Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) returns home, chattering animatedly to her mother until she discovers Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) cold and apparently dead on the couch. She dials 911, makes an unsuccessful attempt at CPR, and watches, dumbfounded, as the paramedics meet with similar failure. Alone with the body, she waits until Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) arrives and comforts her, then heads to the school, where she has to break the news to a devastated and hysterical Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg). Elsewhere, the Scoobies gather to join the Summers family. Willow (Alyson Hannigan) shares a tender kiss with Tara (Amber Benson) but later grows incensed at what she perceives as the insensitivity of Anya (Emma Caulfield). The normally snide ex-demon then tearfully reveals her ignorance of mortal vulnerabilities and her anger and confusion at the fleetingness of life. Her boyfriend, Xander (Nicholas Brendon), deals with his feelings the old-fashioned way: he puts his hand through a wall. Eventually everyone gathers at the hospital, where Dawn, needing to see her mother one last time, wanders to the morgue and is attacked by a newly risen vampire. Buffy finds her and struggles to kill the vamp through her sea of grief. In the protracted battle, the sheet falls away from Joyce's body, leaving Dawn and Buffy to face the reality of simple, human death, so different from the theatrical dustings and beheadings to which they're accustomed. Originally broadcast February 27, 2001, on the WB network, "The Body" marked episode 94 of the cult-favorite series. Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, this episode contains no score or incidental music besides the standard theme song. It also marks the first on-screen physical intimacy between longtime same-sex lovers Willow and Tara.
by Brian J. Dillard synopsis