He Killed Off Joyce Summers!
Who Was She?
She was Buffy’s mummy! She was there for Buffy all through the first four seasons, sometimes giving her advice and quite often a stern perplexed look of “quoi”? (See, in my mind, I always thought that Joyce thinks in French) Joyce provided a rock for Buffy, always being there to give some nurturing advice/occasionally get kidnapped. There was this one time that she denounced Buffy to the rest of the town… but there was magic involved, it was all complicated and whatever, let’s not dwell on it. Basically, she was the nicest person and she helped Buffy to keep going, even when she was in crisis. And then she died. On the sofa. She came back, admittedly, just in time to creep the hell out of everyone in that episode which didn’t have Xander. But at this point she was, admittedly, an illusion created by The First Evil.
How Did She Die?
Aneurism, yo! She got some kind of tumour in her head towards the start of season 5, and then she got cured from it. And then she died from a complication. It was one of the only deaths that happened where magical spirits were not involved at any point, and Buffy got to walk in to her home and find her dead mother lying on the sofa, eyed wide open. Damn, Joss.
Why Did She Die?
Things were getting too happy – Buffy wasn’t upset about anything, Xander and Willow were both in happy relationships (not with each other, natch) and Giles was… off doing whatever Giles did best, I suppose. Obviously, someone needed to die. As Buffy didn’t have a boyfriend at this moment in time, Joss was forced to turn to her family. Dad had been missing for some time, her little sister was part of the ongoing storyline, so Joyce was the only option he had left. And besides, what’s more cruel than to almost kill off a character, then pretend she’s fine, and THEN kill her off? Genius. So Buffy’s mum died, and this sparked off possibly one of the finest hours of dramatic television, as we saw all the main characters try to deal with this unexpected death. For once, you could justify the death of Joyce, because the character was completely rounded off in the episodes afterwards. This was dealt with properly, paying full attention to her and what she meant to everyone, and you have to respect a writer who can stop his show for something like this. And at least she died after having sex with Anthony Head. If only all women could be so lucky.
Joss, You Monster! Rating:
4. It was shocking and cruel, yes, but Joss justified it in the end, which is more than he ever did with Wesley. (Grrr)