained a few humorous moments, mostly from or because of Cordelia.

Drama: 6

Xander and Willow tried to restore their relationships with Cordelia and Oz without any success.

Cordelia's wish created a darker version of Sunnydale.

Romance: 2

The vampire versions of Willow and Xander were clearly a couple

Character Development: 6

Cordelia apparently blamed Buffy for all of her problems rather than Xander, Willow, or herself. However, in the alternate reality, it did not take her too long to figure out that Buffy was needed.

Willow is feeling very guilty about hurting Oz and Cordelia. She wants to make up with Oz, but he is probably right. She just wants to feel better about herself.

Xander is in denial over his responsibility in the mess and in how hard it would be to fix it.

Anya(nka) is the only character who changed as a result of this episode. She started as a demon who punished unfaithful men and is now apparently a high school student without any special powers.

Importance: 7

It is impossible to explain how important this episode is without give spoilers.

Most Valuable Player: Giles

Giles gets the MVP for smashing Anyanka's amulet, thus restoring the better version of Sunnydale. Anyanka would get it for creating the interesting verion of Sunnydale, at least in her own eyes, but she lost the award when Giles defeated her.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

Cordelia quickly figured out that things were much better when Buffy was in town, but Giles gets the award for recognizing the significance of the amulet that Cordelia was wearing and for discovering the information about Anyanka.

Goat of the Week: Anyanka

Anyanka gets the Goat for this week for losing her amulet and being reduced to an existence as a high school student.

Random Commentary

I wonder whether it was Harmony or writer Marti Noxon who forgot that Cordelia actually dated Jonathan at the end of "Reptile Boy."

In my commentary for "Beauty & the Beasts," I made the comment that Buffy remakes of classic horror films tend to turn out poorly. However, this episode suggests that Buffy remakes of classic Christmas films, namely It's a Wonderful Life, turn out great.

DVD Extras

Original Script for those who care.

Memorable Dialogue

"OK, we kissed. It was a mistake, but I know that was positively the last time we were ever gonna kiss." Xander
"Darn tootin'!" Willow
"And they burst in, rescuing us, without even knocking? I mean, this is really all their fault." Xander
"Your logic does not resemble our earth logic." Buffy
"Mine is much more advanced." Xander

"Look, I'm sorry this is hard for you, but I told you what I need, so I can't help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can feel better about yourself. That's not my problem." Oz

"It's true. Cordelia belongs to the justified camp. She should make us pay, and pay and pay and pay. In fact, there's just not enough pay." Willow

"Listen to me. We have to find Buffy. She'll figure out a way to save us. She was supposed to be here, and as much as it kills me to admit it, things were better when she was around." Cordelia

"Bored now." Willow

"I wish us into Bizarro Land and you guys are still together? I cannot win." Cordelia

"You have to get Buffy. Buffy changes it. It wasn't like this. It was better, I mean, the clothes alone, but people were happy, mostly." Cordelia

"So Cordelia wished for something? Well, if it was a long, healthy life, she should get her money back." Oz

"OK, the entire world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish?" Larry

"Why don't I just put a stake through her heart?" Buffy
"She's not a vampire." Giles
"Well, you'd be surprised how many things that'll kill." Buffy

"World is what it is. We fight; we die. Wishing doesn't change that." Buffy
"I have to believe in a better world." Giles
"Go ahead, I have to live in this one." Buffy

"Behold the technical wonder, which is about to alter the very fabric of our society. Some have argued that such an advancement goes against our nature. They claim that death is our art. I say to them... Well, I don't say anything to them because I kill them. Undeniably, we are the world's superior race, yet we have always been too parochial, too bound by the mindless routine of the predator. Hunt and kill, hunt and kill. Titillating? Yes. Practical? Hardly. Meanwhile, the humans, with their plebeian minds, have brought us a truly demonic concept: mass production!" The Master

"You trusting fool, how do you know the other world is any better than this." Anyanka
"Because it has to be." Giles

"I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale." Cordelia
"Done." Anya
"That would be cool. No, wait, I wish Buffy Summers had never been born." Cordelia
"Done!" Anya
"And I wish that Xander Harris never again knows the touch of a woman, and that Willow wakes up tomorrow covered in monkey hair." Cordelia
"Done." Anya
"In fact, I wish all men, except maybe the dumb and the really agreeable kind, disappear off the face of the Earth. That would be so cool!" Cordelia

Characters in Peril


Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Giles Unconscious

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 14, 2012