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After Life

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 6, Episode 3
Air date October 9, 2001
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
"Bargaining, Part Two"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Guest Starring
Amber Benson Tara
Co Starring
Lisa Hoyle Demon
Bryan Friday Demon #1

"After Life" is the third episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred third episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on October 9, 2001.

The Scooby Gang fights a ghostly demon that appears as a consequence of resurrecting Buffy. Buffy adjusts to being alive.


603 AfterLife1

Spike tells Buffy how many days has passed since her death.

The Scooby Gang rush to find Buffy and figure she is at her house. The bikers are on the run now that Razor has been killed. At the house, Buffy is confused and acting weird as she surveys the changed scenery of her house and is told by Dawn that Giles has left. Spike arrives, angry and looking for Dawn. When Dawn and Buffy walk downstairs, Spike speaks to Dawn, believing Buffy to be the repaired Buffybot. When Spike gets a clear look at Buffy, he realizes without being told that Buffy is back. He softens and helps clean up her wounded hands. They talk about how long she's been gone; Spike has counted the days, all 147 of them. When the Scooby Gang arrives and focuses on the Slayer, Spike slips out.

Unable to stand all the concern, Buffy goes upstairs while Xander and Anya leave for food. Outside, the two find a hurt Spike, who's mad that he wasn't told about the plan to resurrect Buffy, despite having helped the gang all summer. He then realizes that his love of Buffy would have made him an obstacle if Buffy returned as something that would have had to have been destroyed. He warns Xander of the consequences they'll have to face, because they always exist with magic.

After notifying Giles of Buffy's return, Willow and Tara go to bed and talk about the spell and changes in Buffy. In her room, Buffy looks at the pictures surrounding her and they briefly turn to pictures of skulls. During the night, Willow and Tara are visited in their room by Buffy, who yells at them and hints at Willow killing the deer ("Bargaining, Part One"). When the girls get up to investigate, Buffy's asleep in her room and neither knows the source of the incident. A moving lump appears in the ceiling and motivates Willow to call Xander. In the background while Xander talks, Anya enters the room with a knife and smokey eyes, slitting her cheek before collapsing as the lump travels across the floor.

603 AfterLife2

Dawn possessed.

The gang gather the next day for brainstorming, but no one is sure what this thing is and Buffy is still very closed off. At the Magic Box, Buffy still seems out of place and leaves to patrol... Alone. With Buffy gone, the demon has taken over Dawn, who shouts at her friends and breathes fire before collapsing. Buffy finds Spike at his crypt and the two talk, rather awkwardly at first. Spike opens up to her, expressing his guilt for not saving her or Dawn. He explains that every night afterward, he thought up better ways to rescue her and he wishes so much to have been able to do it for real.

Led on by Spike's hinting that Willow knew her spell might do something bad, Xander questions whether either of the witches knew the dangers, but is quickly quieted. Willow reveals that this creature was created by the spell that brought Buffy back. The demon currently does not possess a body, which is why it has been possessing members of the gang. A reversal of the spell will cancel out the creation of the demon, but it can't be done without also reversing Buffy's resurrection.

603 AfterLife

Buffy asks Spike to keep her secret.

After Dawn freaks out about the concept of losing Buffy again, Willow discovers that the demon can only survive if Buffy is killed. The demon, which had been housed in Xander's body while Willow shared this information, thanks Willow for the information and heads for the Slayer.

Buffy is attacked by the formless demon which she can't hurt, but she can be hurt by it. Willow and Tara cast a spell to make the demon solid. Buffy kills the demon with an axe. Normality is somewhat resumed as Dawn heads to school the next day and Buffy sees her off. Buffy visits her friends at the magic shop and tells them that she was in Hell and she appreciates that they brought her back.

Buffy goes outside behind the shop to be alone, where she finds Spike hiding in a patch of shade. He tries to talk to her and offers to help her if there is any way he can. She admits to him that although she wasn't initially sure, she knows that she wasn't in Hell, she was in Heaven, and her friends pulled her out. Spike is shocked as she tells him that this reality is her Hell, and she stresses that her friends can never know the truth.


  • When Spike sees Buffy's injured hands in this episode, he says that he knows how it feels to claw your way out of your coffin, since he had done it himself. However, in the episode "Lies My Parents Told Me", it is revealed that his mother did not know that he was dead, so she could not have had him buried, which raises questions about whether Spike ever had to break out of a coffin, though, in an Angel episode, Drusilla buries a recently bitten Darla in compost, where Angel states that she has a habit of burying things. She may also have buried Spike after she bit him.
  • Early in the episode, furious that the Scoobies concealed their plan to resurrect Buffy, Spike grabs and briefly manhandles Xander, despite the implanted microchip that prevents him from harming humans; on close examination, Spike can be seen to wince from the pain the chip inflicts for his actions, but he is so angry he does not care.
  • Spike is also shown to be the second person to be worried about Willow's magic strengthening (the first was Tara, in season 5, and again we see her worried during the resurrection), foreshadowing Willow's magic addiction throughout the season. Spike's parting words are "The thing about magic—there's always consequences—always!", which is theme for many episodes of the show, as early on as "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" in season 2.
  • In the spin-off series Angel, the demon Skip mentions in the episode "Inside Out" Buffy coming back from Heaven. He says "You don't come back from Paradise... Well, a Slayer, once."
  • In "Who Are You", it is revealed that Tara can read auras, allowing her to sense that Faith was in Buffy's body. In this episode, however, she doesn't use this to sense that Xander and Dawn have been possessed.

Body Count

  • Child of Words, corporealized by Willow and Tara's spell and decapitated by Buffy with an axe

Behind the Scenes


  • The scene in which Anya is possessed by the demon ghost and slashes her face several times while laughing maniacally was trimmed by SkyOne for the UK broadcast to show her laughing and then collapsing, editing out the face-slashing.


Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • Anya comes back to the Magic Box with 4 beverages, saying coffee is for Xander, Tara, and Willow, and that she got Dawn hot chocolate because she is too young for coffee. Dawn overreacts because she is possessed, but Anya takes it that she's mad that she got hot chocolate and Anya says Dawn can have her coffee, although there are only 4 beverages.
  • During the top down view of the table the possessed Dawn sets fire to, the flamethrower used for the stunt can clearly be seen on the lower right hand corner.
  • Willow calls Giles to inform him of Buffy's resurrection, however, given that he had only departed that afternoon it is impossible that he would have reached England by the time she contacted him.

International titles

  • French: Résurrection (Resurrection)  
  • Portuguese: Vida Após a Morte (Life After Death)
  • German: Gruß aus der Hölle (Greetings from Hell)  


  • There's an allusion to Buffy being in heaven when she's walking in the graveyard and sort of pauses in front of a statue of an angel. It makes it look as though she has wings. This also foreshadows that Buffy really was in heaven and came back as a "broken fallen angel".


Anya - "Well, yeah. The jet-lag from hell has gotta be, you know, jet-lag from hell."
Buffy - "How long was I gone?"
Spike - "Hundred and forty-seven days yesterday. Uh ... hundred and forty-eight today. 'Cept today doesn't count, does it? How long was it for you ... where you were?"
Buffy - "Longer."
Spike - "Uh, I do remember what I said. The protect her. If I'd have done that ... even if I didn't make it ... you wouldn't have had to jump. But I want you to know I did save you. Not when it counted, of course, but ... after that. Every night after that. I'd see it all again ... do something different. Faster or more clever, you know? Dozens of times, lots of different ways ... Every night I save you."
Spike - "Well, I haven't been to a hell dimension just of late, but I do know a thing or two about torment."
Buffy - "I was happy. Wherever I was ... I was happy peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time...didn't mean anything. Nothing had form. But I was still me, you know? And I was warm. And I was loved. And I was finished. Complete. I ... I don't understand theology or dimensions, any of it really... but I think I was in heaven. And now I'm not. I was torn out of there. Pulled out, by my friends. Everything here is hard and bright and violent. Everything I feel, everything I touch. This is Hell. Just getting through the next moment, and the one after that. Knowing what I've lost. They can never know. Never."

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