|Written by:||Douglas Petrie|
|Directed by:||Nick Marck|
|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
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike and William
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
|Guest Starring:||David Boreanaz as Angel|
Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
Julie Benz as Darla
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
|Co-Starring:||Kali Rocha as Cecily Addams|
Edward Fletcher as Male Partygoer
Katharine Leonard as Female Partygoer
Matthew Lang as 2nd Male Partygoer
Chris Daniels as Stabbing Vampire
Kenneth Feinberg as Chaos Demon
Steve Heinze as Vampire #1
Ming Liu as Chinese Slayer
April Wheedon-Washington as Subway Slayer
A close call with a vampire led Buffy to learn how Spike killed two slayers.
The episode opened with Buffy fighting a vampire in a cemetery. I know, big surprise. However, this time, the vampire managed to catch a lucky break and stick Buffy's stake into her own gut. She unwisely pulled it out and then wisely tried to flee the scene. Fortunately, Riley arrived and fought the vampire off.
Riley patched Buffy up in her bedroom. He wanted her to go to a hospital, but she did not want to worry her mother. He found it hard to believe that a single vampire with no special powers could hurt her. Dawn interrupted to warn Buffy that Joyce was coming. Dawn successfully convinced Joyce that the rubbing alcohol was from a failed nail polish experiment. As a reward, Buffy showed Dawn her bandage.
Riley suggested that Dawn do Buffy's chores and he patrol until Buffy healed. Buffy insisted that Riley take others with him. This was not a great idea. During patrol, Riley was stealthy while Xander, Willow, and Anya munched on potato chips. Riley was quite upset that the others were being too obtrusive.
Giles and Buffy researched the deaths of Buffy's predecessors. However, there was very little information on slayers' final battles, mostly because the main witness was not around to tell about it. Buffy wanted not to make any mistakes that would lead to her death.
Buffy realized that someone she knew was very familiar with the death of two slayers. Spike, however, was not inclined to be cooperative. For example, he insisted on Buffalo wings before he told her anything. Buffy was getting frustrated, but Spike claimed that was the way he is. He had always been bad.
"Bad," however, has many different meanings. In 1880, he was "bad" as in a really bad poet. In a flashback, we saw him struggling with a poem. He wandered out into a gathering—with the mellow song stylings—where he was asked about a series of recent disappearances. He said that he prefers to think of beauty. This led a jerk to grab his poem to read out loud. It was really bad, and the partygoers was not shy about letting him know.
The human we now know as Spike approached Cecily. She asked if his poetry was about her. He confessed that it was true. She very bluntly told him that he was beneath her. He sobbed out of the room and ran into Angel. In an alley, Drusilla approached him. He first was worried that she would pick his pocket and then though that she wanted to have sex with him. Instead, she sired him.
In the cemetery during the present, Riley spotted the vampire who injured Buffy. He and the others followed it to a nest with at least four other vampires. Riley suggested returning at dawn when they were better armed.
Spike told Buffy about how he felt more alive after he died. We then went back to 1880 where Angel and Darla lectured Spike about how he put the rest of them in danger. Drusilla, on the other hand, was concerned that it was not the King of Cup's birthday. Angel and Spike had a bit of a scuffle. Angel warned him that an angry crowd or a slayer might teach him a lesson. Spike wanted to know what a slayer was.
We then went to the Boxer Rebellion. Various things were on fire, and extras were running around all over the place. Spike, however, was busy fighting a slayer who was armed with sword. They appeared to be evenly matched until she had to reach for her weapon. Spike sunk his teeth into her.
Drusilla was quite impressed that Spike killed a slayer. He celebrated (off screen) with Drusilla in ways that would be difficult to show on television at 8:00 p.m. The two of them then caught up with Angel and Darla. Drusilla proudly told them that Spike killed a slayer. Angel pretended to be happy for him but fooled nobody. Darla looked upset at Angel, but Spike merely thought that Angel was envious.
Riley returned alone to the vampire nest. The vampire who attacked Buffy challenged him, but Riley quickly staked him and left a grenade for the other four. Soon the entire nest was engulfed in flames.
Spike told Buffy that the question was not how he killed two slayers, but why they lost. After Buffy beat on him a little, he started to tell about how he killed his second slayer in a New York subway in 1977. The first slayer was like Kendra, but this one was more like Buffy in that she had moves and style. She also wore a coat that looked very familiar. For a while, this slayer looked like she had the upper hand. However, Spike soon got the advantage and broke her neck. Spike explained to Buffy that every slayer has a death wish. Buffy is alive only because she has ties to her family and friends. However, sooner or later, she too will envy the dead.
Spike then challenged Buffy to hit him. When she resisted that dare, he moved in to kiss her. She was quite upset and told him that he was beneath her. She did give him his money before leaving. He sobbed as he picked up the bills. Spike was very hurt by Buffy's comments. He went to his crypt, pulled out a shotgun and decided to go after her. Harmony tried to stop him, but he was determined.
We next see Spike in South America during 1998. Drusilla did not understand why Spike did not kill Buffy. He was upset that she was carrying on with a chaos demon.
Buffy found her mother packing to go to the hospital. There was a possibility that her headaches might be something serious. Joyce tried to convince Buffy that everything was OK, but Buffy was not convinced. She went to sit on her back porch looking very depressed. So much, in fact, that Spike completely gave up his thought of killing her and instead tried to comfort her.
Except for a whole lot of Willow, just about the only thing nearly as good as the whole lot of Tara that we saw in the last episode is the whole lot of Spike that we had here. What we learned about Spike is surprising, especially because it disconfirmed much of what we learned about him in "School Hard," but it made sense.
For the first time since leaving for his own show, an Angel appearance on Buffy served the Buffy episode in which he appeared rather than an episode of his show. This episode covered Spike's background. Angel was a major part of that background for a couple of decades. It actually made sense for him to be there.
I did not buy Xander and Willow not taking patrolling seriously.
Except for "Restless," no other episode makes more episodes look bad in comparison.
Buffy fought a vampire during the teaser.
Spike and Angel fought.
Spike killed a slayer during the Boxer Rebellion.
Riley staked a vampire and blew four more up.
Spike killed a slayer in New York.
Xander, Willow, and Anya munched on potato chips while patrolling.
Drusilla has a couple of surreal lines.
Buffy had to face her mortality more than she has since "Prophecy Girl."
William experienced humiliation at a gathering.
Buffy humiliated Spike once again, at least in a more private setting.
Harmony was very worried that Buffy would stake Spike if he tried to kill Buffy.
Buffy is worried about her mother's health.
After killing his first slayer, Spike had other activities on his mind.
Later, a chaos demon cuckolded him (off screen).
Spike was a very bad poet and, well, a loser when he was a human. He openly admitted to Buffy that he is glad that he became a vampire. As a new vampire, he was quite reckless, which endangered his companions. In D&D terms, he was chaotic evil. His vampire persona over the years had been a reaction against what he was as a human. The one constant is that love ruled him. He eventually became obsessed with killing a slayer, which he first did in 1900. He later killed a second slayer in 1977. His relationship with Drusilla fell apart in 1998 because of his inability to kill a third slayer (Buffy).
Angel, before he got his soul, believed that evil was something to be finessed. This caused conflict between him and Spike. In D&D terms, Angel was lawful evil.
Buffy has a death wish, at least according to Spike. Hers is more latent than in other slayers because she has friends and family.
This episode introduces the idea that slayers have death wishes.
An important character in the future will be related to someone seen in this episode.
Otherwise, this episode is important mostly due to Spike's character development.
There are two candidates. Riley killed five vampires, but that was in the B-plot. Spike killed two slayers, but both were during flashbacks. Meanwhile Spike was also humiliated twice (once in a flashback) and lost Drusilla to a chaos demon during a flashback. Riley had the most unqualified success and had the present-day success, so he gets the MVP.
Dawn did come up with a great plan to keep her mother from knowing how badly Buffy was injured, but Buffy gets the award for getting information from Spike about how slayers died.
I could make a case for Spike because he was humiliated twice and because he lost Drusilla. However, I suspect that he might have gotten his revenge on the partygoers and he was quick to overlook his humiliation at Buffy's hands. Therefore, nobody gets the Goat.
I have discovered two rules in determining a quality of an episode. No episode with Drusilla in it is bad, and no episode that could have had Tara but did not is good. There is only one problem. In this episode, Drusilla appears and Tara does not. The results are very clear. Only the presence of Drusilla can make an episode good despite the absence of Tara.
I can see Anya not taking patrolling very seriously, but I do not see Xander and Willow acting that casually. They patrolled before, and, with Oz, did most of the patrolling in Sunnydale between the second and third seasons. During that time, Xander enjoyed patrolling and treated it like an important deal, especially after Cordelia decided that his "Nighthawk" persona was sexy. I do not see either Willow or Xander acting like they did in this episode.
Riley very much needs to understand the concept of "bait" when hunting vampires. Vampires are not skittish animals that run at the sight of a human. They eat humans. They would be happy to see four happy meals on legs so close to home. They seem to know about Riley, so it was wise for him to be stealthy. However, the hunting would go better with at least one of the rest in plain view.
Just on the off chance that a reader of this page ever gets stabbed with a stake (or a knife, or a barbecue fork, etc.). It is usually a very bad thing to pull out the stake like Buffy did. Instead, it is best to let medical personnel do so. The main reason is that the object in the wound helps control the bleeding. All the damage that the object was going to do was done when it entered the body, so the object might as well ameliorate its harm by slowing the bleeding.
This is the second episode in a row in which Spike voluntarily endured a chip-induced headache in order to demonstrate a point. If these headaches are becoming bearable, the other characters should start to be very careful around Spike.
There are a lot of contradictions between this episode and what we were told about Spike in "School Hard." In most cases, Giles's books not getting their facts straight could explain the contradictions away. Joss's inability to count could explain away the earlier statement that Spike was around 200 years old.
Original Script was a bit of a disappointment. I read through it hoping to find names for characters I labeled as "Female Partygoer" and "Male Partygoer" in the Memorable Dialogue section only to find that they were called "Female Partygoer" and "Male Partygoer" in the script. I did get a sense that a fair amount of dialogue had to be cut. I also noticed Amber Benson in the cast list even though she did not appear in the episode.
Commentary by Writer Doug Petrie was pretty good. It was clear that he was very proud of this episode. There are spoilers through the end of the sixth season as well as to this episode's companion episode on Angel. Insights include:
"I like a girl who can play a few hard sets of tennis with a major stab wound." Riley
"Don't worry. Accelerated healing powers come with the slayer package. And the boyfriend who comes complete with medical training? That's just a Buffy Summers bonus." Buffy
"Have you heard? They call him 'William the Bloody' because of his bloody awful poetry." Female Partygoer
"It suits him. I'd rather have a railroad spike through my head than listen to that awful stuff." Male Partygoer
"I see you. A man surrounded by fools who cannot see his strength, his vision, his glory. That, and burning baby fish swimming all around your head." Drusilla
"I'm sorry. Did I sully our good name? We're vampires!" Spike
"I think our boys are going to fight." Darla
"The King of Cups expects a picnic, but this is not his birthday." Drusilla
"Good point." Darla
"Lesson the first: A slayer must always reach for her weapon. I've already got mine." Buffy
"Don't be so glum, mate. The way you tell it, one slayer snuffs it, another one rises. I figure there's a new chosen one getting all chosen as we speak. I'll tell you what. When and if this new bird does show up, I'll give you first crack at her." Spike
"You know what they put in museums? Mostly dead things." Riley
"Death is your art. You make it with your hands day after day, that final gasp, that look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know. What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now you see. That's the secret, not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. She merely wanted it. Every slayer has a death wish, even you. The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world: your mum, brat kid sister, Scoobies. They all tie you here, but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it, and the second, the second that happens, you know I'll be there. I'll slip in. Have myself a real good day. Here endeth the lesson. I just wonder if you'll like it as much as she did." Spike
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.