Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
The impact of Joyce's death (see "The Body") continues as Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and friends endure her funeral and its aftermath. The Slayer's dad doesn't even bother to call, but her vampire ex, Angel (David Boreanaz), arrives after sundown to comfort and reassure her that she'll get through this ordeal. Spike (James Marsters) even pays his respects with some flowers, reflecting his strange but longstanding bond with his ex-enemy's mother. A newly thoughtful Anya (Emma Caulfield) urgently makes love with Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and ruminates on the nature of mortality. Meanwhile, Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg), convinced by Buffy's steely exterior that her sister doesn't even care that Joyce is gone, sullenly insists on spending the night with surrogate siblings Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson). There, she announces her desire to raise her mother from the grave, an undertaking that the Wiccan lovers sternly warn her can lead to no good. Nonetheless, Dawn "borrows" magical tomes from both Tara and the magic shop, then recruits Spike to assist in her sorcery. The pair receive instructions from a creepy "doctor" (Joel Grey) who warns them that Joyce may not come back as she was. Just as Dawn is completing her spell, Tara and Willow contact Buffy with the news that their necromancy references are missing. The Slayer rushes home and has it out with Dawn, revealing her own hidden emotional devastation, which convinces Dawn to cancel her enchantment the instant before Joyce's reanimated corpse would have walked into the family's home. In the end only two Summers women are left, but they're both on the floor crying and comforting one another. Originally broadcast April 17, 2001, on the WB network, "Forever" marked episode 95 of the cult-favorite series. The character of Doc would appear again in the season finale (see "The Gift"), while Willow would revise her thinking on resurrection the following season (see "Bargaining, Part 1").