The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Friday, January 18, 2002
Well, as it turned out Dawn did want her mother to come back from the dead and tried to persuade Buffy to set up a spell to do this. Naturally, as per superhero things in general, These Powers Can Only Be Used To Defeat Evil and Not to Change the Course of History (i.e. otherwise no plot). B reluctantly agreed but D was warned that "your mother may not come back quite the same way as she was." After the usual setpiece with Hydra-type monster security guard they got the tools to do it.

All window dressing, of course. Because, again, what this episode was really about (after last week's practicalities in dealing with bereavement) was the emotional mess in those bereaved. The irresistible yearning for the loved one to return, to be resuscitated, reborn. D attacked B for "not caring - you go about Mom's death like it was a chore." That finished B off and she broke down. She HAD to keep busy to stop herself from thinking, to stop her from contemplating the horror, the grief - "I didn't want you to SEE me!" "Who's gonna take care of us now? I'm SCARED!" Organising the funeral, continually busy - that is how it must be dealt with.

And then the killer blow - literally. A light appears behind the front door, glowing. D has the parchment with the spell on it in her hands. Scared beyond endurance. "It's Mom." The briefest yet longest of pauses. We cannot anticipate what stands behind that door. We retreat from it instantly. We do not wish to imagine what is there, what her mother has become. And, of course, Dawn, her emotions a wreck but her intuition razor-sharp, tears up the parchment, as she must do. The light disappears. B and D embrace tearfully. You can't bring back the dead. If you could, they would no longer be what you knew and loved, and memories would ignite and reduce the love to ashes of confusion.

Leave the light. Let things be. Shit happened. It can't un-happen. Look at the light within yourself and try to carry on. That's how you keep the dead alive.

This two-parter is the most astonishing thing I have seen on television in years. It told me what I needed to know. Thank you.


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