Season 3 Episode 09 - The Wish
A lovely day finds Buffy, Willow and Xander up to their usual activities — namely, killing a demon. After the deed is done, the three friends sit and talk. Willow and Xander are still on the outs with their respective significant others after being caught kissing the week before, and Xander asks Buffy how she coped with not being able to see Angel. "I have you guys," the Slayer responds. This is, however, clearly not a philosophy Cordelia Chase buys into. She sits, impassively listening to the many messages Xander has left on her answering machine, as she cuts up a photo of herself, Xander, Willow and Buffy, and burns the pieces.
Cordelia shows up at school the next day looking good, and seems determined to put the whole Xander thing behind her. Her friends seem supportive, but soon turn hurtful. Meanwhile, Willow finally catches up to Oz, but a subdued Oz tells her in no uncertain terms to leave him alone. Cordelia grabs a guy named John Lee in the hallway in a ploy to make Xander jealous, which works, but John Lee tells her he doesn't want to be seen hanging with "Xander Harris's castoff." A stunned Cordy then runs into Anya, who goes against expectations and offers friendship. Cordy vows to be completely over Xander. She demonstrates it that night at the Bronze, enjoying herself rather ostentatiously as a jealous Xander, a sympathetic Buffy, and a guilty Willow look on. Buffy follows Cordy out into the alley to see if she's okay, but just as Cordelia appears about to open up to Buffy, a vampire attacks and Cordy is accidentally shoved into a pile of trash. After Buffy dispatches the vampire Cordy emerges, covered in trash, just in time for her friends to see. The next day, a bitter Cordy complains to Anya that Buffy's arrival in Sunnydale was the source of all her problems. Anya gives Cordelia her necklace as a gift to cheer her up. "I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale!" Cordelia says, and suddenly Anya's face becomes monstrous. "Done," Anya says, grinning.
There is a flash, and suddenly Anya is gone, along with half the students in the courtyard. Cordelia figures Anya was a good fairy, and happily goes off to class, where all her old friends love her again. Everything seems peachy (despite the fact that half the desks in the classroom are empty) until she suggests going out to the Bronze. Harmony acts as though Cordy has made a sick joke, and then when Cordy asks if Xander at Willow are at least miserable, Harmony replies, "Well, yeah... they're dead." Shocked, Cordelia leaves, only to find Sunnydale turned into a ghost town. Wandering through the downtown area at night, she is startled to run into Xander, who seems... different. Cordelia insists that they need to find Buffy, who can make everything right, but then Willow emerges from the shadows, dressed all in leather and dark makeup and hanging all over Xander. Cordy can't believe that, despite her wish, they're still together, wailing that she can't win. "Maybe not," Xander says, "but I'll give you a headstart." With that, his face shifts into vampire form. Realizing that Willow and Xander are now vampires, Cordelia runs, but Xander catches her, knocking her out. Just then, a van arrives and Giles jumps out wielding a large cross. With Oz covering them with a crossbow from the driver seat, Larry and a girl named Nancy get Cordy into the van and take her back to the library. Meanwhile, Willow and Xander go to the Bronze, which is now a vampire hangout and the home of the Master, who they tell about Cordelia and her mention of Buffy. The Master is angry that someone spoke of bringing a Slayer to Sunnydale now, because something called "the plant" is set to open the next night. He sends the two after Cordy, who has woken up and is trying to explain what happened to Giles. But suddenly he is locked in the book cage. Willow leers at him, and as Giles watches, she and Xander drink Cordelia's blood, killing her.
Oz and Larry return, reporting the death of Nancy in a vamp ambush, but as they take Cordelia's body away, Giles notices Anya's necklace around her neck and takes it. The next day, Willow and Xander report Cordelia's death to the Master, who is so pleased he agrees to let Willow "play with the puppy." That turns out to be a caged and chained Angel, who trembles as Willow tells him about the plant. "All those people you tried to save?" she says. "It's gonna be quick for them. It's gonna be slow for you." She then proceeds to torture him while Xander watches in admiration. That night, Giles finds that the necklace is the symbol of Anyanka, a patron saint of scorned women who grants wishes. He needs to go home for more research, but en route he sees some vampires hording people into the back of a van. He gets out and rescues the people, but is then at the vampires' mercy. Suddenly they all die. He looks up to see a scarred, unhappy-looking Buffy Summers, who demands to know why she's been called.
At Giles apartment, Giles finds out that Anyanka can be defeated by destroying her "power center," whatever that is, but a supremely unconcerned Buffy instead sets out to find and slay the Master. She finds the Bronze empty, except for Angel, who is still chained in the basement. She frees him, and together they head to the plant, where the Master makes a grand speech about the wonders of "mass production" and the bold new age ahead of them. Just as their evil assembly line claims its first victim, Buffy and Angel attack and chaos ensues. As the fight continues, Giles summons Anyanka, who threatens him. Then he notices her necklace and grabs it. Xander kills Angel, Buffy kills Xander, and Oz kills Willow. As Buffy and the Master square off, Anyanka yells at Giles, "Trusting fool! How do you know the other world is any better than this one?" Giles replies, "Because it has to be," smashing the necklace just as the Master breaks Buffy's neck, killing her. There is a flash, and suddenly all is back to normal. Anya is mortal and powerless, unable to act as Cordelia spouts off her list of ever-more outlandish revenge wishes.