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(a.k.a. The Roommate from Hell, Literally)

Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Grossman
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Dagney Kerr as Kathy Newman
Adam Kaufman as Parker Abrams
Co-Starring: Clayton Barber as Demon 1
Walt Borchert as Demon 2
Roger Morrissey as Tapparich
David Tuchman as Freshman

Plot Summary

Despite everyone else's skepticism, Buffy's roommate turned out to be a demon.

Plot Details

Buffy had enough of watching her roommate, Kathy, iron her jeans while listening to Cher's "Believe" ad nauseum. Buffy decided to go out on patrol, claiming that she wanted coffee. While out, she talked with Willow about their respective roommates without noticing an orange demon with glowing eyes watching them.

Eventually, Willow went off to see Oz. Buffy thought that she heard something behind her, but it turned out to be Kathy. This became a problem when the orange demon jumped out at them. Buffy pushed Kathy aside and fought the demon off. Kathy was not grateful and was even fairly upset that her sweater was soiled. As they walked off, two of the orange demons speculated that one of the two might be the one.

Buffy reported the encounter to Giles, who did not recognize the demon. Buffy continued to ask questions and make excuses for being with him so that even Giles figured out that something was wrong. Buffy eventually confessed that she would rather avoid Kathy.

During lunch, Buffy saw Kathy and hid in line in front of another student. Fortunately, that student, Parker, did not mind her cutting in. He advised her on how to select food at the dining hall, which apparently involved taking three meals worth of food for one meal, thus reducing the number of meals paid for.

Buffy went to sit with Willow, Xander, and Oz. Willow was interested in knowing who Buffy was talking to, and Xander was hoping that the orange demons meant that he would be needed for slayage. Kathy joined them wearing Buffy's sweater. Buffy was not happy, especially when Kathy spilled ketchup on it.

That night, Buffy and Kathy went to bed after a spat about a gum gnome. While asleep, Buffy dreamed about the orange demons pouring liquid down her mouth, placing a scorpion on her abdomen, and sucking a visual light effect out her mouth. Buffy awoke to find Kathy staring at her.

Buffy described her dream to Giles, Willow, and Oz. Giles suggested interpreting the dream just as Kathy came by. She asked if he could interpret a dream that was quite similar to the one that Buffy had. Kathy left, and Giles speculated that the orange demon might be responsible.

That evening, Buffy returned to her dorm to find Parker and Kathy talking about musical artists and hockey. When Parker left, Buffy and Kathy had a heated discussion that included arguing on whether to keep the window open, Kathy flossing, and Buffy drinking Kathy's milk out of the carton while spilling a fair amount on the floor.

Meanwhile, Willow and Oz discussed their concerns over Buffy's behavior. Oz volunteered to go patrolling with Buffy to keep an eye on her. On the way, he and a blonde woman caught each other's eye. When Oz caught up with Buffy, she took the opportunity to vent a little, but she found his patroling with her to be suspicious.

That night, Kathy and Buffy continued to annoy each other with toenail clipping, pencil tapping, egg cracking, and Cher's "Believe." Buffy eventually decided to go to bed and had the same dream as before. This time, Kathy was not staring at her when Buffy woke up.

The next day, Buffy returned from class to find Willow talking with Kathy, which made Buffy very upset. Buffy pulled Willow away and said that she came to the conclusion that Kathy was evil. As the slayer, it was her duty to kill Kathy. Evidence #1: evil toenails. Willow suggested showing the toenails to Giles first and warned him immediately after Buffy left.

When Buffy arrived at Giles's; Xander, Oz, and Giles dropped a net on her and then tied her up. Giles concluded that the orange demon possessed her, so he left to get supplies from the magic shop for a spell to make the demon reveal itself.

Meanwhile, Willow visited Kathy and suggested that Kathy flee before Buffy returned, but Kathy was not interested in leaving. In fact, Kathy dropped hints that something bad might happen to Buffy. Oz then called to report that they captured Buffy, so Willow backed off.

However, things were not going that well at the apartment. Xander started to suspect that the rope holding Buffy was not tight enough, so he and Oz went to investigate. Xander was right, and Buffy knocked both of them out.

Buffy returned to her dorm and suggested that she and Kathy talk. "Talking" involved Buffy kicking a rug, Kathy punching Buffy, and Buffy tearing the mask off of Kathy, revealing a demon face. Meanwhile, the two orange demons summoned a third, and Giles discovered a book that described Buffy's dreams as being a demon ritual.

Giles returned to his apartment to brief Willow, Xander, and Oz. He and Willow started a spell to reverse the process while Oz and Xander went to help Buffy. Just as Kathy went to suck Buffy's soul to disguise herself, Giles finished his spell and reversed the process. Just then, an orange demon arrived to take Kathy away. She begged to be allowed to stay, but the orange demon created a whirlpool in the floor that sucked her away.

Willow moved into Buffy's room in Kathy's place. Willow was sorry for doubting Buffy, and Buffy was glad that Kathy's ritual explained Buffy's irrationality. Things were looking good for the new roommates until Willow decided to take a bite out of Buffy's sandwich.

The Good

I cannot say that this episode is about people we never saw before, will never see again, and do not care about because there was at least as much focus on Buffy as on Kathy and we did see Kathy in the previous episode.

The Bad

This is actually the first episode of Buffy that I ever watched. The fact that the fifth season finale was the second is an indication of how this episode failed to grab my attention.

Overall Rank: 126

Action: 3

Buffy and Kathy fought in their dorm room.

Comedy: 3

Some of Kathy's idiosyncrasies were played for laughs.

Drama: 2

Buffy had conflicts with Kathy throughout the episode.

The other characters were worried about Buffy's sanity.

Romance: 0

Character Development: 1

Parker may be a new love interest for Buffy or may last as long as Scott Hope did. He appears to be reasonably charming and has interesting ideas on how to save money at dining halls.

Importance: 2

Willow is now Buffy's roommate.

This episode introduced a couple of characters who will be seen again.

Most Valuable Player: Orange Demons

The orange demons successfully found their wayward member and brought her home. It is not as if anyone else in this episode was successful at doing all that much. The only other possible candidate was Giles, who cast the spell to prevent Kathy from taking Buffy's soul.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Buffy knew that Kathy was a demon back when everyone else was worried that she was possessed. Giles gets a little credit for discovering the information about the ritual that Kathy performed.

Goat of the Week: Kathy

If I were a demon who escaped from my home dimension and wanted to stay hidden, Buffy would be the first person that I would want to be friends with. Instead of seeking Buffy's help, Kathy simply alienated her and tried to steal her soul. Buffy did her share to alienate Kathy, but Kathy needed Buffy far more than Buffy needed Kathy. The end result was that Kathy did not have Buffy, Giles, Willow, Xander, and Oz working to keep her in this dimension.

Random Commentary

I mentioned that this was the first episode that I saw. This was because I was flipping channels when I came across the Buffy/Parker conversation in which Parker said that he was from Kresge Hall and Buffy said that she was from Stevenson Hall. I recognized these as the names of two of the colleges at UC Santa Cruz, where I—and episode writer Marti Noxon—went to college. I actually was from Kresge College.

Joss Whedon said that this episode was in part about how bad roommates bring out the worst in all of us. However, it is not clear who was the bad roommate who brought out the worst in whom. Buffy is the central character, so we are supposed to identify with her. However, she did take some of Kathy's milk, she did soil Kathy's sweater, and she did leave her gum lying around. She was completely unwilling to compromise on any of Kathy's concerns.


It is never clear what a soul is in the show. However, one thing that has been made very clear is that a soul is something that vampires other than Angel lack. If the demons recognized wayward members by the lack of a soul, they would mistakenly abduct vampires, which might not be a bad thing. This does raise the question of whether the orange demons were in the commando suits at the end of "The Freshman."

Memorable Dialogue

"You took your roommate patrolling with you?" Giles
"Well, I invited the whole dorm, but she was the only one that could make it." Buffy

"He's our grown-up friend, not in a creepy way." Willow

"So either you hit her or you did your wacky mime routine for her." Oz
"Well, I didn't do either, actually, but she deserved it, don't you think." Buffy
"Nobody deserves mime, Buffy." Oz

"On the plus side, you killed the bench, which was looking shifty." Oz

"Good thinking, 'cause in the middle of the night, those toenails could have attacked you and left little half-moon marks all over your body." Willow

"Giles, I just talked to Buffy and yeah, I think she's feeling a little insane... No, not bitchy crazy, more like homicidal maniac crazy, so I told her to come see you, OK?" Willow

"Why couldn't Giles have shackles like any self-respecting bachelor?" Xander

"I'm 3,000 years old! When are you going to stop treating my like I'm 900?" Kathy

Characters in Peril

Departed Characters Remembered

Buffy and the Law

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 19, 2012