The Wish (Marti Noxon)
This is one of my favourite episodes of BtVS and I consider it so highly that I forgive Marti Noxon for both Bad Eggs and Dead Man's Party. For just now, anyway.
Setting a story in an alternative universe, means you can do what you like to the characters (within plausibility) without any long-term repercussions. It is a concept that can only work when we have come to understand the characters and care about what happens to them even in this alternative universe. Contrast this with The Zeppo where it seemed that they were all in an alternative universe but the writers forgot to tell us.
Xander and Willow killing Cordelia is powerful and shocking. There is something perverse about Xander pulling Willow further towards Cordelia’s neck.
Anya seems to perk up at the notion that Xander is marginally cooler just before Cordelia makes her fateful wish.
There are two clunky bits of dialogue which written down don’t seem so bad but maybe Nick Brendon’s teeth made it difficult for him to deliver them well: "You love all the parts." and "We really are living in a golden age."
Dialogue to relish:
"Look, I'm sorry this is hard for you. But I told you what I need. So, I can't help feeling like the reason you want to talk is so you can feel better about yourself. That's not my problem." - the way Seth Green as Oz delivers this makes it seem much less harsh and makes Oz seem like the wisest teenager ever.
"That didn't work. Who wants chocolate?"
"Still, I mean... Don't you kinda wish...?"
"Hmm. Buffy. Ooo. Scary." "Someone has to talk to her people. That name is striking fear in nobody's hearts."
"Why don't I just put a stake through her heart?" "She's not a vampire." "Mm, well, you'd be surprised how many things that'll kill." - Buffy is extremely Faith like in this episode...
"World is what it is. We fight. We die. Wishing doesn't change that." "I have to believe in a better world." "Go ahead. I have to live in this one."
The alternative Scoobies