Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | January 20, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S5, E17 – Forever

Forever
Season 5, Episode 17
Original airing: 4/17/2001

My Rating: 67

The Good: This episode naturally dealt with the minutiae of Joyce’s death. I liked Buffy burying herself in the funeral arrangements and Dawn’s quest to bring back her mother.

We saw during Joyce’s illness that Buffy’s way of handling things is to push them way, way down until she has time to deal. Seeing her do the same thing here is a really nice bit of character consistency and allows for the alienation and separation Dawn is feeling. And it created a truly heart-wrenching last scene when Buffy runs to the door and finds no one there.

I also really enjoyed the brief glimpse back into Angel and Buffy’s relationship. It’s a reminder that he left because he had to, not because he wanted to. They still have amazing chemistry and it really blows Buffy’s relationship with Riley out of the water. It’s hard to make any excuses for Riley at this point, when one scene with Buffy and Angel has me in tears.

I thought Dawn’s story was pretty well done, too. She’s feeling understandably lost and alone as the one person who always just treated her like a person is now gone. Everyone else looks at her and sees Dawn, but also sees someone who is a mythical, powerful something. Plus, what fourteen year old wouldn’t want their mother back when she was suddenly taken away? I thought her progression was excellent and her determination was actually admirable. And I really liked her realization at the end that a Zombie Joyce would be worse than no Joyce – for both sisters.

I liked Spike coming by the house with flowers. It felt appropriate for him to mark the passing of the one person who treated him like someone of consequence. I really enjoyed the odd little relationship Spike and Joyce developed and I think he will miss that a little bit, if not Joyce herself. I’m slightly torn on him bringing flowers to the house. I feel like he wouldn’t do anything that opened him up in front of someone like that. It seems more likely to me that him coming upon Dawn at the plot was actually when he was stopping by to say his respects.

Finally, I was happy to note that I again was able to enjoy Tara in this episode. I think her strong moral convictions about the laws of magic usage fit well with her character so far. More than likely she had very similar feelings to Dawn’s when her own mother died. And she may have been down this road a bit. So her firm denial to Dawn was appropriate and gave her true fear when she later discovered the book missing. Which led nicely into telling Buffy what was going on at the end of the episode.

The Bad: The main thing I found annoying in this episode was Spike’s involvement with Dawn. I feel like it was really out of character and he just got worse. I don’t buy the excuse that he just doesn’t like to see Summers women hurt. It’s too selfless, especially combined with his insistence that Dawn doesn’t tell Buffy about it.

It goes downhill from there. His attempt to keep Dawn safe from the demon in the sewer led to him being bit on the hip. And he tells her not to worry about it? He also doesn’t get mad before that when Dawn drops the egg. And then he just vanishes. Where did he go? What’s he up to? He felt like a plot device in this episode to make Dawn’s spell seem extra dangerous.

Other than that, I was annoyed by the really crappy looking demon. It was particularly bad this time. I also was disappointed by Ben’s inability to kill Jinx. He gives him a pretty fatal looking stab, but no… he’ll be fine. If he really wanted to keep Jinx from getting back to Glory, I think he would have made sure to finish the job.

And I rolled my eyes at Willow’s incredibly bad lying. What annoyed me most about that was how Tara just ignored it or didn’t even notice? It’s hard to tell what she was thinking there. But she should have commented on it or something.

Favorite Moment: Buffy and Dawn’s collapse on to the floor felt very powerful to me. They’ve just really opened up to each other about how Joyce’s death is affecting them and then Buffy has a moment of pure fantasy, imaging Joyce might really be at the door and actually herself. When the bubble is burst and the sisters cry, I found myself more than welling up too.

The Bottom Line: I thought this was a pretty good follow up to The Body. I think they dealt with the aftermath of Joyce’s death pretty well and it reintroduced Glory a bit. But a few things were bungled and I thought Spike’s character was grossly misused.

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