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Buffy Vs. Dracula (ep #5.01)

(a.k.a. Under Your Thrall)

Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
Emma Caulfield as Anya
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Starring: Rudolf Martin as Dracula
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn
Amber Benson as Tara
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Co-Starring: E.J. Gage as Mover #1
Scott Berman as Mover #2
Marita Schaub as Vampire Girl #1
Leslee Jean Matta as Vampire Girl #2
Jennifer Slimko as Vampire Girl #3

Plot Summary

Dracula paid a visit to Sunnydale to try to seduce Buffy to the dark side.

Plot Details

Buffy was getting restless while lying in bed with Riley. She decided to go patrolling and chased down a vampire. She easily staked it and returned to bed without Riley even noticing that she was gone.

Buffy, Riley, Xander, Anya, Willow, and Tara were at the beach. While playing catch with Buffy, Riley made the mistake of suggesting that she threw like a girl. Buffy's next throw flattened him. Meanwhile, the other four were glad that they were just sitting around and not working up a sweat. Xander was having trouble lighting a fire, so Willow had to light it using a two-word Latin incantation. Buffy and Tara were both proud. A few seconds later, a sudden storm came over the beach, wreaking the outing.

That night, two movers unloaded coffin-sized containers, at least one of which contained dirt. Suddenly, a hand reached out of a container and slashed the throat of one of the movers. The owner of the hand then burst out of the container at the other mover.

Meanwhile, Willow helped Giles scan some of his texts into a computer, apparently forgetting what happened the last time she did so. She wondered why Giles was in such a hurry. Giles made her promise not to tell anyone, but he was planning on leaving for England.

Buffy finished dinner with her mother, with Joyce commenting on how things will be quiet once Buffy left for college. Buffy decided to skip dessert in favor of patrolling. She once again fought a vampire, this time with more effort. She was still successful. Another vampire—this one with an Eastern-European accent—stepped up and identified himself as Dracula. Buffy was a bit star-struck.

Dracula lectured Buffy about how her power came from darkness. She did not want to hear that and tried to stake Dracula twice. Both times, he turned to mist and reformed. The second time, he reformed behind Willow and Xander, who were walking by and decided to say hello. Xander made fun of Dracula's accent until Buffy said that she thought it was really Dracula. Xander then slunk behind Buffy and apologized.

Later that night, an excited Xander, Willow, and Buffy told Giles, Riley, Anya, and Tara about the encounter. Anya (who had met Dracula earlier), Buffy, and Willow all thought that he was sexy, which made Tara, Riley, and Xander jealous. Throughout the conversation, Willow overdid her enthusiasm for anything that Giles had to say.

While Anya and Xander walked home, a wolf watched them from the roof of the Espresso Pump. After Anya went to her place, Dracula appeared in front of Xander. Xander was ready for a fight, but Dracula decided that Xander was to be Dracula's spy during the daytime. Xander agreed, probably not out of free will.

Riley visited Spike for information on Dracula. Apparently, Dracula was not good at paying his debts in a timely manner. Spike saw Dracula as an old rival whose desire for attention taught far too many people how to slay vampires. Spike was not impressed with Dracula's magical abilities, but he did believe that Dracula was too much for Riley to handle. The meeting ended in a testosterone battle.

Meanwhile, what looked like dry-ice produced mist seeped into Buffy's room and formed into Dracula. She let him bite her around the same place where Angel bit her in "Graduation Day, Part 2." The next morning, she woke up and was able to be in sunlight without burning up despite the bite marks on her neck. She put on a scarf before going to Giles's apartment. Both Willow and Riley presented their findings. The main findings were that Dracula liked to live a high-class life and that he liked to seduce his victims. Buffy was rather listless, and, for some strange reason, nobody figured out that Xander was working for Dracula.

On their way out, Riley removed Buffy's scarf to reveal the bite marks. Giles decided that Buffy should try to stay away from Dracula. Xander volunteered his place for her to hide. Meanwhile, Riley and Giles would look for Dracula while Willow and Tara cast a deinvitaion spell on Buffy's house.

At 6:00 p.m., Xander locked Anya in a closet and brought Buffy to Dracula. Buffy brought a stake with her to kill him, but she was very disconcerted when she put it down on his orders. He talked about how she will want him to sire her.

Meanwhile, Giles and Riley stumbled upon a castle that they had never seen before. They went in and split up. Riley apparently found a passage toward Dracula, because Xander came out to defend his master… bator. One punch from Riley neutralized Xander.

Giles stepped into a room that lacked a floor, which he figured out as he fell about seven feet (two meters). He quickly found three female vampires pawing him. Fortunately, Riley looked before stepping into the room. He tossed a cross down to Giles and pulled him out of the room.

Dracula continued his seduction, even to the point of inducing Buffy to drink his blood. This went a little too far. She had enough of this and resisted. The two of them fought for a bit until Buffy staked Dracula.

Riley, Giles, and Xander caught up with Buffy. Xander was very upset that he once again was the victim of the episode. Riley comforted him by pointing out the fact that Giles was being pawed by the three vampires. After they left, Dracula re-formed, only to have Buffy stake him again. He tried to re-form again, but she warned him not to.

Buffy visited Giles at his apartment. He was about to tell her that he was going to return to England because he was no longer needed in Sunnydale. However, before he could do so, she said that she needed him to help her learn more about what it meant to be a slayer. A bit later, she told her mother that she was going out to a movie with Riley. Joyce suggested that Buffy bring her sister. Both of them protested loudly.

The Good

There is a welcome addition to the opening credits.

The ending provided a nice cliffhanger. It probably would have been even better if I did not already know what was going on.

The Bad

There is still a glaring absence in the opening credits. There are actually two glaring absences, but only one will be clear at this point. I am not talking about anyone who appeared at the end of this episode for the first time.

The first episode of a season will attract many new viewers. It is important for this episode to describe the setting and the main characters. Instead, too much time was spent on the guest villain, leaving little time for some of the characters. Anya and especially Tara had very little to do, and even Willow, Giles, and Spike did not do all that much. This episode might have worked better if it aired a few weeks later.

Even if it did air a few weeks later, the episode is not about the characters or the season arc. It is a parody. Episodes that are parodies can work, but this one did not work so well.

Overall Rank: 114

Action: 5

Buffy staked a vampire during the teaser.

She staked another before meeting Dracula.

Buffy and Dracula fought in his mansion.

Comedy: 7

The whole episode was a parody.

Various characters gushed over meeting Dracula.

As unpleasant as it was for him, Xander's turn as a "butt monkey" was amusing.

Joyce did not realize that Willow and Tara were way ahead of her when she talked about giving up on men.

Drama: 1

Tara, Riley, and Xander were all jealous of their girlfriends gushing over Dracula.

Romance: 2

Buffy and Riley were in bed together during the teaser.

There were hints that Xander was dating Anya and Willow was dating Tara.

Character Development: 4

Giles had felt that he was no longer needed and was planning to return to England.

Willow was barely able to keep Giles's secret.

Anya is now capable of a night of celibacy.

Joyce apparently does not realize that—to the detriment of the male population in Sunnydale—Willow and Tara have already given up on men.

Buffy decided that she wants to know more about what it meant to be a slayer.

Importance: 7

Some of the jealousies in this episode will not fade away quickly.

Buffy wants to learn more about being a slayer.

The final scene introduced a new mystery and an important character.

Most Valuable Player: Buffy

I reluctantly award the MVP to Buffy for resisting Dracula's thrall, even though she lost a lot of points for falling for Dracula in the first place. The only other person who could possibly get any credit is Riley who rescued Giles from the Dracubabes.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Riley

Riley figured out that Buffy was under Dracula's thrall, got information from Spike, and found the big honkin' castle. The only other contender was Willow, who discovered Dracula's modus operandi. They get negative points for not figuring out that Xander was under Dracula's thrall, but everyone else did as well.

Goat of the Week: Dracula

Dracula came to Sunnydale to seduce Buffy and failed miserably.


Why would Tara wear long pants to the beach? I would think that part of the point of going to the beach would be to show some skin.

Memorable Dialogue

"Exertion can lead to sweatiness." Anya
"Which can cause the pain and heartbreak of stinkiness. Better to just stay put." Tara
"I think we've just put our fingers on why we're the sidekicks." Willow

"It's comforting to know that I lack the culinary finesse of a caveman." Xander

"Now that I know there's something to know, I can't not know just because I'm afraid somebody will know I know. You know?" Willow

"Xand, what if somebody had a secret, and that somebody promised somebody else that they wouldn't tell anyone?" Willow
"News flash, Will, everybody knows." Xander
"No, this isn't about me and Tara." Willow
"Oh, well, not that I wouldn't be all ears if you wanted to tell me a secret or two, even if it was very, very naughty." Xander

"You're sure this isn't just some fan-boy thing? 'Cause I've fought more than a couple pimply, overweight vamps that called themselves 'Lestat.'" Buffy

"Where'd you get that accent, Sesame Street? One, two, three, three victims." Xander

"I doubt he'd remember me. I was just a silly young thing, I mean, like 700 or so, but he did say that this guy I cursed was doomed forever, which was really sweet, don't you think?" Anya

"I will serve you, Your Excellent Spookiness, or Master. I'll just stick with Master." Xander
"You are strange and off-putting. Go now." Dracula

"I think we have Dracula factoids." Willow
"Like any of that's enough to fight the Dark Master... bator." Xander

"A lot of it we already knew. Turn-offs: wood, fire, crosses, garlic. Turn-ons: nice duds, minions, long slow bites that last for days." Willow

"I think you're drawing a lot of crazy conclusions about the Unholy Prince... bator." Xander

"A good Sunnydale rule of thumb: avoid white-skinned men in capes." Willow
"I'm not like this. I don't invite strange men over for coffee. It's just... Oh, when you girls are older, you'll understand. It's hard to date. Sometimes, you just feel like giving up on men altogether." Joyce

"Good show, Giles. At least you didn't get knocked out for a change." Giles

"You think you know what you are, what's to come. You haven't even begun." Dracula

"You know, I really think the thrall has gone out of our relationship." Buffy

"Buffy, you OK?" Riley
"Yeah, chock full of free will." Buffy
"And Dracula?" Giles
"Euro-trashed." Buffy
"Where is he? Where's the creep that turned me into his spider-eating man-bitch?" Xander
"He's gone." Buffy
"Damn it! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt monkey." Xander
"Check, no more butt monkey." Buffy
"It could have been worse. At least you weren't making time with the Dracubabes like Giles here." Riley
"That was not making time. I was just about to kill those loathsome creatures when Riley interrupted me." Giles
"Really, you were gonna nuzzle 'em to death?" Riley

"You think I don't watch your movies. You always come back." Buffy

"Buffy, if you're going out, why don't you take your sister?" Joyce
"Mom!" Buffy and Dawn

Characters in Peril


Evil Escaped

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 28, 2012