Synopsis: The Master is back but not really. Actually, nothing in this episode really happens. Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and a demon named Anyanka actually grants her wish, but it is all reset by the end of the episode.
Review: The Wish is yet another episode penned by Marti Noxon. Noxon joined the Buffy staff with season two as story editor. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was her first job in Hollywood, and she wrote six episodes her first season working. Only Joss Whedon can claim the same: he wrote six episodes of Roseanne the first season he was hired, and Roseanne was his first Hollywood job. Noxon received multiple promotions every season. She was promoted to Executive Producer and took over Whedon’s role as show runner during the last season of Buffy, because Whedon was busy developing Firefly at this time. I have no doubt that Noxon is a very talented writer; I simply have not liked most of the episodes she has written so far.
It seems like most series finally get around to an alternate reality episode--especially sci-fi series. Sometimes they are good. Most of the time, they are bad. The Wish was bad. In fact, as a Buffy fan, it was painful to watch. In alternate reality episodes that are good, the writer has fun with the characters and setting. Nothing about The Wish was fun. It was dark and creepy. Xander and Willow came off as lame Spike and Drusilla wannabes. Buffy came off as bored with her lame alternate persona.
This episode was also riddled with plot holes. They made such a huge deal about prophecy and destiny in the first season with the Master. All the prophecies about the Master intricately involved Buffy as slayer. In season one we were told that he could not even escape without the help of Buffy. All this is ignored in this episode, and the Master escapes without the help of Buffy. Since all of Sunnydale is aware of the vampire threat, why is everyone not toting crosses and holy water? Why is Giles the only one smart enough to pack a crucifix?
There was actually no character development in this episode, because none of the events really happened, and we knew from the very beginning that none of the events were going to have any consequences. There was no truth for the characters to learn in this episode either, because nobody remembered a thing. Most reviews of this episode compared it to It's a Wonderful Life. This is an unfair comparison. It's a Wonderful Life had a definite message that this episode did not even come close to. The dues ex amulet was the final blow that crushed any hopes of this episode being taken seriously and receiving better than a 2 out of 10.
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)