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Four - Five
Joyce Summers was a typical, somewhat overprotective parent over her daughter, Buffy. After Buffy burnt down the gym at her high school (really to burn down a nest of vampires trapped inside the building), Joyce and her husband Hank began to experience trouble in their marriage, troubles only made worse when Buffy ran away to Las Vegan to escape her family’s domestic problems. By the time Buffy returned back to her home in Los Angeles, Joyce and Hank had already drawn the divorce papers – Hank got the life and the women, while Joyce was left to raise a child on her own. When Malignancy Spirits were accidentally released upon the Summers' household by Buffy's secret admirer, Angel, all the palpable emotions running in Joyce's head became corporeal, allowing the grief and guilt she felt over the divorce and her family falling apart to swallow her whole (literally). When Buffy defeated the Malignancy spirits, Joyce was released from her guilt, and was ready to start over in a new town: Sunnydale. (BtVS:
A Stake to the
Unbeknownst to Joyce, Sunnydale was actually a "manhole" sitting on top of a Hellmouth, a center for mystical convergence. Her decision to move there was in part influenced by the Powers That Be, so that Buffy could battle the forces of darkness there. Joyce did not take kindly to Buffy's adventures when she eventually discovered her daughter was the Slayer, but learned to accept Buffy's extracurricular activities. (BtVS:
As Buffy's social circle began to grow in Sunnydale, Joyce struggled to get back into the dating scene, but found that her looks weren't a winning ace up her sleeve. Setting up an appointment with a renowned plastic surgeon, she was talked out of it by Buffy, before she became the next meal for a vampire that was feeding on the doctor’s patients.
With Buffy off at college, Joyce felt alone again and became overly concerned whether her daughter was taking proper care of herself, and bombarded her with questions whenever she came home to visit her. It took a trip to the 'City of Despair,' where the best fighters are abducted by a race of aliens to compete for their entertainment, to help Buffy realize that she had grown apart from her mother and resolved to start spending more time with her.
City of Despair)
The following year, Joyce found a new daughter in Dawn. Dawn wasn't really human, but instead the Key, a mystical ball of energy that could open a portal to all dimensions. To protect the Key from forces of darkness, a group of monks shaped the key into the form of the sister Buffy never had, building false memories to justify her existence so that Buffy would love her unconditionally and protect her no matter what.
As Buffy further unearthed the origins of Dawn's existence while dealing with a vampire slayer turned vampire, Joyce became sick with what seemed to be a benign brain tumor, but died soon afterward of a brain aneurysm caused by the disease. Buffy tried to bury her feelings over her mother's death, but on the night following her mother's funeral, Buffy faced a thousand vampires that were all raised to kill her by a deranged mother of a girl Buffy failed to save. The mother's plan backfired as the vampires she had raised to kill Buffy were unstable and killed her instead. Witnessing the woman's death caused Buffy's grief to rise to the surface.
Night of a Thousand
Book Guide to Buffy
of the Slayers