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AFTER LIFE (ep #6.03)

(a.k.a. Heaven, I [Was] in Heaven)

Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: David Solomon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Guest Starring: Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
Co-Starring: Lisa Hoyle as Demon

Plot Summary

The characters dealt with a demon that they created when they brought back Buffy.

Plot Details

The episode opened with Willow, Anya, Tara, and Xander wandering through Sunnydale. The amount of fire in the town was definitely not comforting. However, Tara's heroics in the previous episode meant that the demon bikers were fleeing town. Willow was worried about the effect that being in a hell dimension might have had on Buffy.

Meanwhile, Dawn brought her sister home and helped her wash up. Dawn tried to fill Buffy in on the changes that occurred over the summer, mostly involving Willow and Tara moving in, but Buffy seemed unresponsive.

Eventually, Spike returned looking for Dawn. He started to chew her out for running off, but he stopped mid rant when he saw that Dawn was with Buffy, and not the Buffybot. He was nearly speechless. He recognized the wounds on her hands as coming from clawing her way out of a coffin. He sent Dawn to get first aid supplies while he talked with Buffy. The others burst in and started babbling to Buffy. Fortunately, Dawn kept the others in check.

As Xander and Anya left, Spike confronted him over not being notified about the resurrection. Spike concluded that he was kept out because Willow knew that Buffy might have come back wrong. If that happened, Willow would have to kill her, which Spike would not allow.

As they went to bed, Willow confided to Tara that she was worried about Buffy. Willow remembered Buffy telling her what Angel was like when he came back from a hell dimension in the beginning of the third season. Tara believed that they were all assuming the worst would happened, so they were looking at what was going wrong. Willow also admitted that she wished that Buffy were more grateful that she was back. Meanwhile, Buffy was looking at pictures of her and her friends. For a moment, the faces were replaced by skulls.

Willow and Tara were sleeping when glass shattered above their heads. Buffy was at the foot of their bed and lectured them including oblique references to Willow murdering a fawn in "Bargaining Part 1." Willow turned on the light, and Buffy was gone. There was no broken glass and Buffy was asleep in her bed. There was a visual effect crawling around the walls.

Willow went to call Xander. He was asleep, but Anya was restless and wanted to play a word game. While Xander was on the phone, Anya, with all white eyes, walked toward him cutting her face with a large knife. She collapsed, and the same visual effect crawled around the walls.

The next morning, Anya, Willow, Tara, and Xander discussed what they saw. Anya theorized that something hitched a ride with Buffy as she left Hell. The general consensus seemed to be just to kill it. Buffy arrived and was interested in killing something.

After a long research session, the group found five types of demons that move between dimensions. Buffy decided that she had enough researching and wanted to patrol. Dawn hinted that she wanted Buffy to stay, but Buffy did not get the hint. Meanwhile, Dawn's eyes turned white. Dawn walked toward the others and lectured them about resurrecting Buffy. She then breathed fire onto the books and collapsed. Tara went to tend to Dawn while Xander put out the fire. The visual effect crawled along the floor.

As the sun rose, Xander asked Tara if she or Willow knew that there would be negative consequences from the spell. Tara got defensive and Xander backed off.

Meanwhile, Willow figured out that no demon hitched a ride with Buffy from Hell. Instead, the resurrection spell created a demon. Its body does not exist in this dimension, so it must possess the others. Undoing the spell could destroy the demon. This greatly upset Dawn who did not want to lose Buffy again. Willow soon found that the demon would simply dissipate soon unless it killed Buffy. Unfortunately, the demon was possessing Xander and heard this.

The demon turned into a ghostly visual effect and appeared in Buffy's house. It started lecturing her and telling her that she did not belong. It could attack her physically, but she could not attack it.

Xander, Anya, and Dawn went to warn Buffy while Willow and Tara cast a spell to make the demon corporeal. Once they succeeded, Buffy easily decapitated it. Fortunately, it did not spill any blood and make a mess.

The next day, Buffy sent Dawn off to school. Dawn told her that things were bad when she was gone, but they will get better when the others could see Buffy being happy. Buffy went to the Magic Box and thanked Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara for bringing her back from Hell. After a group hug, Buffy went outside and admitted to Spike that she was really in Heaven.

The Good

Having Buffy torn out of Heaven was a nice twist.

The Bad

The name of the writer of this episode looked like Jane Espenson, but this did not feel like one of her episodes. She is at her best when she blends comedy with drama. However, there was very little comedy and the drama was spotty. Furthermore, she is arguably the most quotable writer on the staff other than Joss Whedon. This was one of the least quotable episodes of the show.

Overall Rank: 120

Action: 2

Buffy decapitated the thaumogenesis demon.

Comedy: 1

Anya had a couple of good lines

Drama: 6

The other characters worried about Buffy.

Spike talked about how he saved Buffy many times, but only in his mind.

Dawn was upset at the possibility that the others might un-resurrect Buffy in order to get rid of the demon.

Buffy admitted to Spike that she was pulled out of heaven rather than rescued from Hell.

Romance: 3

Willow and Tara cuddled in bed, once again testing UPN censors.

Character Development: 5

Dawn did a good job playing a nurturing role for Buffy when they both arrived home.

Spike was very hurt to have been kept out of the loop concerning Buffy's resurrection.

Willow reluctantly admitted that she was worried about Buffy and wanted to be thanked for bringing her back.

Buffy was really in heaven, not hell, but she does not want the others to know. She appears to be comfortable with Spike.

Importance: 5

The demon bikers have left town.

Buffy is slowly recovering from being cast out of heaven.

Spike, and we, now know that Buffy was really in heaven.

Most Valuable Player: Tara

Both Willow and Tara cast the spell that caused the thaumogenesis demon to become corporeal. Willow got the Sherlock Holmes, so Tara gets her second MVP in a row. Buffy gets credit for decapitating the demon and Dawn and Spike both did a good job in taking care of Buffy.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Willow

Willow figured out that the hauntings were caused by thaumogenesis to earn this award.

Goat of the Week: Thaumogenesis Demon

The thaumogenesis demon gets the Goat for spending too much time taunting Buffy rather than simply killing her quickly. This gave Willow and Tara time to cast the spell to make it corporeal and easy to kill.


I wonder what Buffy meant when she said that she knew that everyone she cared about was all right. Either she was using a weird definition of "all right" or she had a false sense, because the characters were definitely not "all right" by any definition that I would use.

Memorable Dialogue

"Look, fire. Fire's rarely a sign of imminent safety." Anya

"Jet lag from Hell has gotta be jet lag from Hell." Anya

"I do remember what I said, the promise to protect her. If I'd have done that, even if I didn't make it, you wouldn't have had to jump, but I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but after that, every night after that. I'd see it all again. I do something different, faster, more clever, you know, dozens of times, lots of different ways. Every night, I save you." Spike

"I was happy. Wherever I was, I was happy, at peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn't mean anything. Nothing had form, but I was still me, you know, and I was warm, and I was loved, and I was finished, complete. I don't understand theology or dimensions, any of it, really, but I think I was in Heaven, and now I'm not. I was torn out of there, pulled out, by my friends. Everything here is hard and bright and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch, this is Hell. Just getting through the next moment and the one after that, knowing what I've lost. They can never know, never." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Unusual Pairings

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 December 2, 2012