[Spoiler alert and trigger warning for death/cancer]
The episode originally aired on Feb. 27, 2001—just 34 days after my mother passed away from leukemia on Jan. 24, 2001.
It is honestly one of the best pieces of television that I remember seeing, let alone one of the best episodes of the series. It is an episode of a show that is typically riddled with action and twisted love plots punctuated with a plethora of bad puns and somewhat cheesy monsters. Instead, it breaks down, not only the style of the show, but the individual characters themselves, revealing weaknesses in them all. With one event, each character becomes vulnerable in a way that had never been touched before, opening them up to a world of expression and development.
For those of you who don’t know or don’t remember, “The Body” episode in season 5 of BTVS involves Buffy finding the body of her mother, whom she later finds out has died of an aneurysm associated with the brain cancer which had been operated on previously. Throughout the episode, each character goes through different stages of grieving. Buffy of course is confused and lost, not knowing what to do with herself or the situation. Dawn has a complete breakdown, not believing that it’s real, and not understanding how it could have happened so suddenly. Giles steps up and completely takes over as the parental figure for the group, continuing to be the father-figure for them all. Xander shuts down, retreating into himself and not expressing his grief until it builds to the point of him punching a wall, breaking his knuckles. Willow weeps, displacing her normally calm demeanor and replacing it with frustration over something as trivial as an outfit, which is very unlike her personality. Tara exhibits a completely collected demeanor, attempting to help in any way that she can, eventually revealing that she lost her mother when she was younger. Anya initially seems heartless and unsympathetic, but eventually reveals that she is completely breaking down, confused with the morality of human life and questioning everything about what it is to be a human—this event makes her more human than she has been up to this point.
It is a turning point for all of them. They each, in their own way, express different stages of grieving; denial, anger, sadness, depression, and acceptance. It is a deeply moving episode, but also has a haunting feel to it. There is never a background soundtrack, nor what seems like any background noises. There is only silence and the voices of the cast. It is eerie and makes the episode that much more chilling.
Until tonight, I hadn’t watched this episode since it first aired. When I first watched it, it was so soon after my own mother’s death that I couldn’t bear to sit through it again, so I always skipped over it. It touched so close to home, a mother suddenly dying from cancer. One minute, they’re fine. Laughing, talking, just living their life, then suddenly, they’re sick and in the hospital. You’re scared. Confused. Lost. Then everything seems to be getting better. They start to feel better and you start to have hope. The doctors say that everything is looking up. Then suddenly one day, you get a phone call and you have to look into your father’s eyes as he hangs up the line and says the words you’ve dreaded hearing. “She’s gone.” Those words will haunt me for the rest of my life. I was only 11 years old when it happened and it effected me more than anything else has in my entire life. Those words. That day. That moment, frozen in time. Scared. Confused. Lost. No one understands. Not able to express it without losing it again. It still hurts. Almost 11 years later, and it still hurts. Almost half my life has passed me by without her here, and it will never stop hurting, nor will anything effect me the way that event did. I can relate to this episode so terribly, and it kills me to watch it. But tonight, I sat down with it and I saw it through. And I cried. This episode hits so close to home, but was such a beautiful piece of television that no other can be compared to it.
This episode, no matter how hard or painful it is to sit through, is just one of the many reasons why BTVS is and always will be one of my all time favorite shows. It’s not just witty, action-packed, quotable, and dramatic, it also has so much heart and speaks to it’s audience with such raw emotion like no other show can muster.
Buffy vs. Faith fights = porn
|Me:||Fuck this noise. I'm gonna be a mermaid. For real though. I'm goin' rogue, Phoebe-status. Fins, shiny objects, and open water.|
|Him:||You be a mermaid, and I'll be cookie dough.|
|Me:||You're just not finished baking yet?|
|Him:||I don't think I've ever related to a Buffy quote more. And you know how much I quote/love Buffy. I think I need that scene framed and mounted on my wall...|
Vlad and I.