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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
After Life


And so the pain continues. The producers certainly aren't letting the Slayer off lightly as Buffy struggles to readjust to life in Sunnydale and, er, life itself.

Queen of comedy Jane Espenson is an unexpected choice for something so grim, but carries it off well. Her upcoming Flooded and Life serial scripts are much more in keeping with the Jane we know and love, however.

The stand-out scene has to be Buffy's revelation to a suspiciously un-frazzled (considering the blazing sunshine around him) Spike. It's the kind of heart-wrenching moment that Sarah Michelle Gellar has played so well over the years, and she doesn't fail us this time.

A minor blip on the radar compared with other Buffy episodes, but still a moving forty minutes of top TV. I'll still be much happier when the show returns to humorous mode next week though.

OK, I get that Buffy's a bit miserable due to having been dead, and I accept that things can't always be sweetness and light in the world of the Slayer, but did this episode have to be quite so slow paced and grim?

In a script largely bereft of the programme's trademark wisecracking, the only high points were Anya's hilarious tactlessness and the always dependable Spike. Otherwise, we just got a straight, and not even very good, horror tale, complete with all the hackneyed trappings - such as a wafty spook apparently made out of a sheet. Buffy's been menaced by some pretty major monsters in her time - vampire leaders, huge snakes, a god - why would we think for a second that such a pathetic phantom had even a (sorry) ghost of a chance?

Even the shock revelation at the end wasn’t enough to save this episode, which wandered aimlessly from one mopey moment to the next. Buffy’s back - but is it only in body rather than spirit?

I’m with Spike when he utters the classic putdown, “aren’t you all in the middle of some soggy group hug?” Okay so after the death and resurrection of Buffy there had to be some sort of aftermath.

The regulars now exist as 3D characters and a period of angst and adjustment is understandable, but did it have to be so deadly dull? With only some delightful Anya-isms and some less-than chilling poltergeist shenanigans we are left with a gooey mess. Gone is the clever, witty dialogue, and the ghostly goings on are sidelined in favour of mush.

Did the costume designer read the script and think the same thing? How else can you explain Willow’s red sleeveless gopher number at the end of the episode? Call What Not to Wear’s Trinny and Sussannah immediately!

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