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"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Wish (#3.9)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" The Wish (1998)

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52 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

A very cool episode that introduces Anya

Author: katierose295 from United States
1 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wish this was a two part episode. Granted, it does have a companion episode, "Dopplegangland," later in the season. But "The Wish," with it's dark image of a Sunnydale without Buffy, is just so interesting and fun that you want it to keep going. The episode is also our first glimpse of Anya, who will become a large part of the show in the seasons to come. All in all, it's a wonderful episode that you really shouldn't skip if you're watching the show.

The story is is a kind of dark "It's a Wonderful Life." Angry that Xander kissed Willow, Cordy has dumped him for good. Unfortunately, the rumors of their break-up are filling the school, labeling Cordelia "Xander Harris's cast off." Harmony is back to making fun of Cordy and most of Sunnydale High is treating her like a social leaper. The exceptions to the ostracism are Buffy and the new girl in town, Anya. Buffy keeps trying to befriend Cordy, but her efforts backfire and cause Cordelia even more embarrassment. Anya, on the other hand, is someone Cordy can really talk to. She knows Prada from Pay-Less and is more than willing to listen to all of Cordy's woes. Cordelia no longer blames Xander for her troubles... Now she blames Buffy. Buffy came to town and everything changed. Xander became cooler, Cordelia started noticing him, and now her life was a mess. Talking with Anya, she wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale.

Little does she know that Anya is a vengeance demon. She grants wishes for scorned women. Suddenly, Sunnydale is a very different place. Cordy is popular again, but there are far less students to lord it over. Buffy never coming to town, means that the Master has risen. He and his followers have taken over the town. Willow and Xander are vampires. Oz, Larry and Giles are a smaller band of Scoobies. And Angel is locked up in a cage. (Whenever Cordy wishes them into an alternate reality, things turn out badly for Angel. See, "Happy Birthday" over on "Angel" for another example of the poor guy being chained to a wall after one of her "let's change the past" deals.)

It doesn't take Cordy long to realize that they need Buffy back again. She tries to explain things to Giles, but Xander and Willow eat her before she can really tell him the whole story. Giles understands enough to call Cleveland, home of the second Hellmouth, looking for Buffy. When she arrives though, she's not the perky girlish Buffy we all know. She's actually kinna like... Faith. She blows off Giles warnings and heads off to face the Master. Giles, investigating the rests of Cordelia's tale, calls on Anya and begins devising a plan to return Sunnydale to normal.

There's a lot to like about this episode. I really love Anya, so it's nice to finally have her on the show. And I enjoy the whole idea of Dark Sunnydale. It's just a very cool story line. Sunnydale High's monthly memorial services and dwindling population in the non-Buffy reality are pretty funny. She really does deserve the Class Protector Award later in the season. Also, it's interesting to see the characters interacting, but not knowing each other. Giles calls Buffy "Miss Summers" and clearly finds her annoying. Buffy stakes vampire Xander and Oz helps stake vampire Willow. Buffy is utterly unmoved by Angel's dusting, although, in the real world, her pain over his death nearly kills her. It's all pretty interesting.

I do have a few problems with the episode, but they're mostly because "The Wish" just isn't long enough for all the fun stuff they could have done. First of all, Darla should have been in the episode. Without her attack on Buffy in season one's "Angel," and her subsequent death at Angel's hands, Darla would still be serving at the Master's side. And shouldn't Jenny still be alive? She came to town to watch Angel and he never lost his soul in this reality, so he didn't kill her. It would be really interesting to have Giles and Jenny relatively happy together in this "wrong Sunnydale." In order to put the world back to "normal," Giles would have to give her up again. Also, it's a shame that they didn't mention that Wesley was Buffy's Cleveland watcher. Just for fun.

My favorite part of the episode: Evil Willow and Xander.

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

One of the best episodes of the series

Author: Gore_Won from
8 December 2012

I'm watching this again years after the first viewing, and it's as good as I remember it. It is sad, yet hopeful. It is serious, but with humor, dark humor. It is poignant, and shows what could have been. And it is joyous.

Some shows aren't as good years later when you watch them again. Some episodes of Buffy, like many in the second season (besides the obviously pivotal ones, aren't as good as I remember them. But this episode shows two worlds without rushing through either. It is fast-paced, yet deliberate.

It is perfect.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

It's a Frightful Life

Author: gizmomogwai from Canada
8 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Wish is a what if? tale in which Cordelia, bitter over her break-up with Xander, wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale and is granted her wish by a demon called Anya. As one would expect, the Sunnydale Cordelia finds herself in is overrun by vampires. They are led by the Master, the main villain from season 1, who is free and still alive, and who has plans to use a new machine to drain blood out of humans.

The episode starts off as a teen drama in which Willow and Xander have to face the consequences of their kiss. I don't watch Buffy for this kind of material, but it was not actually bad. I watch for vampire-based action and humour, and eventually got plenty of that here when Cordelia makes her wish. (For humour, we have the dog-faced girl joke and Buffy noting a stake through the heart will kill more than vampires). The writers take advantage of the opportunity of an alternate universe and make the characters different in an interesting way. Willow and Xander are vampires, so we see them as evil versions of themselves. Buffy's bad, apparently because she doesn't have Giles as a positive role model, although we previously saw her like this in When She Was Bad. Then the episode kills off most major characters- Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia and Angel- which would be shocking if these deaths had occurred in the normal reality. The machine and overall story are dark, and it was fun to explore this world. This is the best episode since Becoming.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The One Where Willow And Xander Are Vampires...

Author: Taylor Kingston from Australia
7 March 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love this episode. I can not stress enough about how much I love this episode. It's one of my all-time favorite episodes from the season and defiantly is in my Top 5 episodes from the entire series. You may look at the title and go, "What?! Willow and Xander as vampires?! How can that be possible?" Don't worry, it doesn't make any difference to the rest of the show, considering this episode takes place in an alternate reality.

In this episode, still heartbroken over Xander, Cordelia makes a wish to her new friend Anya, saying she wished Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. And Anya made that wish happen. The world is now a dark, scary place, where there is a curfew before sundown because vampires have come out to the world and rule the town when the sun is gone. Cordelia needs to get used to the changes, such as not being allowed to drive, not being able to wear bright and colorful outfits, since they attract vampires. And when she asks about Willow and Xander, to find out if they're miserable, she discovers that they're dead. But when she comes across Willow and Xander, who are dating, by the way, she is terrified to learn that they aren't dead, they're undead. They're vampires. They chase Cordelia who is saved by Oz and Giles and taken to the school, before she eventually is killed. Giles finds out that they need the Slayer to come, so he calls Buffy, who isn't happy to be summoned. The Master who was released and who is the boss of the vampires, has a plan to suck the blood out of everyone in Sunnydale, using a machine. How almost 21st Century of him. In the end, Willow and Xander are killed, and so is Angel who was being kept prisoner by The Master. Buffy kills The Master and Giles confronts Anya, and destroys her necklace, which sends the world back to the way it was, the second before Cordelia made the wish. Wow, I really went into detail with this episode, which just shows how many times I've seen it and how much I love it.

Overall, I give this episode a 10 out of 10.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Dark reality of Sunnydale, without Buffy in it.

Author: TKaran94 from Bulgaria
7 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It was a good episode. I liked Cordelia - she seemed scared, but comprehensive. Giles was Giles as always, Buffy was something like Faith, although I loved her hair . I also liked how the new rules took place, although I couldn't quite figure out why wouldn't the students be allowed to drive. Driving must be safer than walking, when there are a lot of wandering vampires around, right?

What made me an impression though, was that in this reality that Cordelia wished for - Xander and Willow were pretty much - the new Spike and Drusilla. Especially Willow, I mean except for the visions. What do you guys say about that?

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

What could have been?

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
25 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Good; All of it! Just wonderful! Great reveal of Anya the demon and the action sequences especially

The Bad; Surely in vamp-dominated Sunnydale people would prefer to let their kids drive home from SDH?

Best line; Buffy; "Your logic is not like our earth logic"

Character death; Everyone except Giles, Larry, Harmony and Oz. But then thankfully they're all alive again. Cordy's death is particularly disturbing. Of course the obvious question is what about all the people who died in the proper Buffyverse? It would have been a nice touch if Jenny, Jessie and Principle Flutie were still alive at SDH, if Nancy was actually Theresa from Phases. And of course if Buffy never died in the Master's pool then Kendra is still alive too

Shot; VampXander is hit by Buffy's crossbow

Tied up; Angel in chains

Knocked out; Giles and Oz

Women good/men bad; If anything with Vampwillow we see female-kind at it's worse. The way Harmony and co treat Cordy is horrible, you really feel for her but I guess it's revenge for her 'Sheep' speech.

Kinky dinky; Where do you begin? PVC-clad VampWillow plays no-safety-word S&M sex games with 'Puppy' whilst leather-clad vampXander watches. Buffy thinks the hero worship that everyone shows her in Sunnydale is a 'get in my pants thing'.

Calling Captain Subtext; vampWillow has obvious lesbian overtones (her killing of both Cordy and the Master's victim is almost akin to snuff). However she still digs Xander and Angel so it's still more than likely she's bi rather than gay.

Guantanamo Bay; Plenty of torture but only by the bad guys

Questions and observations Staggeringly brilliant in every way and anyone who doesn't think so should be locked up as a danger to themselves and others. Great ending too, cool, touching and funny, wonderful music. Plus Jonathon AND Larry, great.

What is the Mayor doing in Master dominated Sunnydale? And the Initiative? Where are Darla and Luke, killed by the White Hat's? Where are Hank and Joyce? Who is the Watcher Giles talks to on the telephone? Wesley? Sam Zebuto (Kendra's Watcher)? Gwendoline Post? Giles refers to demonic activity in Cleveland which will be referenced in Chosen as Giles says there's a 2nd Hellmouth there (presumably inactive?) We always knew Buffy was an exceptional Slayer and that the Watcher's found her late but here we see that without Giles and the Scoobies' help she ends up battle-hardened, emotionally cut off and with the Slayer death-wish, just like all the others. Interesting to compare 'The Wish' Buffy with Faith (and what's happening to her in the Wishverse?) And here's Anya, no sign as yet that she'll become a major character and appear in the opening credits.

Now, where does the Wishverse lie in the continuity of things? I figure it's a dead end, a right angle to the real time-stream that stops dead at the moment Giles smashes the pendant. Of course what happens if the Wishverse had continued? Well with all respect to Kendra I don't see her lasting that long leaving it to Faith to defeat The Master. So that would mean that Dawn is Faith's sister, Giles her Watcher, a grieving Joyce and Hank surrogate parents to both LeHane girls and Larry, Oz, Harmony and Amy as the Scoobygang? Would that make Spike the PTB's souled-vamp champion, just try picturing him and Doyle as a team. Interesting to wonder, huh? Once read a great fanfic called 'Backwardsworld' where all the Scoobys are vamps but this meant that the valiant Darla was the Slayer and The Mayor, Adam, a human Spike and Dru, Glory and the Nerds were all good guys and made up her alternate Scooby Gang. It says a lot for the depth of character Joss gives his villains that the concept actually worked really well, that they all could have been heroes if things had taken a different path.

Actually Cordy has dated Jonathon before or at least let him buy her a muffin at the Bronze in Inca Mummy Girl. We hear the gang go on about how Faith has become more and more distant since the events of Revalations, Buffy has sympathy for her and we later see she wouldn't have been too different to her under other circumstances. You have to agree with Oz turning Will down, he's right as to her motivations. You note that although things are bad in SD the Harvest wasn't the end of the world it was advertised to be, the rest of the world goes on pretty much unaffected. How do they dispose of all the demon bodies they leave lying around? Legend has it there's a girl looking just like Faith amongst the prisoners at the Factory. Eliza Dushku however has stated at a convention that this definitely isn't her, she wasn't even on set that day. Popular explanation is that this is her stand in/stunt double earning some spare cash as an extra.

10/10 and a whole lot more

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The Best BTVS Episode Yet

Author: WakenPayne from Valhalla
31 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

And I Have Seen "Once More With Feeling". Wanting to be rid of Xander for good, Cordelia comes to the conclusion that Buffy is the cause of all her problems and makes a wish to the new transfer student, Anya, that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. Anya, being the evil and powerful vengeance demon Anyanka, grants that that wish and in a heartbeat... the entire world changes... and everything Cordelia knows is completely different. In this alternate reality of 'It's a Wonderful Life gone to Hell': the Master is alive and rules the town after dark from the Bronze; both Xander and Willow are vampires; and Giles with a small group of brave students, called The White Hats, are fighting a losing war of attrition against the vampires on their own. Then in a shocking turn, Cordelia gets killed by the vamps, leaving the alternate reality Giles to figure out on his own what has happened to this world they currently live in, leading to a meeting with the alternate reality Buffy. This Shows What Would've Happened If Buffy Never Came To Sunnydale. The Master Rises For The Harvest & Xander & Willow Die. Anyone Who Says Daybreakers Was Original Should Look At This. The Reason I Like This Is Because It Shows Anya Before She Became An Idiot Or Human & She Is A Good Villain & So Is Xander & Willow (Vamp Form) & Just Before Giles Destroys The Gem Of Anyanka You See All The Characters You Know & Love From Buffy Die Right Before Your Eyes...Even Buffy(If You Like Oz Then He Doesn't Die But Thats The Only Person Who Doesn't Besides Giles). This Also Shows The Master At His Full Strength. The Buffy Episode That Garuanteed Any Buffy Fan Will Love. Why Don't They Make TV Shows With These Kind Of Episodes Anymore?

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1 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Not Very Good

Author: rumblinglove from Bahrain
31 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The first time 'The Wish' was aired on television, I watched yet but haven't really concentrated cause we had a party in our house and I had guests and everybody was talking; even though i just saw few clips from the episode, i directly thought of it as a good episode that i need to see again carefully. And I did saw it again carefully when it had a re-run few days ago from now. It was good but not as good as i remember. Willow's attitude when she was a vampire was sourt of annoying and slightly funny in this episode, vampire Willow's attitude was better in the episode 'Doppelgangland'. However vampire Xander slightly got me to my last nerves; when Xander played bad in the sixth episode of the show's first season 'The Pack', it was much better. I also think that the ending of this episode was so simple; it could've been written much better in my opinion. I disliked the master's plan of a new invention to have fresh blood it was just so laaaaaaaaaaaame. I also hated the sound effect which appeared when Buffy interrupted the master's party and kicking some ass.

However, I probably should mention what i like about this episode. I liked Cordelia in the scenes where she was trying to avoid the scooby gang and mainly Xander. I also liked how Buffy showed up in the other world. I also liked the scenes involving Giles and Demon Anya.

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