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KILLED BY DEATH (ep #2.18)

(a.k.a. Death Fever)

Written by: Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali
Directed by: Deran Sarafian
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Richard Herd as Dr. Backer
Willie Garson as Don
Andrew Ducote as Ryan
Juanita Jennings as Dr. Wilkinson
Co-Starring: Robert Munic as Intern
Mimi Paley as Little Buffy
Denise Johnson as Celia
James Jude Courtney as Kindestod

Plot Summary

Hospitalized with the flu, Buffy defeated a child-killing monster who had earlier killed Buffy's cousin.

Plot Details

The episode opened with an obviously sick Buffy sneaking around a graveyard and nearly staking Xander. He, Willow, and Cordelia were patrolling while Buffy should have been in bed. After a bit of discussion over who should not be out there, Angel made an appearance. They had a brief tussle, with Angel quickly getting the advantage over his ill foe. Fortunately, Xander and the others came to the rescue by throwing a blanket over his face and waving crosses.

Buffy then collapsed, so the others rushed her to the hospital. A very worried Joyce and Giles joined them. It appeared that Buffy will be OK, but that they wanted her in the hospital for a few days. While there, Joyce mentioned that Buffy hated hospitals ever since her cousin died in a hospital while Buffy was present.

That night, Buffy saw a boy walk by her room. A man who looked vaguely like Freddy Kruger followed the boy. Buffy got up and shuffled down the hall. Two kids told her that "Death" visited a girl named Tina that night and will come back for the other kids. Meanwhile, Xander managed to intimidate Angel out of paying Buffy a visit.

The next morning, Xander, Willow, Giles, and Cordelia paid Buffy a visit. Buffy told them about what she saw the previous night, but the others, especially Cordelia, thought that Buffy was just creating a monster that she could fight. Xander volunteered their assistance anyway.

Help meant, in part, that Xander and Cordelia would search through records for the cause of the girl's death. Cordelia complained, but she was quick to chat up a security guard who was about to catch Xander. Meanwhile, Giles and Willow decided to see if one of the doctors, Dr. Backer, was not be what he seemed.

That night, Buffy talked with a boy (Ryan) who was drawing a picture of the Freddy Kruger-like monster. She followed Dr. Backer and watched an invisible attacker kill him and drag him away.

The next morning, Buffy showed the others the drawing of the Freddy Kruger monster. She wanted Giles to find out what kind of monster it was while she and Willow investigated Dr. Backer's office.

In Dr. Backer's office, Willow discovered that Dr. Backer was successfully treating the children, which may be why he was killed. Meanwhile, Cordelia was doing her best to annoy Giles with silly questions. However, she did stumble upon a book that contained a picture of this week's monster on the cover. It was called "Der Kindestod" and killed sick children, making it look like the child died of illness.

Buffy realized that she needed to have a high fever to see Der Kindestod and got one with Willow's help. Buffy saw Der Kindestod go to the basement where the children had fled. She was about to follow when Dr. Wilkerson found them. Dr. Wilkerson tried to bring Buffy back to her room when Buffy pushed her aside and fled with Willow. Hospital security caught up with them, so Willow faked a frog attack hallucination to distract them as Buffy escaped. Xander found her and they both went to the basement.

As Buffy and Xander approached, Der Kindestod started to attack the children. Tentacles extended from Der Kindestod's eyes and planted themselves on a boy's forehead when Buffy attacked. Xander led the children away as Buffy pounded on Der Kindestod. It was about to send its eye tentacles on Buffy when she broke his neck.

The next day, Joyce tended to Buffy, Xander, and Willow. All three of them were very demanding patients. Buffy received a letter in the mail from Ryan. It contained a picture of Buffy standing on Der Kindestod's corpse with blood spurting out its broken neck.

The Good

Willow's frog attack was very fun.

The Bad

This episode is a throwback to the pre-"Surprise" days in which all problems are resolved during the episode. However, for a stand-alone episode, this episode is good.

Overall Rank: 68

Action: 5

Buffy and Angel had a fight during the teaser.

Der Kindestod killed Dr. Backer and dragged his body away.

Buffy had to escape hospital security to get down to the basement to fight Der Kindestod. In the basement, Buffy and Der Kindestod had a fight that ended with Buffy breaking his neck.

Comedy: 3

Cordelia had more funny lines than she has had in a while.

Willow also got some humor in with her description of playing doctor with Xander and by faking a frog attack.

Drama: 2

There was still some lingering grief and guilt from Jenny's death.

Romance: 1

Other than a couple of Xander/Cordelia moments, there was little romance in this episode.

Character Development: 2

Buffy watched her cousin die when Buffy was eight years old. Ever since then, hospitals have traumatized her. She is also feeling guilty for not having killed Angel yet.

Importance: 0

After several episodes in a row with important plot and/or character development, this was a throwback to stand-alone episodes.

Most Valuable Player: Xander

Xander and Buffy both fought hard for this one. Xander saved Buffy from Angel during the teaser, kept Angel away from her when Angel tried to visit her room, and helped herd the children away from Der Kindestod during the climax of the episode. Meanwhile, Buffy took a big risk by inducing a fever so she could see and kill Der Kindestod. Xander defeated the stronger foe, and Buffy received the Sherlock Holmes Award, so Xander is this episode's MVP. Willow also deserves some credit for ensuring that Buffy received the proper dose of the fever-inducing medication and for her timely frog attack.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Buffy realized that there was a monster when everyone else thought that she was imagining. She was also the one who directed the other characters in what to do to find out what was going on. Finally, she realized that she needed to have a fever to see Der Kindestod.

Goat of the Week: Angel

Der Kindestod may seem like an obvious choice, but he was simply defeated by a superior foe. Angel, on the other hand, got his rear end kicked by Xander during the teaser and had Xander stop him from seeing Buffy later in the episode. He is this episode's goat.

Random Commentary

I know that Willow meant well, but, as a former teacher, I have to call a foul on her doing Buffy's assignments. I know that students believe we assign homework for nefarious reasons, but we do so to help students learn. When Willow does Buffy's homework, it means that Willow, and not Buffy, is doing the learning.


Why did Xander, Willow, and Cordelia not simply stake Angel in the back during the teaser. I know that it would end the season several episodes early, but it would have been the smart thing to do. In "Phases," Xander showed himself capable of taking out a vampire from behind.

It seems to me that The Seventh Seal is a little too highbrow for Xander. He usually appears to have popular tastes. (Do you like how I slipped in a promo for my other site?)

Many wonder how Cordelia was able to get Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Sunnydale when, supposedly, there were no Krispy Kreme outlets in California outside Los Angeles when this episode first aired. I have to take people's word for that. I suppose that it is possible that Krispy Kreme might have a fictional outlet in a fictional town, or that a local grocery store was licensed to sell Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Memorable Dialogue

"My whole life just flashed before my eyes. I gotta get me a life." Xander

"We're all concerned about how gross you look." Cordelia

"Lysette got her nose done here, and she came in for the Gwyneth Paltrow, and it looked more like Mr. Potato Head." Cordelia

"If I decide to walk into Buffy's room, do you think for one microsecond that you could stop me?" Angel
"Maybe not, maybe that security guard couldn't either, or those cops, or the orderlies, but I'm kinda curious to find out. You game?" Xander

"Homework?" Buffy
"It's my way of saying 'Get well soon.'" Willow
"You know, chocolate says that even better." Buffy
"I did all your assignments, so all you have to do is sign your name." Willow
"Chocolate means nothing to me." Buffy

"If he asks you to play chess, don't even do it. The guy's like a whiz." Xander

"This isn't about you being afraid of hospitals 'cause your friend died, and you wanna conjure up a monster that you can fight, so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?" Cordelia
"Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?" Giles
"Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass." Cordelia

"This is what happens when you're compassionate toward sick people. They take advantage of you." Cordelia
"Uh-huh, Buffy almost died to put you out." Xander
"I didn't want to be the first one to say it." Cordelia

"Cordelia may be Homerically insensitive, but she may also be right. Death and disease are things, possibly the only things, that Buffy cannot fight. It's only natural for her to try to create a defeatable opponent." Giles

"I'll check Backer's office. See if I can find any Post-its marked 'Why a monster might want me dead.'" Buffy

"I'm good at medical stuff, since Xander and I used to play doctor all the time." Willow
"No, she's being literal. She had these medical volumes and diagnosed me with stuff. I didn't have the heart to tell her she was playing it wrong." Xander
"Wrong, why? How did you play doctor?" Willow
"I never have." Buffy

"If I see a floating pipe and a smoking jacket, he's dropped." Xander

"Cordy, you should go with Giles." Xander
"Why do I have to have... Good thinking, I could do with a research assistant." Giles
"Let's go, tact guy." Cordelia

"What does this do?" Cordelia
"It extracts vital organs to replenish its own mutating cells." Giles
"Wow, what does this one do?" Cordelia
"It elongates its mouth to engulf its victim's head with its incisors." Giles
"Ouch! Wait, what does this one do?" Cordelia
"It asks endless questions of those with whom it's supposed to be working so nothing is getting done." Giles
"Boy, there's a demon for everything." Cordelia

"Frogs, frogs! Get them off of me! Oh, my God, Frogs! Get them off of me! Please help! Get them off! Frogs, frogs! Oh, my God, horrible frogs! Get them off!" Willow
"Not her, the other one." Dr. Wilkinson
"No more frogs." Willow

"You don't know how to kill this thing." Xander
"I thought I might try violence." Buffy
"Solid call." Xander

"He's dead, right? I heard something snap." Xander
"That would be his neck." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Unusual Pairings

Spoiler Questions

Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.

This page was last modified on November 9, 2012