Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6, Episode 3

After Life (9 Oct. 2001)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 873 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

As Buffy and the Scoobies adjust to her resurrection, they find themselves dealing with a mysterious spirit-demon brought back with her.



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Title: After Life (09 Oct 2001)

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Episode cast overview:
Lisa Hoyle ...


As Buffy and the Scoobies adjust to her resurrection, they find themselves dealing with a mysterious spirit-demon brought back with her.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 October 2001 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Though knowing that the two witches (Willow very mostly) are responsible for Buffy's resurrection - and being after all glad by this - Spike accuses just Xander to have violated the nature's laws. See more »


Anya compares the evolution of a bookstore to a coffee-bookstore to a coffee shop with biological evolution, only without the "getting better" part. But that is a common misconception of Darwin's theory of evolution, which imparts no value judgment on adaptations. See more »


Buffy: The photographs o-of us. They changed.
Tara Maclay: How did they change?
Buffy: They were dead. I-I mean, we were dead, like, um, dead bodies. But-but then they were okay. So I just, you know, figured it was me. I was going crazy.
Anya: Well, maybe you are going crazy, from hell.
[Willow and Xander look at her incredulously]
Anya: No. You're fine.
See more »


References I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

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User Reviews

Spike finds out that Buffy's alive
2 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Is this the best BTVS episode? Nope. But, I still love it. It has some of the most beautiful moments of the entire season thanks to Spike. Granted, I'm always gushing about Spike (and Angel, when he's on. I have a real soft spot for both of our Vampire Champions.) But, trust me, "Afterlife" is really something special. This is the episode where Spike discovers that Buffy's alive and it's just incredibly powerful. There's also a ghost thing that's haunting the Scoobies. And Buffy admits that she wasn't exactly in a hell dimension, after all. So this is actually an important episode and I highly recommend that you give it a shot.

"Afterlife" picks up right where "Bargaining Part Two" leaves off. Dawn has taken Buffy home. Spike walks in and is overwhelmed to see Buffy alive again. When the Scoobies show up, Spike goes back to his usual spot by the tree in the front yard. (Only this time instead of staring at the house, he's looking up at the sky and crying.) He soon gets into a fight with Xander, feeling a a mixture shock that Buffy's back and of hurt that the Scoobies shut him out. Even Xander seems puzzled over why they didn't tell Spike. He knows that Spike loves Buffy, he even tells Spike that seeing her had to be "the happiest moment of your whole existence." Then Spike claims that it was because Willow knew something might go wrong with the spell. If Buffy came back, any part of Buffy, he would have fought to keep her. But Willow was afraid that they might need to kill her again. (Actually, this sort of ties in with season five's "Forever" where Dawn brings Joyce back. Buffy is initially furious, but when she thinks that her mother's at the door, she completely forgets her earlier complaints and rushes towards her calling "Mommy." She wanted whatever part of her mother she could get. It was Dawn who had to end the spell.) Xander is worried about Spike's accusations about Willow's magic having consequences.

That night an demon attacks the Scoobies, possessing them one by one. As they investigate they realize that it is a side effect of the resurrection spell. Meanwhile, Buffy is feeling disconnected and lost. When the demon tries to kill her and she has to fight it. Later, she finally thanks Willow and the others for bringing her back. But, then she admits to Spike that she lied. She was in heaven and Willow's spell ripped her out. She's miserable to be alive again, but she doesn't want her friends to know.

There's a lot to like about this episode. I like the ghost thing visiting Willow and challenging her about killing the little deer. Willow crossed a line when she did that and it's interesting that the ghost knew that it could push her buttons by bringing it up. And Dawn actually isn't so annoying in this episode, as she tries to take care of Buffy. Also, the truth about Buffy's time in heaven is somehow shocking and somehow not. Clearly Buffy deserved a happy afterlife. (Besides, I don't think that you can die saving the world and wind up in hell, but I'll hold off on that argument until "Angel" season five's "Hell Bound.") The Scoobies wanted Buffy back to badly that they didn't bother to consider that Buffy might be somewhere better now. Her agony at being back on earth will haunt her all season.

The real star of "Afterlife" is Spike, though. He's not even in it that much, it's just that his scenes dominate the entire episode. Buffy comes walking down the stairs and Spike slowly realizes that she's really the "really real Buffy" and not just the Buffy-bot. The disbelief and hope and wonder and gratitude on his face as he gazes up at her are just incredible. Without saying a word, he completely reestablishes Spike's love for Buffy. He's scared to even touch her, for fear she'll disappear. Then he tells her exactly how many days she's been gone, and holds her hands, it's just beautiful. Later in the episode, Buffy goes to his tomb. His speech, where he apologizes for not protecting Dawn from Doc last season in "The Gift" is one of the best monologues in all of BTVS. By the time he gets to the "every night I save you" part, it's pretty clear that this isn't our normal wise ass, sarcastic, Spike. This is William, the poetic side of Spike that he usually tries so hard to hide. The final Spike scene in the episode is outside the Magic Box. Buffy goes out there to be alone and finds him loitering on some boxes. And as she unloads he troubles on him, Spike just stares at her. Even she seems surprised by how much she's told him, but she's also trusting him not to repeat any of it. And he doesn't. Really, it's all just brilliant and heartbreaking and one of the highlights of the season.

On the down side, how come we never get the full story on how Spike rose as a vampire? He's implying here that after Dru bit him, she buried him in a grave. Did she use a coffin for Spike, though? He apparently didn't have a funeral, because his mother didn't even know that he was dead. (See season seven's "Lies My Parents Told Me.") Angel and Darla weren't there. (See "Angel" season five's "Destiny.") There seem to be some loose ends and I want to know what really happened after Dru turned William/Spike in that alley way.

My favorite (non-Spike) part of the episode: Anya talking about Buffy's resurrection. "I knew it was going to end badly. I should have said something." Her "I told you so," blasé, dismissive sort of tone always cracks me up.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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