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The KILLER IN ME (ep #7.13)

(a.k.a. Racism:The Birth of a Nation::Pedophilia:__________,
or Worst Episode [of Buffy] Ever)

Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by: David Solomon
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/Warren
Guest Starring: Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (Special guest star)
Adam Busch as Warren Mears/Willow
Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
Iyari Limon as Kennedy
Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison
Megalyn Echikunwoke as Vaughne
Rif Hutton as Initiative Commander
Co-Starring: Terence Bernie Hines as Shop Keeper
Anna Maria Maccarrone as Waitress

Plot Summary

A kiss turned Willow into Warren.

Plot Details

Giles planned to take the potential slayers on a quest similar to the one that Buffy took in Intervention, but he was concerned about leaving Buffy. Buffy believed that the quest was important enough that Giles could leave. Willow came down to report that Kennedy was too sick to go, and Xander and Dawn described Molly and Rona fighting over who got to drive.

Buffy went down to the basement to check on Spike. He was glad that they would have a break from potential slayers for two days, not realizing that arguably the most annoying one was staying behind. While they talked about Spike's preference to be chained when not in Buffy's presence, his chip went off.

Buffy went back upstairs and encountered Willow making tea for Kennedy. After giving Willow a look that hinted at a belief that there was more involved than just tea, Buffy asked what Willow knew about Spike's chip. Apparently, Willow did not know much.

Having missed the quest, Kennedy made a remarkable recovery. She had a mission that conflicted with the quest, one that required taking Willow to the Bronze for drinks with paper umbrellas. Willow was not comfortable even before the conversation got explicit. Willow did not confess to being attracted to any woman other than one particular woman.

Meanwhile, Buffy decided to try to find Riley. Unfortunately, she could not tell if the number he gave her was a contact number pretending to be a flower shop or a real flower shop.

For some reason, Willow did not understand why Kennedy was interested in her. They returned back to their room only for things to get even more awkward, at least for Willow. Kennedy decided that a kiss was in order. After a few tinkly piano notes, Warren said that the kiss was nice.

Kennedy was startled and jumped back. Willow did not understand until she looked in a mirror and saw Warren looking back at her. She / he ran downstairs and startled Xander, Anya, and Dawn. She / he started to protest that she / he was really Willow, but Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew all assumed that they were talking to the First Evil. Andrew started to complain about all the things that the First Evil made him do.

Buffy came in and got to the point. One smack and Willow / Warren was on the floor. This was a shock as Buffy's punch should have traveled harmlessly through the intended target. Andrew embraced her / him from behind, with his hands in very (in)convenient places. Willow started to tell an embarrassing story about Xander and Aquaman underoos, which convinced Xander of her true identity before she got very far. Willow / Warren suggested something similar to what happened in "Same Time, Same Place" while Dawn and Andrew pawed him / her.

Buffy offered help, but Willow / Warren did not want any. She / he pointed to a supine Spike as an example of something else that Buffy needed to deal with. Spike and Buffy decided not to wait to hear from Riley and went to the Initiative's old headquarters. Fortunately, it was not filled with concrete.

Later, Xander, Andrew, Anya, and Dawn sat around the living room. When the phone rang, Andrew assumed that it involved a comic book arriving at a local shop. Instead, it was Robson from "Sleeper" calling to say that he remembered a bringer about to remove Giles's head from his body. Xander wanted to believe that this was an incident that Giles simply did not want to talk about, but Anya decided that Giles could be dead with the First Evil. They decided to find out if this were true.

Willow / Warren wandered around for a while until Kennedy found her. Willow / Warren reluctantly allowed Kennedy to tag along. They arrived at Wicca group that was allegedly like the one in "Hush," but contained no common members and actually believed in real magic. Still, they seemed to recognize the name, "Willow," and realized that the person they were talking with bore little resemblance to her.

One member realized that they were talking to Willow. Amy admitted that she also hit rock bottom and went to the Wiccan group for help. Amy and Willow / Warren tried to do a spell together, but it failed. Warren / Willow responded by slapping Amy. She / he realized that this was not just a simple glamour and fled. Kennedy tried to follow, but Warren / Willow wanted to be left alone.

Kennedy eventually returned to the meeting room and found that everyone but Amy left. Amy referred to Kennedy as a potential slayer. Kennedy treated this like a major slip-up, as if this were a big secret. Amy did not seem particularly mortified.

Giles was spending a particularly lonely night at a campfire when Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew tackled him. Giles went from being uncomfortable with all the touching to being happy that the others cared to wondering why not touching underaged girls would be a bad thing.

Buffy and Spike were stepping through various bodies in the old Initiative headquarters when a demon attacked them. Spike's chip was acting up again, leaving Buffy to kill the demon. Just then, the lights went on and Buffy had what used to be a familiar experience of having Initiative soldiers point guns at her. Apparently, it was not a real flower shop after all. The commander said that Riley told him to provide whatever assistance she needed, which involved removing the chip and, possibly, replacing it with another.

Amy admitted to casting a curse on Willow that allowed Willow's subconscious to punish her. This was Amy's way to get even with Willow for still being loved despite all the things that Willow did at the end of the sixth season. Amy then transported Kennedy to the spot where Buffy was shot in "Seeing Red."

Meanwhile, Warren / Willow went to purchase the same gun Warren used to shoot Tara and Buffy. She / he marched toward Buffy's house and started to reenact the end of "Seeing Red." However, instead of shooting, Warren / Willow talked about how kissing Kennedy caused her / him to forget Tara momentarily, which, in Willow's mind, was like killing her again. Willow / Warren started to cry. Kennedy decided that a kiss started the problem, so a kiss should end the problem. It apparently worked.

The Good

Giles had a couple of classic lines.

There were a couple of good lines when Buffy and Spike finally met the soldiers in the old Initiative base.

The description of Molly and Rona's fight was amusing.

With one unfortunate exception, no potential slayers were in this episode.

The dumb "Is Giles alive or not?" plot line is over.

The Bad

Any amount of Kennedy in an episode is too much. This episode went well beyond that.

This is easily the most morally offensive episode of Buffy. See the essay "Why 'The Killer in Me' is the Worst Episode of Buffy Ever" for an explanation.

The Willow / Warren thing did not work. Again, see more about this in the essay.

As noted above, the "Is Giles alive or not?" plot line was dumb. Once again, see more about this in the essay.

In fact, just look at the essay. If I can spend so much space writing about how bad an episode is, it must be clear that this is a dreadful piece of dreck unworthy of title Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Overall Rank: 144

Action: 4

Buffy punched Warren/Willow.

Buffy fought a demon in the old Initiative headquarters.

Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew gang-tackled Giles.

Comedy: 5

There were a lot of funny lines in this episode.

The description of Molly and Rona's fight was fun.

Drama: 7

Much of the episode clumsily revolved around Willow's feelings about Tara's death.

Romance: 7

Kennedy flirted with Willow in the Bronze.

A kiss from Kennedy sparked the main plot of the episode.

Another kiss resolved the main problem.

Character Development: 7

Willow has not really dealt with Tara's death because she believed that thinking about Tara was keeping Tara alive. After a bit of a crisis, Willow apparently concluded that Tara was not worth mourning over and decided to be with Kennedy instead. Willow came out to her parents, who did not see her sexual orientation as anything other than a political statement.

Kennedy blew off slayer training, unlike in "Showtime" when she was gung-ho about being a potential slayer. She was also much less interested in magic than she was in that episode. She concluded that she was a lesbian when she saw Gone with the Wind.

Amy resented the fact that Willow seems to have been easily forgiven for her crimes and took it upon herself to punish Willow.

Spike may or may not have a chip by the start of the next episode. He is worried about the possibility that the First Evil might make him kill again, so he prefers to be chained up when he is not in Buffy's presence.

Andrew feels guilty about the things he did at the First Evil's behest, but he still retains affection for the real Warren.

Giles is alive and corporeal.

Riley is back with the Initiative or, at least, still has influence in what remains of the Initiative. He does not like Spike, but he did not let that get in the way of ordering help for Spike.

Xander apparently had an embarrassing incident in kindergarten involving Aquaman underoos.

Importance: 6

Willow and Kennedy look like they are a couple.

It is now official: Giles is alive.

We now have an explanation for the events of "Same Time, Same Place."

Spike may not have a chip anymore.

Most Valuable Player: Amy

Amy gets the MVP for her successful curse of Willow, which drove the main plot of two episodes. Kennedy gets some consideration for kissing Willow, and Buffy gets consideration for getting help for Spike.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Kennedy

Anya thought that she figured this episode out by theorizing that they were dealing with the First Evil and not Giles. However, that was just a dumb plot line. Xander gets some consideration for being the first to touch Giles and confirm that he was alive, but Kennedy gets the award for getting Amy to confess to cursing Willow, although Amy was probably eager to brag about what she did.

Goat of the Week: Willow

I am very tempted to give the Goat to Drew Z. Greenberg for writing this trash, but these awards go to characters, not real people. Willow gets a mildly unfair Goat because she is heading toward statutory rape charges and because her guilty conscience caused the problem in this episode.


I understand that most of the characters were not very close to Tara, and the ones who were close to her do not seem to miss her very much. Still, I would expect them to be rather upset to see Andrew embrace the person they believed to be Tara's killer. Instead, they did not seem to care.

One would think that Robson would have taken the lack of a headless Giles in the room as evidence that Giles might have survived. Even if the bringer removed the body, there would still be a lot of Giles blood, unless the bringer was a meticulous housekeeper. Furthermore, if the bringer removed Giles's body, Robson still should have wondered why his body was not removed as well.

DVD Extras

Commentary by Director/Co-Executive Producer David Solomon and Writer Drew Z. Greenberg suffers from neither commentator having much to say. Even though commentaries usually appear on good episodes, this is not the only bad episode in which there is a commentary. For example, "Reptile Boy" was a weak episode that had a (very weak) commentary as well. They do give away Buffy's response on what to do about Spike's chip. Insights include:

Memorable Dialogue

"I don't think they appreciate the gravity of what we're undertaking. It's frightening, and it's difficult, and then, apparently, someone told them that the vision quest consists of me driving them to the desert, doing the hokey-pokey until a spooky rasta-mama slayer arrives and speaks to them in riddles." Giles

"Molly and Rona are fighting over who gets to drive the first leg." Dawn
"Bet you wished you'd renewed that California state driver's license now, huh?" Buffy
"Rona won. You should probably let Molly out of the trunk. I never actually realized how compact Molly really is." Anya

"Turns out when a secret government agency studies vampires and puts chips in their brains that keep them from hurting people, they don't really build web sites." Willow

"You think you have some sort of 'lesbidar' or something?" Willow
"OK, you know there's a better word for that, right?" Kennedy

"The fun part is the process of getting to know a girl. It's like flirting in code. It's using body language and laughing at the right jokes and looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you even when she's not saying a word and that sense that if you can just touch her, just once, everything will be OK for both of you. That's how you can tell. Or, if she's really hot, you just get her drunk, see if she comes on to you." Kennedy

"There are other stories from kindergarten, non-yellow crayon stories in which you don't come out in such a good light. An incident involving Aquaman Underoos for example." Willow / Warren

"We're dealing with a big bad that can be any dead person it wants." Anya

"Good, we all feel each other, including some of us who don't know each other well enough to take such liberty, thank you. I assume there is a perfectly reasonable and not at all insane explanation, yes?" Giles

"You think I'm evil if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and don't touch them?" Giles

"Miss Summers, Agent Finn reported that you tried to contact him earlier today." Initiative Commander
"I knew it, government conspiracy!" Buffy
"He indicated you might be needing our assistance. We're to provide you anything you need to help 'assface' here. Those were his exact words, ma'am." Initiative Commander

"It's not about hate. It's about power. Willow always had all the power, long before she even knew what to do with it. Just came so easy for her. The rest of us, we had to work twice as hard to be half as good, but no one cares about how hard you work. They just care about cute, sweet Willow. They don't know how weak she is. She gave in to evil and stuff worse than I can even imagine. She almost destroyed the world, and yet, everyone keeps on loving her? So what's wrong with having a little fun, huh, taking her down a peg or two?" Amy

Characters in Peril


Departed Characters Remembered

Police and Guns

Buffy and the Law

Strictly the Caucasian Persuasion

Willow Gay References

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 11, 2013