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DOOMED (ep #4.11)

(a.k.a. Yet Another Apocalypse)


Written by: Marti Noxon & David Fury & Jane Espenson
Directed by: James A. Contner
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
Bailey Chase as Graham Miller
Ethan Erickson as Percy
Co-Starring: Anastasia Horne as Laurie
Anthony Anselmi as Partier

Plot Summary

Another group tried and failed to open the Hellmouth.

Plot Details

The episode opened where "Hush" left off, with Riley and Buffy talking about what they just learned about each other. Neither one really wanted to say who they really were, but Buffy had already figured out far too much for Riley's comfort. It was not clear whether Riley was more uncomfortable with the fact that Buffy knew so much about him or Buffy was more uncomfortable with the fact that he knew so little about her. Buffy also did not like the fact that Riley was not the normal guy that she thought he was.

As Riley was about to leave, Amy got really excited in her cage. A couple of seconds later, the camera started shaking and a few objects fell over. Riley was excited about experiencing his first earthquake, but Buffy had bad memories of the earthquake in "Prophecy Girl."

The earthquake shook loose a pipe in Xander's basement. He and a now untied Spike argued over who would fix it. Meanwhile, Willow talked about Porter Dorm holding an earthquake party and suggested that Buffy take Riley. Buffy was reluctant to do so.

Buffy was very concerned about the quake. After all, she died the last time there was an earthquake. Giles, however, dismissed her suggestions. He then realized that he was in danger of giving Buffy the Sherlock Holmes Award and made up some ground by figuring out that the commandos were probably based on or beneath UC Sunnydale and that she might know one of them.

Riley asked Forrest about what a slayer is. Forrest believed that Slayer was either a heavy metal band or a myth created by demons to keep their kids in check. Riley appeared to be disappointed.

A fairly depressed Willow attended the earthquake party. She was pleased to see Percy, but the conversation soon became very awkward. It got even worse when Percy brought up Oz to break the silence. Later, she overheard Percy tell his girlfriend that Willow was an egghead and a nerd. Willow was hurt and crawled into what she thought was an empty bed. Unfortunately, when the power finally came on, she found that she was sharing a bed with a dead body.

Xander was very upset when he came home to find that Spike did not fix the pipe. He was a bit amused, however, to see Spike wearing Xander's very unSpike-like clothes.

Buffy arrived to the party as the paramedics were wheeling the victim's body away. Willow briefed her, but was as concerned about being called a nerd as she was about the body. Even when she briefed Giles and Xander, she was still concerned. She did let on that the body appeared to be drained of blood and had a symbol carved on the chest. Giles recognized the symbol as the sign of another apocalypse.

Buffy recognized the symbol from a mausoleum. Inside, a vahrall demon was trying to steal some bones. Buffy tried to fight it but must have been having an off night as the demon easily beat her up. She saw a shadow approaching and jumped up for a fight. Fortunately, Riley deflected the blow. He called in the demon to be tracked and then had another discussion with Buffy in which he wanted to continue to see her but she did not.

Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles discovered information on the demon. It sought blood of a man, bones of a child, and "the word of Valios" as part of a ritual in which three would be sacrificed to end the world. Meanwhile, Riley briefed some of his commandos, thinking that the demon was on a crush-kill-destroy mission.

Buffy decided to go to the magic shop for any information on a book entitled Word of Valios and sent Willow and Xander to the museum to investigate. The two of them stopped by Xander's basement for weapons, only to find Spike trying to stake himself. Willow did not want him to stake himself, but Xander was merely upset that he could not kill Spike himself. Willow insisted that they bring Spike to the museum with them in order to keep him from trying suicide again.

On her way to the magic shop, Buffy ran into Riley. They had another conversation in which he wanted to continue a relationship and she did not. Meanwhile, Spike figured out that there is a way he can hurt people without getting a headache as he attacked Willow and Xander for some of the less than wonderful things that happened to them.

Giles discovered a reference to the Word of Valios in a book. He recognized it as a talisman that he purchased at a sorcerer's estate sale. When the others arrived at his apartment, he also said that the ritual involved opening the Hellmouth.

Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Spike went to the ruins of Sunnydale High School. They arrived at what was the library and found three demons. Buffy took them on while Xander and Willow tried to swipe necessary components for the ritual. None of them figured out to simply flee with the items, so they battled the demons for control.

Eventually, possession of one of the items fell to Spike. When one of the demons attacked him, he forgot himself and struck backówithout any pain. He got into the fighting and even dumped one of the demons down a hole toward the Hellmouth, which is precisely where the demons wanted to go.

Buffy was battling the last demon when Riley arrived to lend a hand. However, he was unable to keep it from jumping down the hole. Buffy decided to go in after it. Riley attached a cable to her belt before she went down. When she hit bottom, he helped to reel her and the demon back up.

Afterward, Riley pretended to be dressed for paintball, but not even Willow and Xander were fooled. Spike (a.k.a. Hostile 17), however, did manage to keep Riley from figuring out who he was.

Buffy went to visit Riley. He was upset that Willow and Xander figured out who he was. However, he was probably pleased that Buffy was willing to give a relationship a shot. Meanwhile, Xander and Willow were watching television while Spike was trying to get them to go out and kill more demons.

The Good

At least there was no attempt to artificially isolate one of the characters and follow that character instead.

The Bad

I suppose that it is nearly impossible for any episode to follow "Hush" without feeling like a letdown. However, it was not necessary for the episode to be this much of a letdown.

The acting was particularly bad. It is up to the actors to get us to care about the events in the episode. They appeared to be exhausted after "Hush" and simply walked through the plot. They did not seem to care, and they could not make their characters seem to care, so we in the audience did not care.

Buffy's reluctance to date Riley felt contrived. I did not find Buffy to be particularly convincing, but Riley still came across as a mildly creepy stalker for pursuing Buffy after she gave several very clear responses of "no."

Overall Rank: 131

Action: 6

Buffy fought with a demon in and immediately outside a mausoleum.

Buffy, Willow, Xander, Spike, and Riley battled the three demons in the rubble of Sunnydale High.

Comedy: 1

Spike wore Xander's clothes for part of the episode.

Drama: 1

Spike was depressed about not being able to kill anything.

There was tension between Buffy and Riley.

Romance: 3

Buffy and Riley hit the point in most formulaic romances in which the couple is split apart for contrived reasons only so they could come together again later.

Character Development: 3

Buffy did not like the fact that Riley was also a demon hunter. She was worried that the relationship will be like the one with Angel.

Riley is actually excited by the fact that Buffy is the slayer.

Spike is able to hurt demons without any neurological pain. Finding this out greatly brightened his spirits.

Importance: 3

Spike found out that he can hurt demons without neurological pain.

Willow, Xander, and Spike now know that Riley is one of the commandos.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

Buffy gets the MVP for defeating the final demon and pulling it away from the Hellmouth.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

Many characters figured something out. Buffy knew that the earthquake was a bad portent. Giles figured out that the commandos were based on campus and that Buffy probably knew one. He also recognized the symbol on the victim's chest and found that the word of Valios was a talisman and that the ritual involved opening the Hellmouth. Willow discovered the victim and figured out that blood was drained from him and discovered the ritual components. Along with Xander, she also figured out that Riley was one of the commandos. Xander figured out that the demons were the sacrifice. Finally, Spike found out that he could hurt demons without any pain. Giles figured out the most so he gets the award.

Goat of the Week: Nobody

It is tempting to assign the Goat to one of the writers, but it is not clear which one deserves it. I cannot fault Giles for letting the Word of Valios fall into the wrong hands because he was outnumbered. I cannot fault the demons because they too were outnumbered.

Random Commentary

Perhaps Willow should have returned to the party dressed like her vampire self to put a little fear of Willow into Percy.

Imponderables

Many comment on the impossibility of Buffy catching up with the final demon midflight. They seem to assume that the hole was an abyss. However, we have seen the Master in the Hellmouth. There is ground to walk on. My guess is that the fall stunned the demon, allowing Buffy to grab it when she landed and come back up with it. The fact that it appeared to die soon after coming up suggested that it died from injuries sustained in the landing.

The commentators are correct on another question. A cord running along Riley's bare hands that fast would make a very deep cut if not slice some fingers off. At very least, he should have been wearing gloves.

Memorable Dialogue

"Delivering melted cheese on bread. Doing your part to keep America constipated." Spike

"Am I bursting somebody's bubble here? Maybe this is a bad time to tell you about the Easter Bunny." Forrest

"Wow, I wasn't sure where the party was, and then I saw the flashing lights and the ambulance, and I was like, 'Right, of course, death, carnage, it's a Buffy party.'" Buffy

"It's the end of the world." Giles
"Again?" Buffy, Willow, and Xander

"I'm so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse." Giles

"For one thing, that's my shirt you're about to dust, and for another, we've shared a lot here. You should have trusted me enough to do it for you." Xander

"I should think you would be glad to greet the end of days. I mean, neither one of you is making much of a go at it. You, kids your age are going off to university. You've made it as far as the basement, and Red here, you couldn't even keep Dogboy happy. You can take the loser out of high school, but..." Spike

"I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass. Oh, can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the chosen one, after all. Come on, vampires! Grr, nasty. Let's annihilate them for justice and for the safety of puppies and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil. Let's kill something. Oh, come on!" Spike

Characters in Peril

Kills

Departed Characters Remembered

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 21, 2012