The Wish (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"The Wish"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Buffy 3x09.jpg
In the alternate universe, vampires Willow and Xander kill Cordelia
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 9
Directed by David Greenwalt
Written by Marti Noxon
Production code 3ABB09
Original air date December 8, 1998
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Lovers Walk"
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List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"The Wish" is the ninth episode of season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Following Xander and Willow's kiss in "Lovers Walk", Oz has called a time-out on his relationship with Willow and Cordelia is decidedly avoiding any contact with Xander. Cordelia returns to school only to be rejected by Harmony and her former clique, taunted as "Xander's castoff". Cordelia goes to The Bronze that night and Buffy accidentally humiliates Cordelia further by knocking her into a pile of trash in front of her friends while fighting a vampire. Cordelia decides that Buffy is to blame for her predicament, as she never would have dated Xander if his association with Buffy hadn't made him marginally cooler. The next day, Anya - a new girl who has been trying to befriend Cordelia - gives Cordelia an amulet while goading Cordelia into wishing something bad would happen to Xander. But Cordelia keeps talking about how things would have been better without Buffy, and then wishes that Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale. Anya immediately switches to vengeance demon form, that of Anyanka, and grants the wish.

Cordelia is delighted to find herself in a Buffy-free - yet sparsely populated - Sunnydale. She is once again the most popular girl in school, her Cordettes are at her beck and call, and handsome jock John Lee wants to date her. However, her happiness is short lived when she realises that the town is overrun by vampires, since Buffy was never there to prevent The Harvest and The Master has risen and created a vast army of vampires, which terrorize the surviving humans. Most of the student bodies are either dead or vampires and there is a nighttime curfew. Brightly colored garments are banned, because they attract vampires, and the lockers are festooned with garlic. Cordelia quickly loses her cool when she finds out that Willow and Xander are dead. Walking through the streets at night she meets Xander and Willow – now aggressive, capricious vampires. Cordelia is saved by "The White Hats," a group of human vampire-fighters led by Giles including Oz, Larry, and a girl named Nancy.

Cordelia tries to explain to Giles what happened and asks to have Buffy back so that things could be the way they were; but, before she can elaborate, she is killed by Xander and Willow, whom The Master had sent as assassins, fearing that Cordelia would summon The Slayer to Sunnydale. The Master is very pleased and Willow gains permission to play with the "Puppy" for a while. As she enters the cell and rolls the prisoner over, we see that the "Puppy" is Angel. She cheerfully begins torturing him with matches while Xander watches.

Giles calls Buffy's contacts in Cleveland but is able only to leave a message for the otherwise very busy Slayer. He learns that the amulet Cordelia was wearing is that of Anyanka's, the vengeance demon of scorned and wronged women, whose granted wishes can be undone only if her center of power is destroyed.

The Master has created machinery to industrialize harvesting of blood from captive humans, eliminating vampires' need to hunt for food. Giles, on his way home, is nearly captured by vampires who are herding humans for the plant; he is rescued by Buffy, the Slayer, who in this reality is cold and cynical, resembling Faith. She doubts that Giles can reverse Anya's spell, but does offer to kill the Master while she is in town. Buffy finds Angel imprisoned; when she sees that he is a vampire, she initially rejects his help, but the marks of torture persuade her that he is no friend of the Master.

The Master starts up the plant with the first human victim before a cage of prisoners, including Oz and Larry. Buffy and Angel attack the vampires. Xander kills Angel; Buffy kills Xander; Oz kills Willow; The Master breaks Buffy's neck.

Meanwhile, Giles uses a spell to summon Anyanka to his house, who confirms Cordelia's story. Giles soon guesses that Anyanka's own amulet is the center of her powers; he tears it from her neck and prepares to smash it. In a last-ditch attempt to distract him, Anyanka asks how he can be sure the real world is a better one. Giles replies with hope, "Because it has to be." He breaks the power center and reverses the spell.

The original reality is immediately restored, at the moment of Cordelia's wish. As before, Anyanka triumphantly says "Done!" but finds to her dismay and confusion that she is now a powerless human.


  • Even in the alternate reality, the prophecy contained in the Pergamum Codex (as referenced in "Prophecy Girl") comes to pass: "The Master will rise and the Slayer will die."
  • Dark Willow's repetitive use of the phrase "bored now" echoes her words to Warren just before [flaying him alive] in Season 6.

Arc significance[edit]

  • This is Anya's first appearance. She will be an important/main character in the rest of the series.
  • The alternate reality of The Wish will be revisited in Doppelgangland, an episode centering on Willow and her vampire counterpart.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]