We are met with a very confusing issue filled with time travel and universe switching. But it allows us to connect the world we once knew with the one it is now. For better or worse, things have changed.
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
As we kick off the issue, it looks like Xander has been trying to piece together the Judge. This is in comparison to Spike and Drusilla doing it in the original timeline. For all the time Xander dedicated to the resurrection, it was not to be. Just as the last piece is about to be joined, Buffy and the gang bust in to put a stop to it. Xander escapes, his plans foiled, but the gang’s intention was focused on Willow instead. They are trying to track down where she might be.
It’s not so much where Willow is, but when. Giles finds a newspaper from the 90s and then Buffy opens a door to find The Bronze outside. Not only have they gone back in time, they’ve switched universes to what we know as the original timeline. It’s a place where the Scooby gang are still together, where Xander crushes on Cordelia, and where no one has become a vampire or died. In some ways, perhaps it’s the ideal.
When we switch over to Anya and Morgan of our universe, the time and universe hopping starts making more sense. Willow opened the door to another universe, the one we got a glimpse of. She’s been watching all her friends and what their lives were like if other choices were made. Anya can track Willow thanks to the necklace she gave her, but there’s also other dangers to look out for. There are things called Lurkers, ghost dogs that sniff out human travelers on the astral plane that don’t belong. It’s up to her to travel the pathways and rescue the wayward Slayers, Watchers, and friends.
In the original world, Faith and Robin are talking about Faith dusting Xander. She feels like she made the wrong choice, but Robin says she did what she had to do. In hopes of making things right, Faith wants to find a way to follow the gang, but Robin thinks they should stay put. The choice is taken out of their hands as they are able to jump worlds and end up face to face with Principal Synder and two cops. He thinks they’re trying to open the Hellmouth again. We later see the mayor show up, so perhaps he will hold power over Faith once again.
In whatever world they ended up in, Ethan is trying to get away before Wesley gets kidnapped by Anya. He is brought back to where Giles and the Scooby gang are. She’s trying to protect them, make sure the Lurkers don’t get to them. They just need to track down Willow and they can be on their way. Buffy finds the wayward witch, who has been watching her friends from the other world. She’s so happy to see the others well and thriving. If only her world was like that. Buffy finally convinces Willow that she cannot stay, this Xander is not the one she lost Everyone returns to their own world, minus Robin ad Faith. Wesley goes back to retrieve them, so we assume all will be right again.
We do get one last twist thrown in at the end when we find out that they’ve returned to the world without shrimp. A nice little callback to the ongoing joke. And we’re left to ponder what will come out of Faith, Robin, and Wesley still being in the other world. Will they return? Will they remain and change the timelines? Questions to explore for next issue.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars