Guess what, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans: We ARE in the dark timeline! (Well, just for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 9, at least.)
We were treated to our first "What if?" scenario if Buffy Summers never came to Sunnydale. If you thought Sunnydale couldn't get any more dangerous, you haven't seen the world Anyanka created. Living on a Hellmouth did this town no justice.
Don't believe us? Join us in rewatching "The Wish" to find out.
Cordelia had every right to wallow after her breakup with Xander.
Come on, her boyfriend cheated on her with his best friend! She broke down any high school political barriers that she held up previously for years to date someone that she was falling in love with. And, in the end, he betrayed her worse than any of the others who came before.
Xander is the worst because he didn't care about Cordelia's feelings until he got caught. Did he really think after a week she would return any of his messages? He'd have to hold his breath for that call.
High school politics aside, the Cordettes were particularly cruel to her in her lowest moment. Cordelia may not have been the most gracious leader, but she wasn't a tyrant to them.
Harmony was supposed to be Cordelia's best friend and she treated her the worst.
We can only assume that Cordelia was the one who told the Cordettes about her breaking up with Xander, and him cheating on her. Only the six Scoobies knew about the cheating scandal, so someone had to have spilled it to the greater populace.
By the time she got to The Bronze with Anya, we can all agree that Cordelia reached the last straw.
Every single person kicked her when she was down, and she made a strong effort to smile through it all. However, there's only so much one person can take. Getting knocked down into trash put the cherry on top of it all.
At that moment after the Cordettes made fun of her again, she sought out any person to channel her blame. In this case, her target became Buffy.
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 Buffy Summers.Cordelia
After rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 9 again, I came to the conclusion that Cordelia never truly believed that Buffy was the cause of all the pain in her life.
She blamed Xander and Willow for the cheating scandal, but Buffy was the connection that tied them together. Her justification for venting to Anya merely helped her look back to a reason why she even checked out Xander in the first place. Buffy presented an easy solution.
Though, as we've discussed in the past during these rewatches, Cordelia had been in full control of all her decisions.
After her encounter with the Scoobies during Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 11, Cordelia could've walked away from the supernatural world easily. Her tormentor ended up in handcuffs, and she could've stuck to her life as a cheerleader. However, time and time again she went back to the Sunnydale library to help the Scoobies and fight evil.
Reluctantly or not, she wanted to do good and save the world.
Buffy may have led the Scoobies, which created the opportunities to fight demons and meet the guy. But, Cordelia needed to lash out at someone.
Was anyone else super happy to see Anya (played by Emma Caulfield)?
Anya was one of the funniest and wittiest characters on Buffy the Vampire Slayer during its final four seasons. The role expanded from this villainous Monster of the Week to become a full-fledged character with a rich backstory. You can't think of the Scoobies without thinking about Anya.
We're so thankful that she was given the chance to return after "The Wish." Let's not even consider the "What if?" without her in our lives.
Anyanka's dark reality proposed a scenario that followed the classic "It's A Wonderful Life" trope. Just think about Sunnydale if Buffy Summers never came to town. The town would be a dark and dangerous place to be!
We witnessed that reality because Cordelia brought it to fruition. Her wish created a parallel universe where our favorite slayer never came to town, which brought with it death and destruction.
However, in the short time that we did see this new darker Sunnydale, a lot of plotholes and questions came up.
Like, if everyone knew vampires were controlling the town/nightlife, why would anyone stay? Isn't it better for the teens to be able to drive so that they're home early before sundown? Why aren't the teens then able to leave school early to get home before dark?
Also, in this new timeline, wouldn't Cordelia already be dead? She would've died at The Bronze during the Harvest on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1. Her blood would've been used to help free the Master since Buffy wasn't around to save her.
By the events of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 alone, this alternate reality shouldn't have existed.
Willow and Xander being turned into vampires made a lot of sense. Willow and Jesse (Xander's former best friend) were going to be food for The Master, and since they're best friends with Xander, it would've only been a matter of time before they turned him. Still, the shock did serve its purpose.
When Harmony originally mentioned that the characters were dead, I remember as a kid being sad that they had been killed. But, the vampire personas presented an interesting twist in this new world.
Two of the founding members of the Scoobies portrayed their evil counterparts as witty vampires that were surprisingly fun to watch. They were ruthless, cold, and had a penchant for quick deaths.
Plus, we can all agree that Willow presented the biggest shift in personalities between her good girl vs. vampire woman image. Vampire Willow LOVED the evil, and especially tormenting Angel as her prisoner!
It's a shame that Cordelia died in this new dark world.
She never stood a chance once Willow and Xander were ordered by The Master to kill her. Since she knew the truth of the real reality, she posed the biggest problem for the progression of this darker plot. Cordelia had to go for the characters to not be fully affected.
However, just imagine if Cordelia had been the one to save the day and destroy the necklace. Stopping Anyanka and leading the new crop of Scoobies would've been her redemption moment to forgive the others. We missed out on an empowering Cordelia storyline.
Don't get me wrong, Cordelia's death created a great twist that we still talk about today, but there were other avenues that could've been explored too.
When you watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 9 for the first time, did you envision The Master would return?
I loved this plot twist. It's no secret that I'm a Master apologist in the list of Big Bads on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He had a short run as a Big Bad, so any scene that he's incorporated in is always a treat.
Plus, The Master was one of the only monsters to ever kill Buffy Summers. That defeat earned him a title that not many other villains or Big Bads could claim.
Even to this day, what was the fascination with The Bronze? Was it the ONLY bar in town?!
Everyone seemed to congregate at this location, and in the dark world, The Master and his acolytes turned it into their new hideout. The place must've been special enough to these vampires when they were humans to claim that location as their base.
The bar-turned-hideout looked more dangerous than anything we've seen in an episode of True Blood before. Bodies everywhere, people in cages, and screams throughout the night. The Master created a dark world full of death and fear.
No wonder Harmony and the Cordettes turned ghostly white when Cordelia mentioned visiting the place. In this reality of Sunnydale, there would be no reason to be out at night, especially with the fear of ending up there.
Giles: "In order to defeat Anyanka, one must destroy her power center. This should reverse all the wishes she's granted rendering her mortal and powerless again." You see, without her power center, she'll just be an ordinary woman again. And all of this will be, um, well, different. Well, I'd say that my Watcher muscles haven't completely atrophied after all.
Buffy: Great. What's her power center?
Giles: Um, well, um, uh... It doesn't say.
Buffy: Why don't I just put a stake through her heart?
Giles: She's not a vampire.
Buffy: Yeah? Well, you'd be surprised how many things that'll kill.
Giles: I don't want to kill her, Miss Summers. I want to reverse whatever effect she's had on this... this world.
Buffy: You're taking an awful lot on faith here, Jeeves.
Buffy: Kill the bad fairy, destroy the bad fairy's power center, whatever... and all the troubles go away?
The biggest surprise in the dark world had to be Buffy's change.
Long gone was the girl who wanted to be a cheerleader and enjoyed quippy one-liners for days. Instead, we had a cold-hearted rebel... with a strange scar on her face.
In a world without friends and hope, she turned into someone like Faith pretty easily. Whereas Kendra thrived on being trained, Faith ran from the world with a huge chip on her shoulder; dark Buffy held this same tone. Is this why Faith and Buffy always seemed to relate to one another at their core?
Faith was what Buffy could've become had she not moved to Sunnydale, while Faith wanted to be like Buffy with her happy-ish life. New Buffy also came across as a tad annoying.
Sure, life in Cleveland with the Hellmouth must've been hard, but her over sarcasm and dismissal to Giles about the danger in Sunnydale helped no one. The Master essentially took over an entire town! That alone should've been cause for worry.
Plus, if everyone was placing their hopes on her to save their lives, the truth should've been clear to her that Sunnydale was on the brink of imploding.
Angel practically fell in love at the sight of finally seeing Buffy. He had all his hopes and dreams that she would solve everything.
New Buffy acted like that rebellious teenager who thought they had the world figured out and considered it to be a bad place. I didn't like the way she treated Giles, and her ego was going to get her into danger. Especially with a dangerous job like being the slayer.
Angel: The Master rose. He let me live... to punish me. I kept hoping maybe you'd come. My destiny...
Buffy: Is this a "get-in-my-pants" thing? You guys in Sunnydale talk like I'm the second coming.
Side-note: Just think all of the characters still alive and the changes made in this new reality.
Kendra and Faith never became the second slayer, and Kendra would still be alive. Darla, Jenny Calendar, Luke, and the countless other monsters, classmates, and victims would mostly be alive too.
We missed out on witnessing the return of those fallen characters in this alternate reality plot.
The fight at the blood factory might be one of the best sequences in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's history.
After one of the Cordettes was drained of blood and the captives were freed, the entire place descended into madness. That chaos, and our Scoobies fighting each other created a memorable moment that hit an emotional punch.
The slow-motion fighting mixed in with the music didn't skip a beat. We had to sit and watch as each of the characters that we grew to love over three seasons were systematically killed one-by-one. No one was spared during this battle.
Plus, when you add in Anyanka's voiceover throughout the action, her words pair together the severity of this dark reality of what could've been.
Until I rewatched "The Wish" again and dissected the scene, I hadn't considered the impact of the Scoobies' deaths and the feeling we were meant to take away.
Ever since Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1, the Scoobies' true power came from working together. The power of friendship served as their secret weapon because they each supported each other and brought something to the table that benefitted them all. And, because of her friends, Buffy proved to be one of the most successful slayers ever.
On the opposite side, when the Scoobies were against each other, they each fell to death as they were on their own. Even Buffy died at The Master's hands because she thought she could take on the Big Bad by herself.
In this new world, they failed, and they would continue to fail because they were missing the real ingredient for their success.
Anyanka: This is the real world now. This is the world we made.
[Giles pulls the necklace from her and pushes her away]
Anyanka: You trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this?
Giles: Because it has to be.
Luckily, Giles was able to break Anyanka's spell and bring everyone back to the real world. All of our favorite characters came back to life with none of the memories.
Though, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 9 won't be the last we'll hear of the dark world. We'll be reuniting to this plot with a familiar foe really soon!
What did you think of "The Wish"? Were you happy this wasn't the last time we saw Anya? Did you want more of the dark reality? Which darker counterpart was your favorite character?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come back here and share your thoughts of the episode in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.