Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 3 E 9 The Wish
The We Hate Cordelia Club goes all fangy.
Giles: I have to believe in a better world.
Buffy: Go ahead. I have to live in this one.
Cordelia recovers from her life-threatening injury and tries to resume her old life as Alpha Bitch
, but being "Xander Harris's cast-off" has her devalued social standing
to an all-time low. Cordelia however, managed to make friends with a new girl and fellow fashionista, Anya, who gives Cordelia a pendant for luck. Deciding that all her trouble started when Buffy came to town, Cordelia tells Anya that she wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale...and Anya reveals herself as a demon and grants it.
Cordelia is initially very happy with this new reality where she is again on top, only to discover that something is very wrong—there's now a curfew, students aren't allowed to drive, everybody wears drab colors and acts very nervous, going to the Bronze is, for whatever reason, not an option, and teenagers aren't allowed to drive. After sundown, Cordelia discovers that Xander and Willow are still lovers ("I can't win!!")—and vampires.
Thanks to Buffy never arriving in Sunnydale, the Master has gained dominion over the town, ruling from the Bronze after creating a civilization where humans live in constant terror and are freely toyed with and murdered by the vampire populace. The Master also makes enigmatic allusions to a Plant that will soon open.
Giles runs a ragtag band of human rebels
and rescues Cordelia from Xander and Willow and takes her back to the library, but Willow and Xander infiltrate the building and kill her before his eyes. Giles notices Cordelia's pendant and holds onto it.
After some cursory research, Giles discovers that the pendant belongs to Anyanka, a vengeance demon and a patron saint of sorts for scorned women
. On his way home to do more detailed research, he is saved from a group of vampires by the newly-arrived Buffy Summers.
Buffy infiltrates the Bronze and finds Angel, who has been kept captive to be freely tortured by Willow; he offers to lead Buffy to the Plant, which turns out to be a factory with the purpose of draining humans completely dry of blood. Buffy and Angel ambush the vampires; the resulting battle ends with Angel, Xander, Willow and Buffy all dead.
Meanwhile, Giles summons Anyanka in an attempt to reverse the wish, but she is less than happy about being invoked by a man. He manages to subdue her and smash the pendant, restoring the original universe to the moment in time when Cordelia made her wish. A bewildered Anya attempts to grant Cordelia's wishes, but no longer has any power.
- Action Fashionista: Averted; Wishverse!Buffy wears combat boots, cargo pants and a grey tank top. As bright clothes are said to attract vampires, clearly she no longer bothers with The Bait as a tactic, presumably because the situation is so dire she doesn't have to lure them out.
- Aesop Amnesia: Cordelia makes a wish that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. She experiences a Be Careful What You Wish For moment...and is promptly killed off. When the wish is reversed, Cordelia remembers nothing.
- All Is Well That Ends Well
- The All Solving Hammer: Wishverse Buffy has precious little patience for Giles' strategizing.
Buffy: Why don't I just put a stake through [Anyanka's] heart?
Giles: She's not a vampire.
Buffy: Yeah, well, you'd be surprised how many things that'll kill.
- Averted in the opening scene when, having grown used to slaying vamps, Willow's at a loss over how to deal with a swamp monster which is throttling Buffy against a tree. Buffy manages to shout, "Nerf!" Willow frantically searches through Buffy's bag. Realizing that "Nerf!" is I'm Being Choked, You Idiot for "knife," she tosses the knife to Buffy, who grabs it in mid-air and stabs the monster in the chest.
- Alternate Reality Episode: A truly dark one.
- And I Must Scream: One of the Cordettes is stunned with cattle prods and placed on the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom, fully conscious as the blood is siphoned from her.
Master: She's still alive, you see, for the freshness.
- Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: Unfortunately for Anyanka it's an Amulet of Dependency as well.
- Artifact of Doom: Anya's amulet. Unlike in later episodes, she is shown needing to place the necklace on Cordelia's neck for the wish to take effect.
- Ask a Stupid Question...: Cordelia, oblivious to the fact that Xander's a vampire, tells him that they need to find Buffy, because she'll figure out a way to save them. "...Buffy. The Slayer?", Xander asks warily. "No!" Cordy snaps, "Buffy the dog-faced girl!"
- Buffy and Angel are present at the factory's unveiling, observing from the back. "What's the plan?", Angel asks. Without looking at him, Buffy holds up a stake: "Don't fall on this."
- Asshole Victim: Cordette #1 ends up as the test subject for the Master's blood machine.
- Backstabbing the Alpha Bitch
- Bad Guy Club: The Bronze acts as one for the vampires.
- Bad Guys Play Pool: Not really; they just strap their human victims to the Bronze pool table. Thankfully, we never get to see what the vampire actually does with his pool cue.
- The Bad Guy Wins: Well, in the alternate universe. Buffy dies in this episode, as does most everyone else.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment: Willow rips open Angel's shirt to reveal some nasty-looking wounds, then muses that maybe she went too hard on him "last time". Behind her, Xander strikes a match and tosses it onto Angel's bare chest. Willow admonishes him to be careful...as he almost got her hair.
- Bastard Girlfriend: Willow. As a vampire. Dressed in BDSM leather. Here the trope is outright played for horror, with the scene with her prisoner - or puppy - terrifying, sexually-charged and full of Squick.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Thank you very much Alpha Bitch.
Larry: The entire world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish?
Larry: I just want to be clear.
- It's also a subversion of this common plot. Most often the wisher experiences their wished-for Crapsack World first-hand and then undoes the wish, vowing to never carelessly wish for anything again. Here, the wisher is quickly killed and remains completely oblivious to what happened.
- Big "NO!": Giles grabs a marble paperweight and prepares to smash the amulet. Anyanka taunts that he has no way of knowing if the Cordelia's world is better than this one. Ignoring her, Giles raises the paperweight up high. Anyanka screams,"NO!"
- Bound and Gagged
- Braids of Action: Wishverse Buffy has a single braided ponytail.
- Brick Joke: Giles phones up Buffy's Watcher and asks to see her, the response to which is a little snooty. The Watcher complains that Buffy is very busy, what with Cleveland being a hotbed of demonic activity and all, and Giles hangs up in frustration. In the series finale, Buffy and friends rejoice over having closed the Hellmouth in Sunnydale, to which Giles dourly replies there's another one in Cleveland.
- In the Season Eight comics, Faith is shown using Cleveland as her base of operations, along with Robin Wood and his own squad of Slayers. It is also in "No Future for You" that Giles calls Cleveland a "second-rate hellmouth."
- Poor Cleveland! They're not the first in anything.
- This carries over into the Angel: After the Fall comics, in which the Senior Partners note that Cleveland is a "hot property" in the wake of Sunnydale's destruction.
- Buffy Speak: Xander pontificating that he's officially over Cordelia, and is henceforth a new man. "Starting this minute, I'm gonna grab ahold of that crazy little thing called life and let it do its magical little heal-y thing."
- Burn Baby Burn: Cordelia sitting on her bed with the lights very low, taking a pair of scissors to a photo of herself, Xander, and the Scoobies wth a pair of scissors. In the background, her answering machine plays back about a hundred calls from Xander. Cordy shreds the photo, but saves Xander's face for last. Uh oh. She strikes a match and sets Xander's image on fire.
- Busman's Holiday: A swamp monster interrupting Buffy's picnic.
- Call Back: To "When She Was Bad" where Cordelia tries to connect with Buffy in the alley behind the Bronze, only to be interrupted by a vampire.
- Cerebus Retcon: Inverted. This first appearance of Vampire Willow is a dark and horrifying episode. She's brought back later for 'Doppelgangland' - a light-hearted and comedic episode.
- Chekhov's Gun: In the factory melee, Oz breaks a piece off of one of the wooden cage bars, leaving a sharp piece sticking out (which will be important in a minute).
- Chekhov's Gunman: Anyanka turns into an ordinary schoolgirl at the end of the episode. She's become a regular character by the end of the season ironically becoming a member of the Scooby Gang and Xander's Love Interest.
- Despite being killed here, Vampire!Willow returns when a Magic Misfire brings her over to the normal universe in "Doppelgangerland".
- Co-Dragons / Unholy Matrimony: Giles describes Xander and Willow as "the Master's most vicious disciples." They have somehow replaced Luke and Darla in this timeline.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: As a treat for obeying orders, the Master allows Willow to go 'play' with Angel (nicknamed "puppy" by Willow), who is kept locked up in a cage and suffers regular torture at her hands.
- Combat Stilettos: Averted as Wishverse Buffy wears totally unfashionable combat boots.
- Continuity Nod / Fridge Brilliance: Even in the alternate reality, the prophecy contained in the Pergamum Codex comes to pass: "The Master will rise and the Slayer will die."
- Conversation Cut: Cordelia is ranting at Buffy after her garbage embarrassment.
You know what I've been asking myself a lot
this last week? Why me? Why do I
get impaled? Why do I
get bitten by snakes?
Why do I
fall for incredible losers? And you know, I think I've finally figured it out, what my problem is? It's—
(Smash Cut to the quad at school the next day. Cordelia and Anya walk together.)
Cordelia: —Buffy Summers. That's when all my troubles started.
- Creepy Crows: The shift to the Wishverse is heralded by the ominous cawing of crows.
- A Day in the Limelight: Cordelia, then Giles after she is killed.
- Deadly Hug: Xander and Willow give Cordy a deadly Group Hug as they feed on her.
- Death Is Dramatic / Slow Motion Fall
- Death Montage
- Death Seeker: In the Season 5 episode "Fool for Love" Spike will declare that every Slayer has an innate deathwish, and that it is only Buffy's friends and family that prevent her falling victim to it. The Wishverse!Buffy is this trope to a T — deprived of anything to fight for or live for, she is just an emotionless killing machine waiting for the moment when it all ends.
Buffy: World is what it is. We fight, we die. Wishing doesn't change that.
- Decoy Protagonist: Poor Cordie.
- The Scoobies all die and its Giles who saves the day.
- Den of Iniquity: The Bronze has been converted to this in the Wishverse, which makes sense, since Buffy wasn't there to stop the Harvest. Aggressive rock plays inside as vamps feed off people. Humans are hanging in cages, and one victim is tied spread-eagle to the pool table.
- Dominatrix: Vamp!Willow, in a nutshell. A really dark and disturbing one that throws Rule of Sexy, shrooom, right out the window.
- Dramatic Necklace Removal: Giles realizes that Anyanka's amulet contains her powers and tears it from her neck.
- Dramatic Unmask
- The Dreaded: Upon hearing that Cordelia mentioned Buffy's name, the Master is alarmed enough to send his assassins to the school to kill her.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: One of the White Hats, Nancy, is killed off screen.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Giles' apartment is littered with liquor bottles, hinting at his desperation.
- Due to the Dead: Averted; the White Hats take Cordelia's body to the incinerator, so she won't rise as a vampire. When Angel is staked, Buffy coldly walks through his dust.
- Dwindling Party: The White Hats. Poor Nancy doesn't even merit an on-screen death.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Anya easily fits in as a schoolgirl; in later seasons her unfamiliarity with human culture will become a Running Gag.
- Easy Amnesia: When Cordelia's Girl Posse claim she's acting weird after her wish, she claims that she's just been forgetting things after a Tap on the Head the day before.
- Enemy Mine: In the Bronze basement, Buffy finds Angel whimpering in his cell. She asks where the Master is, and he responds that he's at the factory, and offers to take her there. When she leans over to free him from his bonds, however, her cross dangles close to his face, and he recoils. "Oh you gotta be kidding me!", she scoffs, and starts to stomp off. Standing up, Angel opens his shirt, revealing his scars. "You don't believe I want to help you. Believe I want him dead." At this, Buffy sets aside her misgivings.
- Evil Twin: Xander and Willow.
- Exact Words: Giles, detecting a suspicious noise, rushes into his book cage for a cross and stake. "Now," he calls over to Cordelia, "I want you to start again and explain everything very carefully." The door slams shut in his face, and Willow peeks through the screen: "You're in a big cage!"
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Even Wishverse Buffy has it, to bring out her Dull Eyes of Unhappiness.
- Face-Revealing Turn: Cordelia gets a big shock when the new friend she's been commiserating with turns on her in demonic Game Face and growls, "Done."
- Fake-Out Make-Out / Operation Jealousy: Deconstructed. Cordy, spying Xander down the hall, immediately grabs some jock's attention and asks if she has something stuck in her teeth. From Xander's viewpoint, it looks like they're making out, and he dejectedly walks away. Back on Cordy's end, the jock tells her he can't be seen with "Xander Harris's cast-off," but if she wants to go someplace private... the implication being that he wouldn't be averse to bumping uglies in secret. Cordy is stunned, and the jock leaves.
- Fascists' Bed Time: In the Wishverse, most of the student body are either dead or vampires (hence the conspicuously empty classrooms), there is now a monthly memorial at the school, dances are held during the day and there is a nighttime curfew. Students wear dull colors in order to make them less conspicuous to the vampires who have overrun Sunnydale, and are not allowed to drive.
- Feet-First Introduction: Cordelia showing She's Got Legs as she exits her hotrod convertible. Back to basics! — or so she thinks.
- As Cordelia is cluelessly yapping at Xander, the first utterance of one of the series' most famous lines cuts in: "Bored now." We see a pair of leather-clad legs, and the camera pans up to show a very pale Willow, sporting a sinister-looking catsuit.
- Giles looks up to see the face of his savior. The camera pans up to Buffy wearing dark green cargo pants, a black jacket, and a gray tank top.
- Fluffy the Terrible: Or rather Buffy the Terrible in this case.
Xander: Weird thing: girl kept talking about Buffy. 'Gotta get Buffy here.' Isn't that what they called the Slayer?
Willow: (strokes his chest) Hmm. Buffy. Ooo. Scary.
Xander: Someone has to talk to her people. That name is striking fear in nobody's hearts.
- Foe-Tossing Charge: Buffy and the Master moving towards each other, shoving aside or staking anyone in the way.
- Forced to Watch: "So you're a Watcher? Watch this."
- For Want of a Nail: Without Buffy in Sunnydale, the Master ascended, Xander and Willow are vampires, Giles is leading La Résistance, Buffy is kinda a Knight Templar that makes Faith look sweet and innocent, and Angel is Willow's torture pet.
- Foreshadowing: Xander wonders why Faith isn't there, but Buffy says she couldn't reach her, and that she's a little concerned. "Slaying's a rough gig. Too much alone time is unhealthy."
- Buffy counting herself lucky that Willow and Xander were there when the swamp monster attacked, since it had her by the throat.
- Also with Anya’s amulet:
Anya: No. It's an actual old thing, sort of a good luck charm my dad gave me.
- Buffy remarks to Giles "You'd be surprised how many things (a stake through the heart'll) kill." Come "Bad Girls", in which Finch dies from a stake to the heart after Faith mistakes him for a vampire.
- There's a mention of Amy, who will be seen again in "Gingerbread".
- Futureshadowing: Averted. Alt-Giles' exposition was changed to remove mention that Anya was human before she was a vengeance demon, a twist that doesn't come to light until "Something Blue". However, the final version still has Giles mention that destroying Anyanka's power center will make her an ordinary woman "again", implying that she had been one before.
- A Glass of Chianti: The Master has an example with a wine glass full of blood harvested at the Plant.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: Wishverse Buffy is an even more by-the-book Slayer than Kendra, perhaps second only to the First Slayer.
- Good Is Not Nice: Wishverse Buffy, very much so.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: The Buffy from the alternate reality has a scar running across her lips, like Melaka Fray.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Students aren't allowed to drive in the Wishverse. In the abandoned parking lot, Cordelia accosts a janitor, demanding to know where her car is. His blank stare is regarded as a lack of fluency in English. "My auto! El convertablo?"
- Hellbent For Leather: Cordelia's man-eater outfit. Vamp!Xander and vamp!Willow naturally, as Vampires Are Sex Gods.
- Hero Ball / The Key Is Behind the Lock: Xander and Willow duping Giles with a distracting noise, prompting him to scurry into his book cage looking for weapons. The door locks behind him, revealing Willow holding a key. Looking for this?
Wishverse Xander: Not too bright, Book Guy.
- Holding Hands: On the couch at the Bronze, Xander touches Willow's hand in that old familiar way, for which she chastises him. He asks why that's a problem, as they used to engage in platonic touching all the time. Willow points out things are are different now, and if she hopes to get Oz back, "my hands...all my stuff has to be for him only!"
- Hollywood Healing: Averted. Cordelia grips her stomach wound a few times, revealing a crack in her confident facade. The morning after Buffy sends her flying into some trash bags, Cordy complains that she pulled some stitches.
- Human Shield / Bad Boss: The Master raises his glass of blood and toasts the future. As everyone echoes the toast, Buffy raises her crossbow with one hand and fires at him. Instantly, the Master yanks Xander in front of him, and the bolt hits Xander's shoulder.
- Humanity Ensues
- Humiliation Conga: To add insult to injury, Harmony and the Harmionettes exit the Bronze just as Cordelia is bowled over into some trash bags. Cue much cackling.
- Identical Stranger: Two extras in the evil version of the Bronze. There's a guy who looks like Mayor Wilkins tied to the pool table, and a girl who looks like Faith getting bitten outside.
- Industrialized Evil
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Oz and Larry drag Willow over to the protruding wood from the cage, then shove her into it.
- Zigged-zagged in "Doppelgangland", in which Willow's botched spell ends up summoning Wishverse Willow to the real world moments before she's dusted... and then transports her right back, where she falls right on the stake.
- Institutional Apparel: Wishverse Angel.
- Ironic Echo: "So, you're a Watcher, huh?" Xander taunts Giles. "Well, watch this." He bites Cordy, and Willow joins in. Giles can only stand helplessly as Cordelia falls lifeless to the floor.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: Inverted, as Cordelia gets killed about halfway through the episode, leaving Giles to find a way to undo her damage.
- I Work Alone: Wishverse Buffy isn't big on the teamwork, not wanting to wait till Giles assembles the White Hats (as it happens, they're already been captured). She only takes Angel with her because he knows where the factory is.
- Jackass Genie: Despite later claims of being a righteous avenger of Woman Scorned, Anyanka openly delights in the more terrible alternate reality she's created.
- Kill It with Fire: Shortly after Cordelia is bitten, Giles unceremoniously directs Oz and Larry to dump her body in the school's incinerator.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Wishverse Buffy, again
- La Résistance: The "White Hats" is the derogatory term used by Xander to refer to a Scooby-esque band of vampire hunters - a reference to cowboy movies in which heroes wear white hats and villains wear black hats. Their members consist of ex-Watcher Giles, Oz, Larry, and a minor character named Nancy.
- Lotus Position: Buffy is sitting on the picnic table this way, causing Xander to jokingly call her "Wise One".
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Upon Willow's arrival on the scene, she mopes aloud, "This is the part that's less fun. The part where there isn't any screaming."
- Love Transcends Spacetime: Averted with the Scoobies — split between vampire and human vigilante "White Hats" — brutally slaughtering each other without remorse. Most notably Wishverse!Buffy meets her Star Crossed Lover Angel and is unimpressed, not even reacting when he gives his life to save her from Vampire!Xander.
- Malicious Misnaming: Giles gets annoyed when Wishverse!Buffy calls him Jeeves.
- Master Race: Or should that be The Master's Race?
: Undoubtedly we are the superior race, but we've been too parochial, too bound by the mindless routine of the predator.
- Mercy Lead: Vamp Xander and Willow snuggle a bit, prompting Cordy to screech that she can't win, since even in "Bizarroland," Xander and Willow are an item. Xander agrees with the "can't win" sentiment, and vamps out. "But I'll give you a head start." Cordy realizes she's in deep shit and bolts, leaving her bag behind. Xander, in no hurry, macks with Willow.
Wishverse Willow: I love this part.
[they tongue kiss]
Wishverse Xander: You love all the parts.
- Must Have Caffeine: The Master pouring blood from his espresso machine into a dainty cup.
- Neck Lift: The swamp demon to Buffy, and Anyanka to Giles.
- Neck Snap: At long last, Buffy takes on the Master. Just like last time, however, the fight doesn't last very long and she is killed when the Master breaks her neck.
- Never My Fault: Xander ranting that the incident in the factory was the absolute last time he and Willow were going to kiss, and rationalizing that the whole mess is Oz's and Cordy's fault for rescuing them.
- Cordelia eventually determines that Buffy is to blame for her predicament, as she never would have dated Xander if Buffy hadn't hung out with him and made him cooler.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Again, thanks so much Cordy.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Wishverse Buffy has developed a tough, grim personality (similar to Faith, but without the perky exterior), shunning friends or family, living only to slay.
Buffy: World is what it is. We fight, we die. Wishing doesn't change that.
Giles: I have to believe in a better world.
Buffy: Go ahead. I have to live in this one.
- No Body Left Behind: Averted with the squid-demon at the beginning of the episode, meaning the body has to be buried, much to everyone's dismay.
- Not Herself: Harmony and the rest of the Cordettes are dressed much more conservatively in the Wishverse, wearing dresses with muted colors. Cordy is a standout in her turquoise outfit.
- Or maybe they were exactly like themselves, only adjusted to a different environment. See Harrison Bergeron by K.Vonnegut and Null-P by W.Tenn.
- One-Woman Wail: During a slow-motion sequence that results in Xander and Willow dead and the Master entering the fray.
- "Open!" Says Me: Buffy smashing open Angel's cell with one well-placed kick.
- Operation Jealousy: Cordelia pulls a few minor examples on Xander.
- People Farms: Part of the the Master's plan
The Master: The days of compromise, of living alongside the humans, are over. It's time to take them out. Time to treat them like... well, let's not mince words here — like the cattle they are!
- Permastubble: Wishverse!Giles
- Power Glows: The amulet's telltale green glow, which tips off Giles that it's the power source he must destroy.
- Prank Date: In the courtyard, Cordelia catches sight of Harmony and the few remaining Cordettes (Harmionettes?). Harmony has minions! Harmony, with a sunny smile, greets Cordelia and says she looks amazing. Cordy looks relieved; she's back in the fold. Whitney tells Cordy she should start dating again, and Harmony says she has someone who is "so you." They walk over to the stairs, where Jonathan is sitting. Harmony snickers that he probably won't cheat on Cordy. Har har. Cordy bows her head as Harmony and her group walk off laughing.
- Reset Button: Wishverse Giles undoes Cordelia's wish by smashing Anyanka's amulet. Everything is back to normal — except for Anyanka, who is made human.
- Rescue Introduction / Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind / Battle Discretion Shot: Once Giles is struck by the van door, two vamps set upon him, but we hear another vamp combust off-screen. Yet another vamp goes flying into the picture, and the two holding Giles rush into the fray. A little more off-screen-fu, and it's just Giles lying on the ground. He looks up to see a radically different, war-torn Buffy glowering down at him.
- Retcon: Giles claims that destroying Anya's power center would reverse all of the wishes she fulfilled . However, later episodes clearly contradict this, including "Selfless", where we learn that she was partly responsible for the Russian Revolution, and "Hell's Bells", where one of her former victims returns to ruin her wedding.
- It would seem that Giles's book is mistaken. Destroying a vengeance demon's power source seems to most likely just revert the last wish they granted.
- Revenge: Cordelia wants revenge and inadvertently creates a universe that reflects this. Xander and Willow are dead, and in return they get revenge on the Alpha Bitch who humiliated them for years. Oz kills Willow, who has betrayed him in the normal universe. Xander kills Angel and Buffy stakes Xander in turn, a lethal version of their conflict over Bangel. In a further dramatic irony, Anyanka becomes human as a result of this episode, falls in love with Xander and is betrayed by him in turn.
- Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Averted. As shown later on, only Anya remembers what happened in the alternative eventline. Others don’t know anything about what happened until episode 316.
- Ritual Magic
- The Scapegoat: Buffy for Cordy's problems.
- A Shared Suffering: Harmony introducing Cordelia to her new "stallion": Jonathon, sitting alone on the stairs. Jonathon gives Cordy a sympathetic look, knowing what it's like, and goes back to nursing his soda.
- Scenery Porn
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Cordelia's teacher hurriedly grabs his books and flees the classroom the moment the school bell rings. By the time Cordy makes it outside, the carpark is deserted.
- Smash Cut: Buffy asking if Xander has finally gotten hold of Cordelia yet. Willow says no, but that Amy saw her at the mall the previous evening, and that she looked "pretty scary. Cut to a Hell-Bent for Leather Cordy exiting her convertible to the tune of a menacing guitar riff.
- Stepford Smiler: At the Bronze, Cordelia and Xander seem to be engaged in some passive-aggressive duel. Cordy is laughing loudly with some guy, clearly aware that Xander, Buffy, and Willow are sulking on a nearby couch. "Tears of a Clown, baby!," crows Xander, "—Or is it, 'grins of a sad person?'" He retaliates by glancing over at his friends and forcing out gales of laughter.
- The girls are uncomfortable with making war with Cordelia, particularly since she's justified in her feelings. Xander hisses that he's done with this "guilt-a-palooza" and barks at Buffy and Willow to get with the program and be happy.
Buffy: He's actually making sense. We're young and free in America. How dare we be spun by love or the lack of same?
Willow: [weakly] Absolutely. It's self-indulgent. I'm in. I'm on the joy train.
[They all put on radiating smiles]
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Averted; Wishverse!Buffy doesn't recognise Angel (saying crudely "Is this a 'get into my pants thing?'" when he starts talking about destiny), is fully prepared to leave him chained up when she discovers he's a vampire, and has absolutely no reaction when Angel dies saving her life.
- Status Quo Is God: Did you really believe that Cordelia's wish wouldn't be undone by the end of the episode?
- Stun Guns: The Master's employees use shock sticks to debilitate one of the Cordettes before shackling her to the transfusion machine.
- Sublime Rhyme: Xander high-fives a fellow vampire. "Slap my hand, dead soul man."
- Taking the Bullet: From afar, Angel sees that Xander has picked up a discarded crossbow bolt and is rushing at Buffy. Angel bounds over and takes the bolt in the heart. Turning to the camera, he says, "Buffy..." before disintegrating. Buffy walks through his dust to take on Xander without even changing expression.
- Talk About That Thing: Subverted. Oz opens his locker, cuing Willow to emerge from her stalker position ("Look at us, running into each other! As two people who go to the same school are so likely to do now and then!"). Oz calls her out, saying that he told Willow he needed some space, and that she only wants to talk so she can feel better about herself.
- Talking Is a Free Action
- Take-That Kiss: Willow extravagantly telling Angel about the big launch of the Master's factory, right before licking his ear.
Willow: You remember I told you about the plant? All those people you tried to save? It's gonna be quick for them. Not for you, though. It's gonna be slow for you.
- Tempting Fate: Anyanka threatens a terrible fate on any man who summons her. Giles replies, "I'm not afraid of you. Your only power lies in the wishing." Anyanka grabs him by the throat and shoves him against a wall. "WRONG."
- This Is the Part Where...: Vampire!Willow is big on this.
- Toyota Tripwire: Giles drives home in his ancient jalopy. He sees some vamps loading people into a recycling truck. Giles hastily grabs a large cross and stake and gets out. He fends off the vamps with the cross, and instructs the people to run. But a vamp hits him in the face with one of the truck doors, knocking him flat.
- Trust Password: Cordelia is babbling to Giles about the wish she made, and how Buffy is supposed to be there. Come to think of it, Cordelia asks why he's there, as he was Buffy's Watcher. Giles is startled, as he never told anyone that he used to be a Watcher.
- Undeathly Pallor: Xander and Willow. Cordelia fails to notice, despite having already been told they were dead.
- The Unmasqued World
- Unwanted Assistance: Outside the Bronze, an apologetic Buffy catches up with Cordy and suggests they talk about how she's feeling. Cordy, realizing that Buffy's been there before, seems ready to bury the hatchet that when a vamp jumps out of nowhere. Buffy kicks him, knocking him into Cordelia who is then propelled into a pile of garbage.
Buffy: Cordelia, look —!! [CRUNCH] ...out.
- Vampires Own Nightclubs: The Bronze is now the home base of the Master. The club was very different before the vampires took over, but once they did, it became this trope in full (at least, as much as they could get away with on a network Teen Drama in the '90s), with vampires partying and humans chained up and fed on.
- Victory Is Boring:
- Implied with the Master, who laments that he doesn't have the same vigor for killing anymore. This is mirrored by his Evil Plan to industrialize blood removal from humans through assembly lines, thereby eliminating the predatory aspect of the vampire's nature.
- Cordy tries running from Xander and Willow, but only gets to the other side of the street before Xander snatches her and throws her to the asphalt, knocking her out. Willow grouses that she didn't even fight. When the duo later returns to the Bronze after killing Cordy, Xander says the deed was too easy. Willow: "I felt cheap."
- Villainous Demotivator: The Master orders Xander and Willow to kill Cordelia, or they'll be "kissing daylight".
- Villain World
- Visionary Villain: The Master, up on a dais with Xander and Willow, giving a Rousing Speech about the wonders of technology. He goes on that some have pooh-poohed such an advancement: "They claim that death is our art. I say to them — well, I don't say anything to them because I killed them." He says that the human concept of mass production will aid them in taking over the world.
Wishverse Xander: [choked up] We really are living in a Golden Age.
- Whole Plot Reference: The story shows considerable plot and characterisation similarities to the Doctor Who Mirror Universe story "Inferno". Xander's transformation from gentle heart of the group to sadistic fascist lackey is similar to that of Benton in "Inferno", the defeated Giles who eventually chooses hope at a key point is similar to Section-Leader Liz Shaw, the cold, scarred Buffy is similar to the evil Brigade-Leader, and in both stories the plot in the Mirror Universe ends grimly with the deaths of all of the alternate regular characters, whether good or evil.
- Wicked Cultured: When the Master sits down at the Bronze and asks for news from Xander, he says: "Now, what news on the Rialto?" This is a quote from The Merchant of Venice, at least the third time this play has been mentioned on Buffy.
- Woman Scorned: Cordelia.
- You Fool!
Anayanka: You trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this?
Giles: Because it has to be. (smashes amulet)
- You Remind Me of X: Buffy identifies with Willow's dread that her boyfriend (i.e. Angel) wants nothing more to do with her. Buffy later tries relating to Cordelia in this way, but it doesn't go over as well thanks to a badly-timed vampire attack.