Buffy 3×01: Anne

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 09/29/1998]

And S3 begins! I have very mixed feelings about this episode. What I really wanted to see here was a dark and gritty tale about Buffy’s isolation. I wanted to see her slowly fix the emotional issues that were plaguing her from the events of “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] . I wanted this to last at least three episodes and be entirely focused on Buffy. Well, it’s pretty obvious I didn’t get what I wanted at all with this, but that isn’t to say it’s no good. On the contrary, it’s a pretty solid episode with moments of genuine insight. It’s just really not what I was looking for.

The episode begins with an amusing scene back in Sunnydale where the remaining Scoobies are attempting to keep the vampire population down and hoping that Buffy returns. Oz’s failed thrown stake and subsequent “that never works” always cracks me up. My problem with this scene, along with all the scenes taking place back in Sunnydale, is that they, while amusing, feel like a lightweight distraction from what I really want to see: a runaway Buffy. That story is simply too important to combine it with Cordelia and Xander worrying about their hair style.

Anyway, I loved Buffy’s dream with Angel on the beach. It shows a vision of all she truly wanted since becoming the Slayer: a nice normal boyfriend who she could spend a romantic evening on the beach with. “Buffy vs. Dracula” [5×01] shows her actually having a brief moment like this with Riley before everything quickly turns dark and rains them away. She then wakes up and we find out that she’s been impressively taking care of herself in the real world. This makes it obvious that she isn’t running away from ‘responsibility’ but rather just from being the Slayer. We can tell, though, that even through the depression Buffy is not fully hardened yet. She has taken the first step into adulthood but is still a young girl inside that basically just wants to be held. We find out later that this away-from-home experience made her realize for the first time that when it comes to Slaying she will always be alone; no one else can ever share that burder with her (until the beautiful end of the series).

One of the few scenes in Sunnydale I thought was meaningful is the Joyce and Giles conversation. She blames him entirely for being the cause of Buffy’s disappearance. They have a really important exchange which brings out the focus of this entire episode: identity. Joyce says, “I blame you. You’ve been this huge influence on her, guiding her. You had this whole relationship with her behind my back. I feel like you’ve taken her away from me.” Giles responds, “I didn’t make Buffy who she is.” Joyce answers, “And who exactly is she?”

During the summer, alone, Buffy has been thinking that she has two distinct parts to her being: the Slayer half and the human half. After the events of “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] she wanted to completely rid herself of the Slayer ‘half.’ The problem with this, and what she ultimately realizes through helping the helpless Lily, is that she isn’t two distinct halves. She is one whole which is evenly blended between the Slayer and the human. There is no separating the two. My answer to Joyce’s question is that Buffy is a unique individual who posesses great strength and empathy, neither of which are completely related with the fact she is the Slayer. Being the Slayer amplifies her strength, but as we saw in a flashback during “Becoming Pt. 1” [2×21] , Buffy possessed great inner strength before even knowing what being the Slayer meant.

The first moment when Buffy realizes that being the Slayer is part of her no matter what is when she decides to help Lily. Lily tells her she doesn’t know what to do; she doesn’t know how to exist without relying on others. As much as I really wanted a dark and gritty Buffy story, the theme of identity works pretty well. When caputured, the demon Ken tells the two girls, “What is Hell but the total absence of hope? The substance, the tactile proof of despair.” We find out quickly that Lily is at the point of this dispair, but Buffy is certainly not. A guard walks up to the new group of slaves, asking them who they are. They must reply with, “I am no one” or receive a beating. When Buffy’s turn comes she puts on a perky grin and completely regains her identity by responding, “I’m Buffy. The Vampire Slayer. And you are…?” This is a fantastic “I’m back!” moment and was well earned. Also, as a bonus we get a satisfying extended fight sequence where Buffy rips apart hoards of demon guards.

The final scene in Buffy’s apartment with Lily is very intriguing. Lily gains confidence from her experience with Buffy and wants to ‘become’ her now previous persona, Anne. Lily still hasn’t found herself yet, like Buffy hadn’t while being Anne. But adopting the Anne persona makes her feel like something still with hope; someone who underneath the isolation has a lot of power and self motivation. While being Anne was a step backwards for Buffy, it proves to be a step up for Lily. This is a truly hopeful and heartwarming ending. It’s also great knowing that ‘Anne’ will become a useful person in society when she appears on AtS.

I wanted an extended dark and gritty tale and I got something different. Since the writers took the lighter route I’m glad they had Buffy home at the end of the episode. The darker route I wanted would have warranted multiple episodes though. Overall this is a very good episode that misses the mark in a few places.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Good to see Cordelia has kept her development from last season. She now openly talks kindly to Willow.
+ Buffy all alone in her apartment, completely depressed.
+ Giles searching all over the state for Buffy.
+ Buffy splashing Lily with a dose of reality about the death of Ricky.
+ Buffy researches the problem even though Lily left and isn’t bugging her anymore.
+ The writers poking fun at the Xander and Cordelia relationship with the corny romantic swell kiss again.
+ Lily gaining enough confidence to push Ken off the ledge.
+ Buffy and her mother’s heartfelt reunion hug.

– Too much “I’m sad” music.
– The homage to the homeless people is obvious and overdone. I got the point without needing to see this scene.


Foreshadowing

* When things gets bad for Buffy she tries to run away from it, one way or another. In S2’s “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] she leaves Sunnydale and tries to abandon her life as the Slayer. During S5 she begins to lose everything and simply cannot deal with it anymore. She knows from her experience in this episode that running won’t help, so she chooses the life of another over her own and sacrifices herself to escape being the Slayer anymore in “The Gift” [5×22] .
* Cordelia and Xander finding out they have nothing to say to each other when they meet for the first time after summer. This is a little reminder of why these two won’t be staying together for very much longer.


[Score]

80/100

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56 thoughts on “Buffy 3×01: Anne”

  1. [Note: hi jess again posted this comment on April 14, 2007.]

    hi i loved this epasoide and here the song for that epasoed youtube buffy hit you with the real thing !!

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  2. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 22, 2007.]

    While i agree that it would have been interesting to see the darker version of Buffy’s experiance away from home, I don’t see how it could have happened any other way. If she has all this inner strength and she has matured so much through the events of last season, how could she not have faced her problems and come out on top like she does in the ep. While I agree that it leaves something wanting, I think that this was ulitimately the way to go.

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  3. [Note: Tamora posted this comment on September 21, 2007.]

    Extention to the ‘Buffy Running Away’ foreshadow-y thing:

    In S5, Buffy first runs away in a different way than leving town or sacraficing herself: in the Weight of the World, she looses everything and experiences a complete emotional breakdown, causing her mind to collapse into itself. She runs away mentally, even if not on purpose. She can’t deal anymore.

    However, when faced with all the things she was facing at that moment (the death of her mother, Tara’s sanity lost, Dawn kidnapped, the world “definately doomed”, and the pressure of everything else that’s been building up this season), I’d say anyone would experience something along those lines.

    Buffy running away is a constant motif in this series: from relationships to responsibilities to… well, just about anything. You name it, she’s run away from it. It our own way, we all have.

    I wouldn’t call this episode a disappointment. It could have been better, but it was neccessary, well-written, and addressed some major issues that needed to be brought out.

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  4. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on September 21, 2007.]

    The episode was a disappointment for me because, as I outlined in the review, I wanted something that showed us Buffy’s new life in a lot more gritty detail and wasn’t resolved in one episode. “Anne” has some positive qualities, which is why it scores alright, but it definately isn’t what I wanted as a follow-up to “Becoming Pt. 2.” The first three episodes of S6 had a much better idea of follow-through than “Anne” could ever hope to in its wildest dreams.

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  5. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 21, 2007.]

    I really like this episode, actually I´m a big fan of the first four episodes of this season. Once again, we see that all of the Scoobies are more mature than last season and that´s refreshing to see. I so love the ending fight scene and the Joyce/Giles interaction. Really good episode.

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  6. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on March 8, 2008.]

    Were the Communist/Socialist undertones intentional? I’m still wondering about that.

    This episode is quite good. Not the strongest season opener, but I like the idea of Buffy living alone in LA in a dingy apartment. I think it was suitably dark and gritty. Perhaps it could’ve been a two-part opener with Buffy returning to Sunnydale at the end of the second episode, just to give a bit more substance to her depression and loneliness, but I don’t think a depress-a-thon, like the first three episodes of s6, was needed. (Those were infinitely better, though. But then ‘The Gift’ was that much darker than ‘Becoming’)

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  7. [Note: Gorn posted this comment on September 2, 2008.]

    “Were the Communist/Socialist undertones intentional? I’m still wondering about that.”

    Definitely. After all, she attacks a demon-run underground sweatshop, and liberates the oppressed workers, using a hammer and a sickle as her weapons. They even kept the hammer&sickle shot in the credits in later seasons 😀

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  8. [Note: Zillex posted this comment on March 1, 2009.]

    I actually like this episode quite a bit. Some reasons:

    -After seeing Season 6 (and the 2nd half of S5), I was glad that Buffy didn’t spend too long in isolation/depression. She has plenty of time for that later. This ep reinforced the idea of Buffy’s loneliness and sets up future themes, without dragging it out for too long.

    -It introduced us to what a Demon dimension could be like. It makes it more meaningful when we later learn Angel was trapped in one. It also showed how time moves differently, so it didn’t seem strange later on. Seeing a depiction of the demon dimension also let us sympathize a little more with the Scoobies when they resurrect Buffy in S5, because we know how horrible it would be if Buffy really was trapped in hell

    Personally I felt this one of the strongest Season openers, second only to The Bargaining.

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  9. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 15, 2009.]

    I just want to say that Joyce really pisses me off this season for a number of reasons. The top two are: 1- in this episode, when she blames Giles for Buffy running away. What the hell? Who lived with Buffy for two years and didn’t realize something besides “teenage rebellion” was going on? Who kicked her out of the house? She really has some nerve blaming it on Giles, of all people, who was the one who told her in “Innocence” that he didn’t blame her, who was the one who comforted her and helped her get thru everything. 2- When she tells Angel that he and Buffy should break up. Really- who does Joyce think she is? She can’t just ignore her daughter for two years and then magically decide that she wants to have a say in her life. That’s crap.

    *End of rant*

    Not a bad ep- I agree with the score.

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  10. [Note: Christian posted this comment on May 21, 2009.]

    I just got season 3 dvd’s, it’s the only one I didn’t own so now I’m watching it and paying more attention. I thought Anne was a good episode. It had some funny moments as well as some touching ones.

    I would have also thought that Buffy’s return to Sunnydale would have been more complicated than it actually was, but then again I considered that Buffy was practically gone for 3 months. I guess she must have gone through really hard moments during that time, many of which could have made up another episode; but maybe that wasn’t really relevant due to the fact that we’re expected to understand how much grieving she must have gone through already. This was just the final part to a long process of healing that Buffy had to go through.

    On another note, I thought the Scoobie interaction was ok. I had a real problem with OZ getting left back in school when I first saw this; I thought it was a lame excuse for having him around. Xander and Cordelia were adorable and great scene with Joyce and Giles… all in all a nice episode.

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  11. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 23, 2009.]

    A watchable episode, but I agree it was lacking, a missed opportunity. The plot was kind of lame and heavy handed.

    Anne seems rather weak and stupid. I doubt she could have survived on her own even after Buffy’s help. Her one asset was her body, and perhaps something should have been done along those lines. That would have been a dark episode …

    Not saying Buffy herself should have been ended up on exactly those lines, but I find it hard to believe she lived in decent apartment in LA on a waitress’ salary.

    I also find it hard to believe the scoobie gang sans Buffy survived fighting vampires all summer. Perhaps they can hold their own against one vamp, but if they ran into a pack of them they’d surely be dead.

    And finally, the “deeply stupid” Sunndydale police clearing Buffy of murder charges after 3 months seem highly convenient, especially with the Mayor in control of things.

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  12. [Note: Chris posted this comment on August 23, 2009.]

    I don’t know how you can not have a or quote for buffy’s Ghandi impression. I think its one of the best lines in the show!

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  13. [Note: ydntkt posted this comment on October 7, 2009.]

    I try watching this one episode but nobody has it! it is my all time favorite episode! it is making me mad! 😦

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  14. [Note: DFAS Giles posted this comment on November 9, 2009.]

    After Cordelia and Xander make a vamp sandwich on the ground, why doesn’t the stake skewer Cordelia after the vamp dusts? I was cringing and waiting for Cordelia to be impaled (I suppose they were saving that for later in S3…).

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  15. [Note: Nix posted this comment on April 27, 2010.]

    I notice that Ken lied to everyone he met, except, unwittingly, Buffy. He said ‘you might find something you’re missing’ at his litle family home-cum-dark satanic mill. She did, twice: Ricky, and her Slayerness (or at least ‘killing demons and getting a lift out of it’).

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  16. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 15, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Oz throwing the stake at the vampire and it doing nothing.

    An accurate depiction of Los Angeles, not the Hollywood movie version.

    Buffy losing Lily on the “splitting up” plan.

    Cordelia referencing Xander and his Inca Mummy Girl.

    Buffy wanting a room witha chair a fireplace and a tea cosy.

    “I’m Buffy, the vampire slayer, and you are?”

    Buffy’s impression of Ghandi.

    The Bad:

    The sad instrumental music showing the homeless.

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  17. [Note: Alice posted this comment on November 5, 2010.]

    This is one of my favourite episodes, mostly because it contained the best fight sequence (and that cheeky hammer and sickle thing- brilliant).

    Also, after watching season six, I’m glad Buffy’s isolation wasn’t dragged out.

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  18. [Note: thegirlwiththebutterflytattoos posted this comment on January 2, 2011.]

    Well I don’t mind this episode its pretty good I mean it’s not the best and not the worst or anything, but yea. I really like the part where Buffy is talking to the lady at the blood donor place when she broke in. “What are you doing?”

    ‘Breaking into your office and looking through your personal files’ I just think it’s a cute scene where Buffy gets sick of making up excuses.

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  19. [Note: odigity posted this comment on January 17, 2011.]

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of the awesome oner (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheOner) in the beginning of the episode that reintroduces the school setting and many of the main and secondary characters, followed by a harsh cut to a still, silent show of Buffy sitting alone in a depressing apartment.

    It’s up there with the oner at the beginning of the film “Serenity”.

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  20. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on April 19, 2011.]

    I also liked this ep. a lot.

    It contained indeed one of the best fighting sequences from S3 (of course also the Buffy/Faith fights were awesome).

    I liked the unusual thing of Buffy having her own mission in LA, without friends.

    oh yeah and Bellylove!!

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  21. [Note: nk posted this comment on July 23, 2011.]

    I was going to mention the oner too (although I wouldn’t have known what to call it) – it’s such a brilliant re-introduction to all the characters and the school. You can tell it’s a Joss Whedon write/direct effort just from that, because the words and visuals work so well together.

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  22. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 21, 2011.]

    Anne is an episode that i value, its one that acts as the beginning to the answers we are after regarding Buffy and the gang since leaving them at the end of Becoming pt 2.

    The dark corner of LA is an insightful visual into Buffy’s mind and the emotions she is feeling and the others she is running from. Buffy is attempting to hide from her calling, to run from the slayer part of her. This is made most palpable in the way she dismisses Lily at the cafe when she asks Buffy where she is from and then escalated when Lily asks her for help. Lily though is the answer Buffy is looking for, she makes Buffy see that the slayer is part of who she is, which is finally lets in with the amazing line ‘I’m Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. And you are?’ Buffy’s back!

    Its a nice touch that Lily wants to be Anne at the end of this episode, she looks to Buffy and the inner strength she has. Touching scenes like this are the ones i love in this series. Both of these characters receive a myriad of growth and development. From this episode on both become true to themselves, find their way and step into the sun, for Buffy that means going home to Sunnydale.

    The emotions back in Buffy’s home town are turbulent, Giles and Joyce’s conversation is a prominent part of this episode i think anyway, instead if Joyce’s anger being diluted she turns it on Giles, but she doesn’t say anything untrue or uncalled for she is encroaching on fear and concern for Buffy and her anger is valid. Giles had been having a relationship with Buffy behind Joyce’s back, he truly knew Buffy where as Joyce was only knew part of her daughter. A great scene, Joyce is as lost as Buffy is, the audience can resonate with her.

    Evolution and evoking the new is a theme with the scoobies back in Sunnydale, Willow is evolving in turns of magic ability and in confidence, her new polished look and her relationship with Oz. Xander and Cordelia are back to experiencing bursts of passion after heated arguments which has been quintessential of their relationship. The entire gang are still as cohesive as ever with their taking on the slaying in Buffy’s absence, even if their success rate isn’t that conducive!

    I’m glad in some respect that Buffy returned quickly and that her misery and pain wasn’t plaguing her for too long. Buffy has all that to come, but she is growing up that is palpable.

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  23. [Note: sigmuphi posted this comment on January 16, 2012.]

    I love this episode, just watched it yet again. Buffy/Anne feels depressingly and therefore so solidly real. It’s just about getting through another day — which *does* sometimes take Slayer-type superhuman strength. But it’s the human part which finally returns her to herself, when a real person asks for and needs her help — it’s like Lily is Ariadne, and her simple genuine need is the thread that our Theseus needs to find her way home.

    Speaking of coming home — don’t be so hard on Joyce. Sure, she takes her anger and frustration out on Giles. But when she endures those obvious and involuntary starts whenever some one knocks on the door…no great creativity in those moments, but you still have to imagine how many times over the last three months she’s done that, each time scolding herself not to be so ridiculous, yet each time not being able to help herself. You can see all those wheels simultaneously spinning in her head, spinning in circles with no place to go, and your eyes well up in sympathy that last time, just waiting for her to finally open the door and start her life again.

    And what is a tea cozy, anyway?

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  24. [Note: Alex posted this comment on January 18, 2012.]

    A tea-cosy is like a little woolly hat you put over a teapot to keep it warm. Nowadays you only really see them in tearooms that are deliberately trying to be quaint and old-fashioned.

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  25. [Note: Zed posted this comment on March 18, 2012.]

    Pshh this episode was a 90. I saw this one out of order before I had finished season 2, just to see what was coming. I thought it was awesome. I was surprised how season 3 turned out because this episode seemed to be more grown up and focused with very depressing tone which made it MORE uplifting when Buffy remembered who she was an kicked butt. I think the reviewer is correct in his ultimate summation of Season 3 that it lacked emotion, and this episode is a great example of what the season could’ve been like had it been willing to raise the emotional stakes. Depression was the overwhelming emotion here, and I loved her snapping out of it with the top down camera shots of the battle sequence! The season needed more emotional tones like an episode filled with Hate or Fear and stuff like that…but it sacrifices intensity for dialogue and fitting all the character stuff in. Bleh

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  26. [Note: JWH posted this comment on June 10, 2012.]

    Another point about the Communism stuff brought up in comments 7 and 8 – in Bargaining Pt. 1 (S6x01), Willow refers to Buffy as “the warrior of the people” while casting the spell that brings her back to life. Also, notice the Scoobies’ attitudes toward money. In Crush (S5x14), Xander is “payday man” and will buy everyone’s drinks at the Bronze. His money is their money. There’s another scene – I forget where – when they’re in front of a vending machine, one of them doesn’t have money and just holds out their hand and another ponies up. Property is pretty communal in their group. That said, I think the politics in this show are more anarchist than socialist. More accurately, it seems to have two modes: anarchist and socialist, and the anarchist mode is the dominant one. The socialist mode is kind of an alternate reality “we could have done the show this way instead” thing. And yes, I think Anne is one of the comparatively rare socialist episodes.

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  27. [Note: Cordeliachase posted this comment on April 11, 2013.]

    Problem? Buffy only liberated the lattest group of slaves, Her victory seemed minor… Their seemed to be more guards left in the Factory dimension even with Ken dead, it seemed to me the Portal was closed because the Demons figured this location was compromised… so they set up shop somewhere else, so the only justice Buffy imposed, was rob them of a few guards, and their lattest shipment of slaves….

    am I being cynical, or did no one else notice that?

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  28. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on April 12, 2013.]

    Yeah, I noticed that too.

    But then again… it’s not like Buffy could have taken on an entire world of interdimensional slavers. Even with an army of slayers that would’ve been tricky.

    She achieved as much as any single hero thrown into such a situation could achieve. She saved dozens of people, shut down the operation and made the area safe again. Yes, the bad guys will probably rear their heads again elsewhere, and will have to be stopped again by other people. But such is the nature of things. It’s still a considerable victory.

    Maybe it’s because she’s in LA and we’re getting a preview of Angel’s themes: evil can never be defeated permanently, it can only be fought.

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  29. [Note: Alex posted this comment on April 12, 2013.]

    You’re right Cordeliachase, and I agree with Iguana that it feels a lot like an Angel episode in that respect (as well as being set in LA, of course). Often in Buffy it’s quite open-and-shut when it comes to the MOTW – they come along, hurt some people, she defeats them and they’re gone again. Whereas in this episode, and often on Angel, there’s more a sense of ‘fighting the good fight’ and doing the best you can without necessarily ever winning or stopping every bad guy.

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  30. [Note: Waverley posted this comment on May 1, 2013.]

    I think it may have been mentioned before that ‘Anne’, in retrospect, feels a lot like anepisode of AtS what with its more grown-up vibe and LA setting. I’d certainly agree with that. I actually wonder whether Joss Whedon was using this to test the waters for what he had planned in the spinoff. What I’m wondering though is whether anyone else has noticed that the instrumental bit showing the homeless about 16 minutes in contains a shot of a woman on a road, which is used in the opening credits for AtS. I only just noticed that this evening and it gave me quite a thrill, thus proving that I am an enormous geek =D

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  31. [Note: tgor365 posted this comment on May 2, 2013.]

    I agree that it is a bit proto-Angel even if its still really Buffyish. I watched Angel first and I always wandered where that shot of a woman came from. I jumped when I saw that shot. I also kind of wondered if Anne and Angel remember each other from “Lie to Me.”

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  32. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on April 9, 2014.]

    From what you’ve indicated in comments and posts in the past, it seems Season 3 is going to see some score reductions now that it comes to re-review. I have to say I find this disappointing, because it is not only my favourite season (joint with 6) but also the best on a pure episode-to-episode basis. So I’ve decided that before each new review, I’m going to post my thoughts on why I feel the episode deserves better than the score you’ve given. If my S3 is going down, it’s not going down without a fight.

    So, “Anne”. Personally, this is my third favourite season opener (behind “When She Was Bad” and “Bargaining Pt.1”, in case you were wondering) and I think it merits a score of about 90. Why? Well, firstly, I think a lot of your criticisms stem from the fact that you wanted a darker, more Buffy-focused multi-parter and are disappointed that the show chose to sweep the post-“Becoming” issues under the rug so quickly. I can certainly sympathize with this point of view, but unlike, say, the end of “Faith, Hope and Trick” I disagree that “Anne” retroactively reduces the impact of Angel’s death. We’ve seen Buffy away from home for several months, abandoning her mission, working as a waitress, eaten up by guilt and depression – it’s not as dark as “Bargaining”, but I think it’s certainly solid follow-through and in proportion given what happened. I know you were looking for something else, but we shouldn’t hold that against what we got. (I wanted to see three or so episodes with no Buffy at the beginning of Season 6, but that doesn’t change the fact that “Bargaining” and “After Life” are excellent episodes.)

    Secondly, I thought the tone and atmosphere were great, the villains strong and I thought it made sense to set the episode in a hell-dimension given what happened to Angel – it gives context to “Becoming” and “Bargaining”, at the very least.

    Thirdly, Anne herself – or Chanterelle, or Lily, or whatever you want to call her. Much as this episode is about Buffy pulling through her problems, it’s also a vital step in Anne’s development which we will see carried over onto AtS later on. Perhaps you don’t think that’s to the strength of this episode given that she never reappears on this series, but I give it major props for taking the time in the spotlight to someone other than Buffy, given how limited the Scooby exposure was. (Not that some of those scenes weren’t great, but they certainly weren’t the focus).

    Finally, I think you really undersell the moment where B reclaims her identity – “I’m Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and you are?’ I’d say it’s not only her taking her life back, but it’s also a turning point in her character arc for the series. Throughout the first two seasons, we see Buffy complain as she struggles to reconcile her duty with her social life – ‘Buffy Buffy’ and ‘Slayer Buffy’, as she will express it later. While these issues are certainly not over for her (as “Homecoming” will illustrate) I think this is the moment where she finally, fully accepts the situation. She’s not Buffy, she’s not the Slayer, she’s both – it’s one of the most profound and powerful moments in the series, to me.

    Also, the fighting with the sickle was awesome, and provided some nice thematic parallels to socialism/communism, as noted above.

    And just one more thing – this is very much a precursor or trial-run for Angel the Series. It’s set in Los Angeles, it uses a similar style of music and lighting, the atmosphere is very much the same, the villains are more metaphorical, the ending is more ambiguous – and it has Anne in it! She was never the most important character on either show and it’s a shame AtS didn’t utilize her as well as it could have done, but in the end she symbolizes the themes of the show better than anything else. Angel might verbalize it in “Epiphany”, but as we see in “Not Fade Away” Anne more than anybody else is living the show’s philosophy. For that reason, I think she’s practically the poster girl for the show’s ideology – so I think her inclusion in this episode was far more than just giving Buffy someone to fight for.

    I’m sure there are many other points in “Anne”‘s favour, but that’s all I could come up with right now. Hopefully this might inspire you to knock the score up a couple of points when you do come to start Season 3!

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  33. [Note: TheTad posted this comment on April 14, 2014.]

    This episode is severely underrated by the review I reckon. I did not like this episode until now.

    The exploration of identity crisis was really well done with all the various names and pseudo names being thrown around. Buffy, when under the name Anne, tries it shirk her old identity by refusing to investigate a potentially supernatural event, however, her true self refuses to be lost.

    The ‘ I’m buffy the vampire slayer’ moment is the moment Buffy reclaims her identity and accepts it totally. It also ties into Becoming Part 2 – when she says that despite losing everything – she still has herself. Now she can claim this with even more conviction.

    Great episode.

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  34. [Note: LoveroftheBuffer posted this comment on April 15, 2014.]

    I agree with the two comments above. ‘Anne’ is a brilliant episode. One of the best openers. I would of liked to see the show take a darker step BUT we have to remember that the show does still revolve around being in highschool. So kudos to Whedon for waiting three years to pull of the darker tone. I love this episode because all characters are given development. I like how they reused an actress to play anne and even used continuity for the show. Enough rambling I cant wait mike for you to review this once again!

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  35. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on April 27, 2014.]

    I have one final comment to post in favour of Anne before the re-review, about how it ties into the themes of adolescent sexuality and love from season 2.

    ‘Forever’ is a term that occured a lot last season, first mentioned, I believe, by Ted. Ted, of course, acts upon his desire for the eternal wife by killing his brides – giving us a pre-Angelus glimpse at the dangers of this idea. It comes up in a big way, of course, in “I Only Have Eyes For You”, with the parallels between Buffy and James, who states it outright to Grace:

    Love is forever.

    This comes up again here in “Anne”. Rickie tells Lily that they will be together forever, but of course he is taken into the demon dimension and dies without her, as people who are happy are wont to do in the Buffyverse. And it comes up with Buffy herself, in her dreams with Angel.

    This feels kind of like closure to some of the running themes for season 2, while simultaneously setting up the B/A angst throughout season 3.

    Sorry this was such a ramble and badly expressed. I’ve got the idea in my mind, but haven’t quite solidified it into a point yet.

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  36. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on April 28, 2014.]

    Re: “forever”: When Lily and Ricky show Buffy their tattoos and Buffy, with dismay face, remarks on their permanence (the line that prompts Ricky to say, echoing Angel from Buffy’s dream, that “forever is the whole point” or words to that effect)–that’s definitely a moment where we’re seeing fallout from her season 2 experiences…

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  37. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on April 28, 2014.]

    When Buffy plays “savior of the people” in this episode, freeing a big group of the oppressed from their enslavement in the hell dimension–does anyone else see this is a prefiguring/foreshadowing of the season finale, when she leads the high school students en masse (high school = hell) in an uprising against oppressive authority in the form of the mayor (and the principal)? I think most Buffy season premiers contain strong hints and foreshadowings of where the season is ultmately headed, and this one would be no exception…

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  38. [Note: telephoto1 posted this comment on June 1, 2014.]

    This isnt foreshadowing in my opinion; at this point in the series they aren’t thinking about the season finale because for starters, they have no clue how long the show will last. So it’s not foreshadowing, but more of a coincidence.

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  39. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on June 1, 2014.]

    I disagree. I think this is foreshadowing. As Mike has pointed out many times in his reviews, each season has a cohesive theme guided by the characters. It is quite obvious that Joss Whedon plans the seasonal arcs out from the beginning of the season or sometimes even one or two seasons before. A prime example of this being Buffy’s dream in “Graduation Day, Part II.” In this dream, Faith says something along the lines of “Little Miss Muffet counting down from 730.” Well, as you know, 730 days is exactly two years. The events in “Graduation Day, Part II” took place two years before the events in “The Gift,” Buffy’s death.

    Furthermore, just because the threat of cancellation was looming over the writers’ heads does not mean they didn’t think ahead. In fact, had they (Joss) not been smart enough to plan ahead (i.e. foreshadow and set up themes) Buffy would not have been as good as it was/is and may very well have been cancelled.

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  40. [Note: Afterthebattle posted this comment on June 27, 2014.]

    Yes! I’ve always loved the way Anne explores Buffy’s identity. Her realization that she’s both Buffy Buffy and Slayer Buffy reminds me of Kendra’s words to her in What’s My Line Pt. 2: “You talk about slaying like it’s a job. It’s not. It’s who you are.” Also, when Joyce asks Giles “And who exactly is she (Buffy)?”, Lily conveniently answers the question in the next scene: “But that’s who you are … I mean, you help people”. Wonderful 🙂

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  41. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on May 4, 2015.]

    Ugh. When you get to something, all hyped with anticipation, and it doesn’t live up to that hype – like just about everything, thus why I almost always suppress my need to hype something – the medium drowns in your lack of enthusiasm for it. So I understand that point. I also understand wanting something dark, especially after all Buffy went through in “Becoming: Part 2,” since I always welcome a little shadow in my storytelling.

    But I think the episode does well in it’s own right at truly revealing to us how much those prior events affected her. It is essentially about identity: is she the slayer, the girl, or both? In her mind, she is the slayer. That’s why she feels the need to escape that identity. Here, she can be the girl. But as she realizes, running away isn’t the answer she was looking for. She feels incomplete, nameless (just as lily), without her alternate persona.

    Yet she also feels lonely. The episode makes it a point of emphasis to point out that only girls without ties to other people (or essentially, humanity) are chosen. The subtext would suggest that Buffy is actually running from adulthood here, despite taking on a lot of responsibility. Part of being an adult is learning to accept appropriate help from others and create healthy, non-codependent relationships (Buffy and Angel were very codependent, as was Buffy’s friendships prior to this). Buffy ran from said relationships because they were unhealthy, yet an adult would instead attempt to salvage and mold them into something appropriate. She took the easy way out: leaving them completely behind rather then putting in effort to transform her relationships with the Scoobies, Giles, and her mother into something mature.

    So in retrospect, it’s a fine continuation to last season. It’s when the series realizes that the normal adolescent ties she has have to evolve in order to create something lasting. Her relationship with Angel and, to a lesser degree, the rest change throughout the season. It’s an extremely long process that doesn’t conclude till season 7, but this is where it truly begins.

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  42. [Note: Megha posted this comment on June 14, 2015.]

    Hi Mike…Although I love your articles…I completely disagree that part of the reason Buffy gave up her life at the end of season 5 was to stop being a slayer. It is the complete opposite in fact. She puts the pieces together-of what it means to share a blood bond with Dawn and what the First Slayer said-That death is her gift. She completely accepts her destiny at this point rather than escaping it.

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  43. [Note: wade1055 posted this comment on July 10, 2015.]

    Correct me if I am wrong but in reclaiming her identity this is the first time BufFy calls herself “the” vampire slayer as a title. The other times she says “I’am a vampire slayer” or with Kendra “I’am the slayer” before this Kendra is the only one who says I’m Kendra, The Vampire Slayer. Now she says “I’am Buffy, The Vampire Slayer”. Says a lot.

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  44. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on October 13, 2015.]

    PS: Something interesting I found in the comment section: Anne is Buffy’s middle name, and it’s Anne’s first name (duh!), but it’s also the name of both Spike and Dru’s mothers.

    I’m sure there’s a point to make her about motherhood in the Buffyverse…

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  45. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on October 13, 2015.]

    Yah I noticed that too and liked the comments. All I can figure is that the Oedupis complex runs deep. Or it’s another sign that parents in the Buffyverse suck.

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  46. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on October 13, 2015.]

    It’s worth noting that Anne was (Biblically speaking) the mother of the Virgin Mary, and that Dawn was ostensibly the product of divine conception…

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  47. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on October 13, 2015.]

    At least the divine conception is less creepy than taking some of your DNA without your permission and wiping your memory so you believe the child is real. It’s probably more befuddling than anything.

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  48. [Note: Sirena posted this comment on September 25, 2016.]

    I wonder if Giles or Joyce ever thought to look for Buffy in L.A.? I recently re-watched this episode and this thought popped into my head. I’m not suggesting that finding Buffy in such a large city would’ve been easy (don’t misunderstand me). However, Buffy lived in Hemery which is near L.A. and her father still lives in L.A. So, it makes sense that Buffy would go to a place where she feels comfortable. Also, I wonder if Joyce or Giles–more so Joyce–ever tried reaching out to Buffy’s dad?

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