Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | August 22, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S6, E17 – Normal Again

Normal Again
Season 6, Episode 17
Original airing: March 12, 2002

My Rating: 91

The Good: I adore this episode for the questions it asks and the possibilities it presents. I’m in the camp of believing that the mental institution and Sunnydale as we know it are two different universes which most likely diverged at the point when Buffy was first incarcerated after burning down her old school gym. To me, the existence of one of these universes does not detract from the existence of the other. In fact, it heightens the strength Buffy displays by choosing to be where she is most needed.

Buffy’s resurrection at the beginning of the season was the choice of her friends; her decision to stay in Sunnydale is most definitely her choice. This single decision allows her to stand up and reaccept who she is and her destiny to protect others. It reminds me of the moment in Season 3, Episode 1 Anne where she tells the demon she’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I think the show did a great job of bringing the season to this point and wrapping the two universes together. In their own ways, both are completely believable. It’s impressive for the show to create the institution universe in one fell swoop and get people believing it is real. I’m honestly impressed.

I really liked the loop in the story where Spike unintentionally convinces Buffy to “get healthy” in the ward universe and then Joyce unintentionally convinces Buffy to stay in “Sunnydale”. Both think they are serving their own purposes, but they are truly serving Buffy. Spike’s ultimatium to reveal his relationship with Buffy causes her to want to run away. She chooses to accept the ward, even though it means the pain of killing her friends in Sunnydale. It’s when Joyce reminds Buffy how strong she is that Buffy can finally accept it and do the right thing. I like that Buffy’s mother redirected her to her moral compass.

The Bad: I have no real complaints about this episode.

Favorite Moment: Buffy hiding under the stairs while the demon attacks her friends is poignantly cast against her terror in the institution. Her mother attempts to calm her while all she can see are her friends and family being beaten to death. The fact that she found a way to kill her friends and free herself of the potential hallucination while also torturing herself with the visuals speaks highly of her personality. She’s the Slayer. She could have easily snapped everyone’s necks. But she feels guilty about it all, even when she believes it isn’t real.

The Bottom Line: This is a turning point episode where Buffy finally and truly comes back to herself. I’m glad to see it finally happen and I hope it continues on from her. It’s time for the Slayer to kick some ass.

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