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BENEATH YOU (ep #7.02)

(a.k.a. It Devours)

Written by: Douglas Petrie
Directed by: Nick Marck
Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Guest Starring: Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (Special guest star)
Kaarina Aufranc as Nancy
DB Woodside as Principal Wood
Co-Starring: Tess Hall as Punk Girl
Benita Krista Nall as Young Woman
Jack Sundmacher as Ronnie

Plot Summary

A burrowing demon chased a young woman around town.

Plot Details

In an obvious homage to Run Lola Run (perhaps by way of Alias), a young German woman with red hair (Punk Girl) was running from a couple more mysterious guys in robes. She tried to fight them off, but they outnumbered her and stabbed her.

Several thousand miles away, Dawn finally managed to wake Buffy up. Apparently, Buffy was disturbed about a dream in which a young woman was stabbed by a couple of mysterious guys in robes. She realized that there were more young women like her who will die.

Meanwhile, something was traveling underneath Sunnydale at a rather fast pace. If the CGI were better, it would look rather like old Warner Bros. cartoons when Bugs Bunny burrowed underground. It did cause a bit of rumbling, which interfered with Spike trying to stalk a rat.

Dawn was very excited about the idea of Buffy going to school with her, as long as Buffy did not talk to her or even acknowledge her presence. The conversation segued into an excuse for Buffy to remind the audience of what Xander did in "Hells Bells" and for Dawn to remind the audience that some characters date demons.

Principal Wood introduced Buffy to her cubicle and gave her a brief job description. As the youngest and least stuffy member of the faculty, students would want to talk to Buffy. However, she was not to be the students' friend, or the students will do to her (figuratively) what four brats did to Principal Flutie (literally).

In England, Willow was reluctant to take a taxi back to Sunnydale. Giles figured out that Willow was afraid of how she will be received by her (former?) friends. Still, he said that she will be needed.

That evening, a woman (Nancy) was walking her dog when the ground opened up swallowed the pup. She fled and ran into Xander. He brought her back to the Summers home for first aid. Dawn suggested gathering everyone together, except, as Xander pointed out, everyone who was still active in the gang was already there. What he did not count on was that a fourth member of the gang had just shown up, a sane Spike.

Spike's appearance sparked a variety of feelings. Nancy figured out that there was something complicated going on concerning Spike. Xander liked the idea of pointy weapons. Dawn was merely hurt that Buffy failed to tell her that Spike was back. Spike claimed that he just wanted to help Buffy with whatever nasty thing was plaguing Sunnydale.

Buffy decided to accept his help. She sent Xander to drive Nancy home while Buffy and Spike patrolled. Nancy took the opportunity to prod and see if Xander and Buffy were a couple. A flustered Xander denied any romantic involvement and then switched to objecting to Buffy going with Spike. Dawn did not say anything to Buffy, but she clearly told Spike what she planned to do if he hurt Buffy again.

Buffy and Spike checked out the hole where the dog disappeared. They found nothing, so they had an awkward conversation. Meanwhile, Nancy openly hit on Xander. He seemed open to the idea. The arrival of the burrowing monster interrupted them.

Fortunately, the monster wanted to do little more than take a look at the two of them and roar a bit. After it left, Xander suggested that the monster was targeting Nancy specifically. She dropped the name of Ronnie, her psycho ex-boyfriend. She also mentioned having used the word "wish," which gave Xander an idea.

We then see Anya talking with a woman complaining about some guy. Anya was about to get the woman to wish that the guy were (literally) spineless when Buffy, Spike, Xander and Nancy interrupted. Anya admitted that she granted a wish to turn Ronnie into a worm and embellished by turning him into a sluggoth demon.

Anya tried to leave, but Spike stopped her. In the process, Nancy learned more about the complicated love lives of the main characters and Anya figured out something about Spike, presumably the fact that he has a soul. Spike did not want anyone else to know this and ended up fighting Anya. Unfortunately, he did not count on her demon powers. Still, he seemed eager for a fight until Buffy intervened. They fought it out until Xander noticed that Nancy sneaked off.

Unfortunately, being alone was not a smart thing for Nancy. Her ex-boyfriend / current sluggoth demon chased her around until she tried to climb up a fire escape ladder. It broke away from the building and was about to dump her into the demon's mouth when Buffy swung to the rescue. She was ready to confront the demon, but Spike intervened. He bashed the demon with a metal rod a couple of times and went to impale it.

Fortunately or unfortunately, Xander stayed behind at the Bronze and talked Anya into reversing the wish. This caused the demon to revert back to Ronnie, setting off Spike's chip. Spike reverted back to insanity as Buffy tended to Ronnie.

Spike and Nancy fled. Xander and Anya arrived. Buffy left Ronnie in their care as she chased after Spike. He rambled a bit and got thrown into some pews for his trouble. However, Buffy finally managed to figure out that he got his soul back.

The Good

The final scene was very good.

The Bad

This is largely a monster-of-the-week episode.

I understand that it is necessary for characters to explain what we already know, but it can get tiresome.

Overall Rank: 90

Action: 3

Spike and Anya had a tussle in the Bronze.

Buffy and Spike had a brief fight with the sluggoth demon.

Comedy: 2

Nancy wondered if there were any characters who have not slept together, leading to an interesting response from Spike and Xander.

Drama: 4

Events from "Hells Bells," "Seeing Red," and the last three episodes of the sixth season continue to haunt the characters. Actually, in "Seeing Red," only an event from the middle haunts the characters. The end of that episode appears to have no effect on them.

Romance: 3

The characters spent a bit of time discussing their complicated love lives.

Nancy seemed to be interested in Xander.

Character Development: 7

Buffy has the power to give detention at Sunnydale High. She knows what a bastinada is. She seems willing to forgive, or at least forget, what Spike tried to do to her in "Seeing Red." She now knows that Spike has a soul.

Xander is ambivalent about dating again. He does not seem ready to forgive or forget what Spike tried to do to Buffy in "Seeing Red."

Dawn also has issues with Spike over what he tried to do to Buffy in "Seeing Red." She likes the idea of Buffy being at the same school as her, as long as there is no actual contact between the two.

Spike has occasional and useful bouts of sanity.

Anya has given in to the pressure to grant more destructive wish fulfillment, but she seems to feel ambivalent about it. She was the first to figure out that Spike has a soul.

Principal Wood is a vegetarian.

Importance: 3

Willow is on her way back to Sunnydale.

Anya may face repercussions for reversing her vengeance spell.

Spike can be sane, at least for a short but useful amount of time.

Most Valuable Player: Xander

Xander gets the MVP for successfully talking Anya into reversing the wish that she granted Nancy. This is his second MVP of the seventh season and matches his total for the entire sixth season. Buffy also gets credit for rescuing Nancy near the end of the episode.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Anya

Giles figured out that Willow feared how she will be received in Sunnydale. Xander figured out that Anya was responsible for the sluggoth demon. Anya and Buffy both figured out that Spike has a soul. Xander would probably have taken this award if he did not already win the MVP, so Anya squeaks by for being the first to realize that Spike had a soul.

Goat of the Week: Nobody

If Anya faced repercussions for reversing Nancy's wish during this episode, she might have received the Goat for this episode. However, she escapes for now.

Random Commentary

If fire escape ladders break off buildings with just the weight of one small woman, then the building inspectors in Sunnydale must be as competent as the police.

Memorable Dialogue

"From beneath you, it devours." Red-haired woman, Buffy, and Spike

"I'm command central, so everybody check in with me. OK, I'll be here doing my homework, but the other one sounded cooler." Dawn

Spike, you sleep, right? You, vampires, you sleep?" Dawn
"Yeah, what's your point, Niblet?" Spike
"Well, I can't take you in a fight, or anything, even with a chip in your head, but you do sleep. If you hurt my sister at all, touch her, you're gonna wake up on fire." Dawn

"Is there anyone here that hasn't slept together?" Nancy

"Chums, co-workers, bridesmaids, I had the whole package until something fell apart. What could that be, Xander? Anya
"You're saying this is my fault?" Xander
"All I'm saying is none of this happened until you dumped me at the altar." Anya
"And sooner or later, Anya, that excuse just stops working." Xander

"Get it hard. Service the girl." Spike
"Stop it!" Buffy
[Smash!] "Right, girl doesn't wanna be serviced." Spike

"I dreamed of killing you. I think they were dreams. So weak, and you make me weak, thinking of you, holding myself and spilling useless buckets of salt over your ending. Angel, he should've warned me. He makes a good show of forgetting, but it's here in me all the time, the spark. I wanted to give you what you deserve, and I got it. They put the spark in me, and now all it does is burn." Spike
"Your soul!" Buffy
"Bit worse for lack of use." Spike


Evil Escaped

Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

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 January 4, 2013