Season 3, Episode 9 - “The Wish”
Original airdate: December 8, 1998
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 2, 2009
When I first saw this episode, I considered it my favorite episode of the series. It’s since been surpassed by episodes that aired after it, and a few that were before it (upon reconsideration), but it’s still a very fun episode.
For a show called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, there’s verry little Buffy in the episode. And for something that starts off as a very Cordelia-centric episode, she dies about halfway through, she it’s very disjointed at times.
Basically, following the events of “Lovers Walk”, Cordy has broken up with Xander and is still pissed about it. So Anya (RANDOM STUDENT ALERT!) shows up and tries to comfort Cordy, but she’s really a demon trying to trick Cordelia into making a wish.
Cordelia decides that Buffy is her real problem, not Xander, and she wishes that Buffy never came to Sunnydale. However, instead of hijinks ensuing, an alternate universe where vampires rule Sunnydale ensues. Good times.
I’ve written about this before, but I’ll say it again -- I’m a big fan of alternate universe explorations. It’s interesting, but the possibilities that this episode brings up are more interesting than the episode itself. Still, let’s cover my favorite things about this episode:
-Alternate Buffy is incredibly interesting. At first, she seems stronger without her friends, family and other ties to the world. But in the end, The Master ends up killing her (in a more permanent way than drowning) so apparently the real-world Buffy was stronger.
-I love vampire Willow. She’s hot, she’s INCREDIBLY evil and she’s playful. VERY good times.
-Anya was intended to be a one-time character (thus the qualification for Random Student Alert!) but they liked her so much, they brought her back. Of course, that raised all kinds of continuity problems (was it me, or was the Anya we got to know considerably dumber than the Anya we saw in this episode?) but that’s OK.
-The final fight scene results in all kinds of ironic deaths. Buffy kills Xander, Oz kills Willow, Xander kills Angel and Buffy does nothing about it (in a semi-tragic moment for those of us that love Buffy and Angel together). Obviously these matches are set up for a reason, but it’s cool that the writers took the time to think of that.
-The episode ends with Giles destroying Anyanka’s power center and sending everything back to the way it was. And that would have been good enough, but the final scene, with Cordelia making more and more ridiculous wishes, is hilarious.
This is definitely a 5-star episode, and to this point, my favorite of Season 3 (but not of the first 3 seasons).
Anyanka: “You trusting fool. How do you know the other world is any better than this?”
Giles: “Because it has to be.”
(I don’t think I ever give Anthony Stewart Head enough credit as an actor, but he’s damn good, especially when delivering lines like these).