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(a.k.a. Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Vampires)

Written by: David Fury and Drew Goddard
Directed by: David Fury
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)
Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
Iyari Limon as Kennedy
Indigo as Rona
Caroline Lagerfelt as Spike's Mum
K.D. Aubert as Nikki Wood
Juliet Landau as Drusilla
DB Woodside as Principal Robin Wood
Co-Starring: Damani Roberts as Young Robin
Ira Steck as New Vamp (Richard)

Plot Summary

Principal Wood tried and failed to kill Spike to avenge his mother.

Plot Details

The episode opened in New York City in 1977. During a thunderstorm, a small boy watched his mother battle a vampire with bleach blond hair. When the vampire appeared to have the advantage, the boy pushed over a garbage bin, which distracted the vampire enough for her to escape. Fortunately, the vampire decided that he enjoyed the battle too much to end it quickly, so he left.

In the present, Principal Wood, Spike, and Buffy fought three vampires. Spike easily took out his opponent, but Principal Wood looked like he was about to become a meal. Fortunately, Spike stepped in as Buffy fought the remaining vampire.

At school the next day, Buffy and Principal Wood talked about how everything seemed to revert back to normal. However, Giles burst in to point out a major catastrophe: the fact that there are now a lot of computers in the library. As a minor note, Giles mentioned that the coven in England said that First was still gathering forces for an upcoming apocalypse.

Giles did have some good news: no new potentials! Instead, he went to find something to eliminate Spike's trigger. It involved chaining Spike up while Giles put a magic stone into Spike's brain to seek out something in his past that is used to make him violent.

Willow repeated an incantation that turned the stone into a CGI worm that crawled into Spike's right eye. He soon found himself watching William the Bloody Awful Poet recite his latest masterpiece to his mother. The mother found his love poems encouraging and hoped that William would soon marry. He was not in such a hurry. She also coughed blood into a handkerchief to show that she has tuberculosis.

Soon, she started singing the song, "Early One Morning," from "Sleeper" and "Never Leave Me." In the present, this set Spike into a rage that included throwing a cot at Dawn. Soon afterward, he protested his being chained up, but nobody seemed ready to let him go. Giles played psychologist and asked Spike about his mother, but Spike was not in the mood to be psychoanalyzed.

Meanwhile, Willow tended to Dawn. They were interrupted by a phone call from someone named "Fred" who had a problem. Willow told Buffy that she needed to leave town for a day or two. There were also token lines for Xander, Anya, Andrew, and a couple potentials.

Back in the past, Spike and Drusilla celebrated his recent siring. He eagerly talked about what the three of themóDrusilla, Spike, and his motherówere going to do. Drusilla thought that bringing his mother along was weird, which is saying a lot. Soon, his mother interrupted. She seemed pleased that he was back but was not sure about the woman he was with. His mother also was not ready to believe that he became a vampire, so he had to prove it by siring her.

Over Giles's protests, Buffy finally freed Spike from his chains. Principal Wood pulled Giles aside to conspire. Giles soon figured out that Spike killed Wood's mother and that Wood might want a little revenge. Still, Giles seemed ready to go along with the distracting Buffy while Wood carried out his plan.

That night, in a cemetery, Giles lectured Buffy on how to be a leader, which, apparently, involved more than delivering tiresome speeches. A vampire rose, but Giles did not want her to kill it. Instead, he wanted her to hear him lecture on the need to sacrifice people for the cause.

Meanwhile, Principal Wood led Spike to a shed that contained a toy computer and hundreds of crosses. Wood told Spike his back-story, so Spike realized Wood's intentions. Wood then played "Early One Morning" on the computer in order to release the monster in Spike. However, this did not go much past roaring, which gave Wood the opportunity to beat him up.

In the past, Spike was quite pleased to see that his mother was no longer sick. However, she simply wanted to be rid of him and decided to be cruel instead. She started to come on to him, so he staked her.

In Wood's shed, he removed his mother's old coat from Spike so it would not turn to dust when he drove a stake through Spike's heart. However, Spike had other plans. Spike showed Wood how a real vampire fought and started to beat him up. Spike lectured him about how slayers, including Wood's mother, put their job above everything else. Spike then got ready to bite him.

Buffy eventually figured out that Giles was just stalling. She staked the vampire and ran to the shed. Spike had spared Wood, but he made it clear that this would be the last time. Buffy went to Wood and made it clear that she would let Spike kill him if he tried anything like this again.

Later, Giles approached Buffy to talk about what happened, but she did not want to hear anything he had to say.

The Good

There are no new potentials and the two that appear in this episode had very little screen time.

The scene in which Giles and Buffy told Principal Wood about Spike was very funny.

We may have heard our last ponderous speech.

The Bad

"Fool for Love" covered Spike's past very well, making this episode unnecessary.

All potential slayers survived this episode.

Overall Rank: 80

Action: 7

Spike fought Nikki Wood during a flashback in the teaser.

Spike, Principal Wood, and Buffy fought three vampires during the teaser.

Principal Wood and Spike fought in Wood's shed.

Buffy fought a vampire in a cemetery.

Comedy: 2

Buffy and Giles tried to tell Principal Wood about Spike's chip, soul, and trigger.

Drama: 8

Spike dealt with some hurtful words that his mother told him before turning into dust.

Principal Wood confronted the vampire who killed his mother.

Buffy became estranged from Giles.

Romance: 1

Xander wished that he used Spike's chains for a different purpose.

Spike's mother tried to provoke Oedipal desires in Spike.

Character Development: 7

Spike was a "mama's boy" when he was human. After being sired, he sired his mother, expecting her to accompany him and Drusilla, but he ended up staking her when she turned on him. This had been eating at him, which allowed the First to manipulate him.

Anya still believes that her transgressions are treated more seriously than Spike's transgressions.

Giles was ready to betray Buffy over Spike.

Importance: 4

Principal Wood finally acted on his desire to avenge his mother's death.

Buffy and Giles are now estranged.

Most Valuable Player: Spike

Spike gets the MVP for not allowing Wood to kill him and for his rationalization that allowed him to overcome the First's trigger.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Buffy

Giles figured out that Principal Wood was Nikki Wood's son and that he wanted revenge. Spike also gets credit for determining the cause of his trigger, but he already won the MVP. Buffy gets the award for figuring out that Giles was distracting her so that Wood could (try to) kill Spike.

Goat of the Week: Principal Wood

Giles and Principal Wood fought hard for this award. The both conspired to kill Spike but only succeeded in alienating Buffy. Principal Wood gets the Goat for also failing to avenge his mother.

Random Commentary

I do not buy Spike's explanation that his mother's hurtful words came from the demon and not the person. Throughout the series, it has been clear that vampires take on the characteristics of the humans they once were. However, becoming evil allows them to shake their inhibitions. For example, Jesse continued to be attracted to Cordelia, but he was more forceful about it. Vampire Willow was openly bisexual long before her human counterpart met Tara. I believe that Spike's human mother felt many of those things, but she was too inhibited to admit to them, perhaps even to herself.

DVD Extras

Commentary by Director David Fury, Writer Drew Goddard, James Marsters ("Spike") and D.B. Woodside ("Principal Wood") is another example of the rule that the number of participants in the commentary is inversely related to the amount that anyone has to say. One of the advantages of not having anything to say is the fact that there were very few spoilers. Insights include:

Memorable Dialogue

"By the way, love the coat." Spike

"A little tip, mate, the stake's your friend. Don't be afraid to use it." Spike
"Just waiting for my moment." Principal Wood

"Any apocalypse I avert without dying, yeah, those are the easy ones." Buffy

"Have you seen the new library? There's nothing but computers." Giles

"Spike, what about him?" Buffy
"I told you my concerns when you recklessly chose to remove the chip from his head." Giles
"Wait, sorry, chip?" Principal Wood
"It's a long story." Giles
"The military put a chip in Spike's head so he couldn't hurt anyone." Buffy
"That would be the abridged version." Giles
"But he wouldn't anyone anymore because he has a soul now." Buffy
"Unless the First triggers him again." Giles
"Triggers the chip?" Wood
"No, the trigger's a posthypnotic thing. The First put it in his head. It was... made him... He was killing again." Buffy
"So he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?" Wood
"Not anymore." Giles
"It was killing him, Giles." Buffy
"The trigger?" Wood
"No, the chip. The trigger's not active anymore." Buffy
"Because the military gave him a soul?" Wood

[To Giles] "Boring, old and English, just like you... ul Brynner." Buffy

"Spike's got some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card that doesn't apply to the rest of us. I mean, he could slaughter a hundred frat boys and... [off everyone's stares] Forgiveness makes us human. Blah-di, blah blah blah." Anya

"I'm the other that gave birth to your son." Drusilla

"All I do is look at the big picture. The other day, I gave an inspirational speech to the telephone repairman." Buffy

"She was all I had. She was my world." Principal Wood
"And you weren't hers. Doesn't that piss you off?" Spike

"I gave him a pass, let him live on account of the fact I killed his mother, but that's all he gets. He even so much as looks at me funny again, I'll kill him." Spike

"Spike is the strongest warrior we have. We are gonna need him if we're gonna come out of this thing alive. If you try anything again, he'll kill you. More importantly, I'll let him. I have a mission: to win this war, to save the world. I don't have time for vendettas. The mission is what matters." Buffy

[To Giles] "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." Buffy

Characters in Peril


Departed Characters Remembered

Buffy and the Law

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 January 12, 2013