Shit. Another extremely jarring commercial. At least it gives me a chance to breathe, though. I was holding my breath all through that last scene. Sniff.
Joyce's body is lying on a morgue table. Gloved hands remove her sweater and begin to cut off her camisole.
Have you ever tried to type a recap on your laptop while your cat insists on sitting in your lap and rubbing her head on your fingers as you type? It's very difficult, but oddly reassuring during such a sad episode. We cut to Tara, looking very sad. The camera pauses a long while on her face, and then we see she's watching Willow, who looks disheveled and like she's been crying. Willow is holding a shirt and staring at it vacantly.
Absolutely silent shot of Anya and Xander driving. The sound slowly comes up as Xander pulls up in front of Willow's dorm. We get an aerial shot of the car and pan back through the window of Willow's room.
"I think they're here," says Tara. Willow is still holding the same shirt. She throws it onto a pile of discarded clothes on the bed. In the car, Xander asks if Anya wants to come up to Willow's room, and she quietly tells him he's double-parked. He doesn't care, and they get out of the car. Now, for the first time in the history of this show, someone seems to be putting actual thought into one of their outfits. Willow is desperately asking Tara if a purple shirt is appropriate. She dithers that it's too depressing. She holds up a yellow T-shirt, declaring it "cheerier," but then worries that it would be rude to wear a cheery shirt. She looks through the closet and wrings her hands about a blue shirt she wants to wear that Joyce once complimented. I can really relate to this scene. To my dad's funeral, I wore mismatched shoes and ankle-zip, acid-wash jeans. Shudder. Let me repeat that. I wore acid-washed denim to my father's funeral.Yes, I was grief-stricken. Yes, it was 1988. Yes, I was thirteen. But still. But still. Recapping this episode is obviously some sort of karmic payback. It also goes to show you just how out of it my mom was that she let me out of the house wearing it. This was the woman who, when I turned twelve, decided that I should start wearing a bra. Never mind that at that point I was a 26 negative triple A cup in that my chest was still concave; she would still stop me before I went out, feeling up my shoulder and asking with her German accent, "Are you vearing zee praw-pear undervear?" In front of my friends. In front of my friends that were boys. Oh. Sorry. I got carried away there. This scene is about Willow's pain, not mine. Anyway. After having confirmed that the blue shirt isn't in Tara's room, Willow returns to worrying about the purple one. She's got a dark dribble down the front of her tank top from a tear or her nose running. Wow, Aly, that's method acting. Tara, hoping to reassure Willow, suggests that the purple is royal, which actually causes Willow to break into more tears. "Buffy needs me to be supportive," she whimpers. Grabbing up a pink sweater from the bed, she rants, "God! Why do all of my shirts have to have stupid things on them? Why can't I just dress like grown-up?" Tara comes to Willow and shushes her, placing her hands on her shoulders and kissing her forehead. "Tara," sobs Willow in a ragged voice, and suddenly the girls are sharing a natural, completely unadvertised kiss. Aw, sweet. And perhaps even a tiny sizzle of chemistry. Sure, it's only on the level of a few lightning bugs in a baby-food jar, but it's a start. They stand with their foreheads together and Tara assures Willow, "We can do this." Willow tries to pull herself together but starts sobbing again at the thought of "little Dawn." Tara tells Willow to be strong, and Willow replies, "Strong like an Amazon." Tara smiles in assent, but Willow is back to wishing she had her blue shirt.
Xander and Anya climb the stairs up to Willow's dorm room with Anya asking doubtfully, "So what do we do?" Xander monotones that he isn't sure. As they enter the hallway, Anya again asks, "Xander, what will we do? What will we be expected to do?" Xander can't answer that with anything but a stare. They come upon Willow's door ajar, and I don't think that, if my best friend's mom died, I'd leave my door cracked so all the sorority bitches could get a glimpse into my theatre of pain, but whatever. They enter, and Xander and Willow immediately gravitate towards hugging range. Tara and Anya stand around looking uncomfortable. Willow mentions that she's afraid of crying again and Anya, trying to make conversation, reveals that Xander indulged in the salt-eye over at the Non-basement of Non-debasement. She pronounces it "weird." Willow, slightly acidic, says, "It's a thing that we do," and Anya gives everyone such a hang-dog look that my heart goes out to her. The gang stands around looking uncomfortable until Anya breaks the silence by asking what's going to happen. Willow says that they're meeting the gang at the morgue. Then Willow gives Tara a pained look and goes off to change again. Xander desperately looks for someone to blame for this, settling first on Glory and then on "the doctors." Willow comes back to hear his tirade against the medical profession. Willow tells Xander that "it just happened," and Xander looks to the rest of the gang with a "Do you believe this crap?" look as he spits, "Things don't happen. Somebody's…I mean somebody's got…" Willow gives a little shake of her head and then raises her fists, offering to duke it out with him: "C'mon. You and me." Xander's look softens, and he takes Willow's head between his hands and gives her a long, tender kiss on the forehead. "You know I can't take you," says he. "Damn straight," agrees Willow. See! This is the kind of Xander/Willow friend-type interaction I've been missing, and then they give it to me like this? Damn Joss and his monkey paw!