Well, time to start recapping this episode. Yep, all set to go. But, um, my cat just hopped up next to me -- she looks like she needs some attention. Perhaps I'll just get her favorite toy and play with her for a little while. Can't be neglecting the cat, you know.
Okay, I'm back. All ready to start recapping. But it seems like I might have left a dirty mug in the sink. It's not too dirty -- I just used it for tea. But my roommate might be home soon and I wouldn't want to inconvenience her. I'll just pop into the kitchen and clean that up.
'Kay, that's done. Can't think why I'm having so many problems getting started on this recap. Except maybe because this episode, while artfully done, was incredibly affecting and sad. I'm not really looking forward to sitting through it again, let alone having to pause, rewind, pause, rewind on every single scene. I think I have some bills to pay and perhaps a little German homework to finish. I mean, I really can't be falling behind on my studies. Especially since we're covering the economic ramifications of reunification. You can't let that kind of stuff get away from you or it's just all over.
Procrastination time is over. I've now steeled myself to begin.
The beginning of the episode is the same as the last few moments of "I Was Made To Love You." Buffy enters the house and sees that Joyce has gotten flowers from a man she recently dated. Buffy smiles at the card enclosed with the flowers and calls for her mother. She enters the living room and sees her mother lying on the sofa with her eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. "Mom? Mom? Mommy?"
Credits. The happiest, most carefree part of tonight's episode. Maybe I'll rewind and watch them a few times. Sigh.
We come back from commercial to all the Scoobies enjoying a Christmas dinner at the Summers's home. The dining room is decorated with candles and swags of greenery containing tiny lights. As Joyce and Buffy clear plates from the table, Xander makes an inappropriate joke about barfing from overeating, which Joyce chooses to take as a compliment. Giles takes his plate out to the kitchen, leaving Xander, Anya, Willow, Tara, and Dawn still sitting at the table. Queasy lookin' Willow complains she had "too much [egg] nog," and Tara, holding her hand, sympathizes, "Aw, baby, want me to rub your tummy? She likes it when I, uh -- stop explaining things." Tara then asks Dawn if she wrote a letter to Santa, but Dawn teenages that of course she doesn't believe in Jolly Saint Nick. "That's a myth," chimes in Anya. Dawn is pleased, thinking Anya is backing her up, but Anya clarifies, "It's a myth that it's a myth. There is a Santa Claus." But this being Sunnydale, the Santa Claus Anya is referring to is actually a demon with reindeer who comes down chimneys to "disembowel children." Cheery.
Buffy clears some more plates, and we follow her into the kitchen. Joyce laments having burned a pie, and Giles offers to open another bottle of wine. Buffy quips that she just wants them to "stay away from the band candy," causing Giles to cough and leave the room. "You are a demon child," teases Joyce. They share a sweet moment, and as Buffy accidentally dumps the pie on the kitchen floor, we cut to the present. Close-up of Joyce's pale, pale face. Buffy runs to the couch and shakes her mother, repeating, "Mom. Mom. Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!" in increasingly panicked tones. Is it allergy season? Because I seem to have a little something in my eye. Could be cat dander, I suppose. Let me just make sure to pull the box of tissues a little closer. The shaking having provided no results, Buffy leaps up and runs into the kitchen for the phone. She pants desperately as she dials 911 and manages to stutter to the operator, "It's my mom. She's not breathing!" As Buffy gives her address to the operator, she walks back into the living room. The operator says she's sent an ambulance and Buffy, still panting and holding back tears, demands, "What should I do?" The operator suggests CPR; Buffy sobs that she's forgotten it, but as the 911 operator starts to give her instructions, Buffy seems to recall. "I can do this," she tells herself, and puts down the phone so she can pull Joyce flatter on the couch. She tilts her mother's head back, breathes into her mouth, and begins chest compressions. Suddenly there's a snapping noise and Buffy, alarmed, stops doing CPR. She grabs the phone again and tells the operator, who assures her she "might have cracked a rib" and that it's not important. "She's cold," Buffy tells her in a confused childish voice, and there's a terribly painful and ominous pause on the other end of the phone. Um, sniff -- playing with the cat earlier must really have kicked up some dust in here, because my eyes sure seems to be watering. Maybe I should vacuum? "The body's cold?" asks the operator, but Buffy corrects her, "No! My mom." She wants to know if she should warm Joyce up, but the operator tells her just to wait for the paramedics. Buffy stands and looks out the front window. We can hear traffic pass by, and the operator still talking indistinctly on the other end of the line. Buffy raises the phone to her ear and calmly tells the operator she has to make another call. She hangs up the phone, and we get an extreme close-up of the keypad. Pause. Then Buffy dials a number and when Giles answers, she says, "Giles. You have to come. She's at the house." She hangs up and lowers the phone, staring vacantly at nothing. She opens the front door, and we can hear the ambulance siren drawing nearer and then pulling up in front of the house. Buffy walks back into the living room, leaving the front door open. She notices that Joyce's skirt has been pulled up over her thighs, and gets a panicky look. Looking over her shoulder to make sure the paramedics haven't come inside, she pulls Joyce's skirt back down.