Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 6, Episode 17

Normal Again (12 Mar. 2002)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 978 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

After Buffy is stung by a demon, she begins to have vivid day-dreams about a mental asylum. She gradually begins to believe that she is a crazy girl back in L.A and that Sunnydale and all her friends are just a figment of her imagination.



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Title: Normal Again (12 Mar 2002)

Normal Again (12 Mar 2002) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anya (credit only)
Lorraine Ross
Sarah Scivier ...


After being poisoned by a demon, Buffy comes to believe that she is confined to a mental hospital, her mother is alive, her parents are still together, and that her life as a Slayer has all been an hallucination for the past six years. Deciding that she prefers this "normal" life with her parents, Buffy attempts to destroy the things that tether her to the "fantasy" life of the Slayer: her friends. Written by Alex

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Fantasy


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 March 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Buffy's pre-Sunnydale experience in an asylum was later told in the comic book "Slayer, Interrupted", a title reference to Girl, Interrupted (1999) which co-starred Clea DuVall who appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Out of Mind, Out of Sight (1997). See more »


When Buffy punches the demon, her fist is clean when she pulls it back, but when next we see her a couple of seconds later, her hand is dripping goo. See more »


Joyce Summers: I know you're afraid. I know the world feels like a hard place, sometimes. But you've got people who love you. Your dad and I, we have all the faith in the world in you. We'll always be with you. You have got a world of strength in your heart. I know you do. You just have to find it again. Believe in yourself.
See more »


References Ocean's Eleven (2001) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
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User Reviews

Is all we see and seem?
2 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Good; Some great acting from SMG, lovely to see Kristine/Joyce again. Also I really like the idea of Tara to the rescue, so lovely that she get's to play the hero for once.

The Bad; Nothing bad, just a depressing ep

Best line; Spike; "You didn't say it was a Glarg gul cashmanik demon!" Xander; "Because I can't pronounce Glarg gul..."

Captain Subtext; Will sees Tara smooching with another girl but it might be just platonic. Spike uses the term poof of Xander. Also see Missing Scenes. Buffy says that once you fall for Willow you stay fallen.

Guantanamo Bay; Rather ruthless that Xander just wants to go down to the basement and execute the demon

Missing scenes; (reputedly) BUFFY: "I could wrestle naked in oil for a living and still be cleaner than after a shift at the Doublemeat". WILLOW: "Plus I'd come to visit you every single day".

Dawn in peril; 9 yes but in fairness the same as everyone else. She seems pretty resourceful both against evil-Buffy and the demon in the basement.

What the fanficcers thought; Obviously a lot of fic in this regard but I have 3 favourites. In one Buffy wakes up as an old woman in the asylum and promptly chucks herself out the window. The paramedics wonder why this dead old lady has such a smile on her face whilst back in the Buffyverse Dawn wakes Buffy up to join her friends for breakfast. Number 2 also has the same premise but in this one old Buffy turns her delusion into a series of bestselling novels/TV series and uses the money to start an orphanage called Sunnydale, naming all the kids after the Scoobies and her parents. Best of all though is 'No Place Like Home' which has Buffy awakening from her delusion just after the end of Chosen, still only 23 in the real world. She returns to her normal life with her old friends from Hemery High (who are all still alive as the deaths in the movie/Lie to Me never happened) but convinces a pregnant Joyce to call her new daughter Dawn.

Questions and observations; Actually for once it's Dawn who strokes Buffy's hair (and Joyce does the same thing to asylum Buffy). Buffy acknowledges for the first time that Dawn is taller. No Anya at all for the first time in 2 seasons. If you want to know how Buffy fared during her time in the asylum you can find it in the original Buffy comics (the fifty or so published whilst the show was still on air rather than the current post-Chosen/season 8 series). Although perhaps more fun is the story of Dawn and Hoopy Bear that occurred whilst Buffy was away.

There are probably about a thousand reasons why the premise of Normal Again (that Sunnydale is the delusion of Buffy who's a mad girl in an asylum) can't be true but here are just a few that occur to me off the top of my head;

1. How does stuff happen in the Buffyverse that Buffy never knows about? Giles' questions about her killing Angel, Xander's 'Kick his ass' comment in Becoming pt2, all of Angel;TS but especially 'I will remember you'? And notice we only ever see the asylum from Buffy's point of view, she's in every scene.

2. How can Hank, Joyce and Ford exist in both Buffy's delusion and the 'real world'?

3. Why is Buffy's delusion in Sunnydale not happier than real life? Surely her delusion is supposed to be an escape?

4. The asylum can't be Buffy's ideal if it doesn't have Dawn in it

5. How can Buffy be aware of current events (Tom and Nicole, Gatorade's new flavour, Star Trek; Enterprise) if she's a mad girl in the asylum?

6. If Buffy had a momentary awakening when she was dead why doesn't she remember it? The asylum is far from heaven.

7. What about when Buffy runs away from her calling after the end of season 2? She's a normal girl in the real world and also in her delusion?

8. How can Buffy be in a fugue state in Weight of the World within her delusion? And how exactly can she be inside Faith's dreams in 'This Year's Girl'?

On the other hand...?

The final scene on Buffy has Sunnydale destroyed, the Hellmouth sealed forever, literally and figuratively defeating her demons and HERSELF in the shape of the First Evil, the Slayer's work done. Faith tells Buffy that from now on she's going to have to live as a normal person. Dawn wonders what Buffy is going to do now? Buffy smiles her enigmatic little smile...and wakes up in the asylum, her sanity restored. She resumes her normal life, still only 23, all her friends who died in the film still alive as indeed is Joyce who is still together with Hank. She becomes a successful author of supernatural stories based on her delusion which are turned into movies and a TV series. And calls her children (and Joyce and Hanks beloved grandchildren) Dawn, Willow, Rupert, Faith and Alexander.

Third explanation of course, both are true, asylum Buffy and Sunnydale Buffy are both real in their alternate realities and have some sort of subconscious link. Post-Chosen asylum Buffy regains her sanity after 7 years, still only 23 and enjoys her normal life once more (because with thousands of Slayers to share the burden Sunnydale Buffy can also now lead a fairly ordinary life) but the season 8 comics are her dreams/successful literary creations which are the reality for Sunnydale Buffy.

Marks out of 10; 6/10 clever but not much fun

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