BTVS Season 8 #3: The Long Way Home, Part 3

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

 

“This is a true love spell. Buffy needs to be kissed by someone who’s in love with her. And someone in this room is. They might not even have realised it, and they probably don’t want anyone to know about it. So everybody’s gonna shut their eyes, and keep ‘em shut if they wanna keep ‘em, and that person is gonna step forward and give Buffy a kiss.” – Willow Rosenberg

 

Synopsis

 

Buffy’s still trapped inside her living nightmare. She has no idea what’s going on or who’s behind it. A shadowy figure is offering her a helping hand, “My love, he called me my love. And then I threw up a little in my mouth.” Says Buffy, as she realises the person coming to her aid is none other than, Ethan Rayne. Buffy demands to know how this chaos worshipping sorcerer got inside her dream. Ethan explains that they’re not merely in a dream. They’re in Buffy’s Dreamspace. 

 

“You are always dreaming every dream you could dream all the time. Even when you’re awake, a part of you is stirring that brew. Which one you remember in the morning is based on wishes, anxieties – in your case, your Slayer memory and prophesies are mixed in as well. It’s a vast and fascinating place. Everywhere you turn, a part of you.” – Ethan Rayne

 

Ethan invites Buffy to take a look at one of her dreams. He pulls back a curtain revealing Buffy in a nurse’s costume. She’s sandwiched between a very naked Angel and Spike. Buffy quickly pulls the curtains shut in embarrassment, and explains that it’s been a slow year. Ethan informs Buffy that she’s been trapped in her Dreamspace and that they need to move fast and find a way out, because the outside world is in peril.

 

Outside Buffy's Dreamspace, all hell has broken loose. Willow and Amy are locked in battle, flying high above the castle grounds. The rest of the castles defense are busy fighting off Amy’s incoming wave of Zombies. “Oh, man, this craft is weak. Didn’t you almost destroy the world one time? Now you can’t even put up a fight! What happened?” Amy jibes. “I saw the big picture. But, you, Amy… you’re as self-involved as your mom was. You think I’m fighting you. I’m just absorbing your mojo. So I can decode it.” Willow retorts, before absorbing some of Amy’s magic and blasting her to the ground. Willow overpowers Amy’s control over the Zombies. She alters the spell, so that now all they wanna do is dance. With the help of Dawn, our new resident giant, Willow defeats Amy and traps her in a magical force field. During the battle, Willows hair went dark for a brief moment. Dawn asks if she’s evil again, to which Willow replies “It’ll fade. She just really pissed me off.”

 

As Buffy spirals through her Dreamspace, we catch glimpses of her past. They feature some iconic moments from the show. Ethan tells her that there’s a memory in the mix that they need. They end up in a rat cage and Buffy figures out that Amy’s the one behind her mystical coma. Ethan is standing inside three large crossbeams. They are in the shape of X’s. He tells Buffy to remember what she sees here. He leaves her with a cryptic message “Twilight is Falling. You’re going to need all the help you can get. Pet.”

 

Outside, Willow orders everyone in the room to shut their eyes. She demands that everyone keeps them shut, so that the person who’s in love with Buffy can anonymously step forward and kiss her. The room complies and Buffy wakes up shouting,Cinnamon Buns! (We don’t get to see who kissed her in this issue.)

 

Meanwhile, Giles is on his own mission. He’s interrogating a demon in an effort to gain more info about the myserious symbol. The demon is of the same species that we encountered in the church in the first issue. The demon is angry, three of his brood have been slain. He insists that they know nothing of the symbol and that his brethren were lured to the church. 

 

Back at Slayer HQ, Renee and the other Slayers are recuperating from the Zombie attack. Renee feels like she let the team down. Lives were apparently lost. Xander comforts her. He tells her not to be so hard on herself “You raised the call and stood your ground. It was solid soldiering. So shut up and heal.”

 

While containing Amy, Willow and Buffy try to find out more about where she came from and who she’s working with. They also make time to catch up (See Buffy Speak of the Week.) Xander soon joins them, but before they can make with the big group hug, Willow picks up on something, a military installation. Amy wakes up and creates a portal which transports her and Willow to General Voll’s secret military base. Buffy and Xander realise they’ve just been played.

 

Willow has been detained and magically strapped to a medical table. Amy is taunting her while a shadowy figure steps forward. Amy’s partner in crime is finally revealed. It’s Warren Mears, live and in the skinless flesh.

 

“I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this. Well, I can. To the hour. Killing Buffy Summers is gonna be a party. She’s pissed me off more than a little. But you Rosenberg…you really got under my skin.” – Warren Mears

 

To be continued…

 

The Watchers Files

 

The Long Way Home #3 was written by Joss Whedon and features artwork by Georges Jeanty (Ink) and Jo Chen (Cover).

 

This was a solid issue. Each storyline gained momentum and built towards a satisfying climax.

 

The battle between Amy and Willow was bad-ass.

 

Buffy’s ‘Angel & Spike’ fetish dream was hilarious and is now forever seared in my mind.

 

Willow’s reunion with Buffy and Xander was super cute. Now all we need is Giles in the mix for a big group hug.

 

The guest appearance from Ethan Rayne was a nice touch.

 

Plus, Amy’s new Beau was finally revealed!!!

 

The return of Warren was definitely a surprise. They explain in the next issue how this is possible. It’s really clever and plausible how they brought him back. I also feel like Warren and Amy are a believable couple. They’re both narcissistic and totally nuts.

 

While catching up, Willow tells Buffy that her and Kennedy are slowing things down. I was kinda glad to hear this. I was never fully on board that ship. Maybe, it was just too soon after Tara’s death. Maybe, it's because Kennedy is a self-proclaimed brat. In her defence, she has the impossible task of trying to fill the shoes of Tara and Oz. So let’s face it, she never really stood a chance. I can’t say I dislike Kennedy as much as a lot of the fandom seems to. But, I also can’t say that I’ve felt anything other than ambivalent towards her. Her finest hour was probably in The Killer in Me (Season 7, Episode 13.) This episode also provides the first hint of a link between Warren and Amy. It makes for a fun re-watch after reading this issue.

 

Trivia

 

Raising the Dead: The Rules of Resurrection in the Buffyverse

 

In this issue Willow explains that she was able to resurrect Kennedy because she died a mystical death. Here’s the skivvy on resurrection do’s and don’ts in the Buffyverse.

 

When Tara Maclay died, (Season 6, Episode 19, Seeing Red) I think most of us thought Willow would be able to bring her back. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.

 

When Tara is shot, Willow immediately tries to summon Osiris (The God in charge of overseeing resurrection spells). Her plea is interrupted by a demonic force who informs her that she has no business in doing so.

 

Demon: Witch! How dare you invoke Osiris in this task!

 

Willow: (Crying hysterically) Please, please bring her back.

 

Demon: You may not violate the laws of natural passing.

 

Willow: How? How is this natural?

 

Demon: It is a human death, by human means.

 

Willow: But I…

 

Demon: You raised one killed by mystical forces. This is not the same. She is taken by natural order. It is done.

 

When the demon says “You raised one killed by mystical forces” he’s referring to when Willow summoned Osiris to resurrect Buffy.

 

Buffy died a mystical death, therefore Osiris was permitted to resurrect her. Human deaths at human hands are part of the natural order and outside Osiris’s jurisdiction. This was why Buffy could come back, but unfortunately Joyce, Tara and Anya couldn’t.

 

Even though Anya died at the hands of an ubervamp, it was technically a sword that killed her and this didn’t fall into the category of mystical means.

 

When Joyce died, Dawn tried to resurrect her mother (Season 5, Episode 17, Forever.) She turned to Willow and Tara for help. Tara informed her that it wasn’t right to mess with the natural order of things and that when it came to magic, life and death were out of bounds. This is the first time Willow contemplates the possibility of raising the dead. It’s also the first glimpse we get of Tara and Willows opposing views on magic.

 

Willow: I’m not even sure it’s possible, Dawn. I mean, I’ve seen things on resurrection, there’s books and stuff…but I guess the spells backfire.

 

Tara: That’s not the point.

 

Willow: That’s not the point. The point is, it’s bad…because… (Willow seems unsure and draws a blank)

 

Tara: Because witches can’t be allowed to alter the fabric of life for selfish reasons. Wiccans took an oath a long time ago to honour that.

 

Behind Tara’s back, Willow sneakily points Dawn in the direction of a spell book containing information on resurrection. She hopes it will pacify Dawn and answer some of her questions. She claims that she never imagined Dawn might actually pull it off. But, with the help of Spike, that’s exactly what Dawn does…

 

Dawn performs the Resurrection spell and something rises from Joyce’s coffin and begins making its way towards the Summer’s residency. However, once Buffy catches word of what’s going on, she confronts her sister and explains that what comes back is probably not gonna be their mom. Fearing she’s made a mistake, and that Joyce is gonna go all Pet Cemetery on them, Dawn reverses the spell by ripping the photo of Joyce that she used in the incantation. Zombie Joyce disappears.

 

We never actually got to see Joyce up close. So, I guess we don’t know for sure that she would have been a Zombie. But it’s heavily implied in the episode. Earlier, Dawn and Spike visited a demon named Doc for more information on the spell.  He provided some pretty vague answers.

 

Doc: I can’t say for sure your mother will come back exactly as she was. Sometimes these things… get a little off.

 

Dawn: But she’ll still me my mother. Won’t she?

 

Doc: More or less.

 

There’s something very ominous about the way Doc says ‘more or less’. The whole thing just feels wrong.

 

My guess, is that she would have come back like the Zombies we encountered in Dead Man’s Party (Season 3, episode 2) or The Zeppo (Season 3, Episode 13)

 

In Dead Man’s Party, the Zombies we encounter are your typical slow moving, mindless, flesh eaters. In The Zeppo, they are sentient, but still rotting and without a pulse.

 

These episodes show that there are other ways to raise the dead in the Buffyverse, besides Osiris.

 

But also that maybe, sometimes, what’s dead… should just stay dead.

 

Buffy Speak of the Week

 

Buffy: Well, How you been? How’s Kennedy? Are you still –

 

Willow: She died

 

Buffy: Willow…

 

Willow: Oh no! She’s fine! Mystical thing, only lasted a month. We’re just taking it slow for a while. She’s sort of in her own space. But it’s cool. I always tell that wrong.

 

Willow: Seems like things are hoppin here…

 

Buffy: Same old, ‘cept for Dawnie; she’s definitely not Mama’s little girl anymore.

 

Willow: Yeah, what’d she do? Bone a Thricewise.

 

This exchange between Buffy and Willow is classic Whedon. I could hear Alyson Hannigan and Sarah Michelle Gellar deliver those lines as I read it. It features all of the quirk and comedy that we expect from Whedon’s dialogue. Plus, I loved how Willow clocked on to Dawn boning a Thricewise. Poor Dawn, seems like she’s gonna be the butt of this running joke for a while.

 

Slayer Rating: 3.5/5 Stakes

 

 

 

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