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EMPTY PLACES (ep #7.19)

(a.k.a. Mutiny on the Hellmouth)

Written by: Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by: James A. Contner
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)
Eliza Dushku as Faith (Special guest star)
Nathan Fillion as Caleb (Special guest star)
Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
Iyari Limon as Kennedy
Indigo as Rona
Sarah Hagan as Amanda
Kristy Wu as Chao-Ahn
Dorian Missick as Police Officer
Larry Clarke as Monk
DB Woodside as Principal Wood
Co-Starring: Mary Wilcher as Shannon
James C. Leary as Clem
Justin Shilton as Munroe
Nathan Brooks Burgess as Duncan
David Grammer as Crazy Citizen

Plot Summary

The characters improbably mutiny against Buffy, forcing her out of her own home.

Plot Details

It appears that Sunnydale citizens all want to leave Sunnydale (or want to worship some entity in Los Angeles). Among the refugees was Clem. Even he was not that optimistic about Buffy's chances of winning in this apocalypse, although he will be rooting for her, from Nebraska.

Willow and Giles spoke with a police officer who was under the strange impression that they were from Interpol. Apparently, they received useful information. They also learned that the police were eager to mete out some "justice."

Willow was eager to visit Xander and Buffy at the hospital. He seemed to be in good spirits and made a few pirate jokes. Willow tried to go along with the jokes, but she could barely keep her composure. Buffy ducked out soon after Willow arrived.

Meanwhile, Anya delivered a lecture about Übervamps to a bunch of potential slayers. Apparently her demon sources delivered her a lot of bull manure that she would know was false if she were not so busy talking to the Eye of Beljoxa in "Showtime." For example, she said that they are immune to holy water. She also made sure to mention what she and Xander did on the basement cot in "Storyteller." That kind of talk made Kennedy and Amanda feel a bit uncomfortable, so they went upstairs to talk with Faith. However, they soon learned that people uncomfortable with talking about sex should probably stay away from Faith.

Buffy returned with the information that Giles and Willow got from the police. Apparently, the file included information about violence at religious institutions in California that Caleb may have committed. After giving information to Dawn, Faith, Kennedy, and Amanda, Buffy ducked out to pick up things from Sunnydale High.

Buffy got a little sentimental while looking at what looked like a third season photo of her, Willow, and Xander. Caleb interrupted. After a bit of posturing from both sides, Buffy tried to smack Caleb a couple of times. He responded by lifting her up by the throat and tossing her through a window.

Dawn found a likely Caleb target at a mission in Gilroy, also known as the Garlic Capitol of the World. Of course, the ideal person to send to such a place would be a vampire, so Giles sent Spike to investigate. Spike agreed, although he was not happy about Giles's actions in "Lies My Parents Told Me." Meanwhile, Andrew was whining about Faith eating his Hot Pocket, so Giles sent him along as well.

Faith was concerned about morale, so she took the potential slayers to the Bronze. As usual, she danced with several men while the others stood around and played pool or listened to the band.

Buffy eventually returned home to find only Giles. He actually seemed concerned about her. She was not happy about Giles sending Spike away on the mission and seemed to harbor more resentment over Giles's actions in "Lies My Parents Told Me" than Spike did. She was also upset about Faith taking everyone to the Bronze.

Principal Snyder once said that the Sunnydale Police were "deeply stupid." This must be the reason why they believed that four of them would be enough to arrest Faith. She eventually left the building voluntarily, but she insisted that she was not going back to jail. The police did not seem to mind. One closed the door to the Bronze behind him as the other three were ready to shoot her.

Faith responded by fighting. The battle moved back and forth from her beating them up to them playing Rodney King on her. Meanwhile, the officer inside the Bronze tried to keep everyone else inside. However, Dawn and the potential slayers were not into that and beat him up. Dawn, Rona, and Chao-Ahn stayed inside with the one police officer while Amanda and Kennedy charged out to help Faith.

Buffy arrived just in time to see the end of the fight. She was not happy to see drunk, underaged girls fighting police officers. Faith got a little defensive and commented on how Buffy did not know the potentials all that well and that Buffy also led the potentials into a fight. Buffy was in the mood to deliver lectures, not take them, so she punched Faith.

Andrew wore Dawn's old (American) football helmet from "Bargaining Part 2" as he rode with Spike to Gilroy. They spent at least part of the time discussing how to make an onion blossom. At the mission, a monk ambushed them. However, he was not much of a match for Spike. Spike noticed Caleb's brand on the monk's right cheek. Apparently, Caleb arrived looking for something in a secret room. It contained an inscription that excited him until he translated it and found that "it" was for "her," not for Caleb. He responded by killing the other monks.

Xander returned to an emotional welcome at the Summers home. Once he arrived, Buffy announced that they were going back to the winery. She realized that Caleb was not guarding the seal at the Hellmouth because there was something more important at the winery. Faith and Giles objected. Buffy was shocked that people disagreed. Rona, Kennedy, Willow, Anya, and Xander joined the fight against Buffy, culminating in Dawn telling Buffy to leave as everyone else decided that Faith should be in charge. Buffy left.

The Good

It is always good to see Clem.

Willow and Xander had a nice encounter at the hospital.

Excluding the final scene, the episode really was not that bad.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the episode contained the final scene.

No potentials died or otherwise removed themselves from the show.

Overall Rank: 106

Action: 7

Caleb and Buffy had a fight at Sunnydale High.

Faith, Dawn, and several potential slayers battled four police officers at the Bronze.

Comedy: 3

Anya imparted some interesting information to the potential slayers.

Drama: 8

Willow had a hard time keeping her composure when visiting Xander at the hospital.

Many of the potential slayers were worried about Caleb. This culminated in a mutiny against Buffy.

Romance: 1

Anya told the potentials about what she and Xander did on the cot during "Storyteller."

Character Development: 3

Clem no longer eats cats because of cholesterol morals.

Anya appears to harbor no more ill-will toward Xander.

Kennedy appears to be back to her blow-off-slayer-training attitude from "The Killer in Me." However, she was less comfortable discussing sexuality than she was in that episode, although her problem might have been with heterosexuality.

Faith seems proud of the fact that she cured Xander of his virginity.

Buffy seemed to have difficulty with human contact.

Spike still semi-trusts Giles despite the events in "Lies My Parents Told Me." At Giles's behest, he even went on a mission to the Garlic Capitol of the World.

Rona decided to challenge Kennedy for the title of Most Hated Potential.

Giles was hurt when Buffy said that she did not trust him.

Importance: 7

The other characters have mutinied against Buffy, leaving Faith in charge.

Most Valuable Player: Caleb

I would consider Faith for the MVP if I were convinced that she wanted to instigate a coup. However, I am going to say that she received leadership involuntarily. Therefore, Caleb gets the MVP for successfully sowing discord among the characters. Giles gets a bit of credit for ensuring Spike's absence before carrying out the mutiny.

Sherlock Holmes Award: Giles

Dawn noticed that the mission in Gilroy was a likely Caleb target, Giles noticed Caleb's brand, and Spike translated the inscription. Meanwhile, Buffy figured out that there was something more than wine at the winery. It is not clear yet whether Buffy it right, so she misses out on the award, which would have ensured that she gets this award more than any other character across all 144 episodes of the show. Instead, it goes to her top rival, Giles, for noticing something that could easily be overlooked.

Goat of the Week: Giles

Just about every character except Buffy, Spike, Andrew, Clem, Caleb, and the First Evil could be considered for this award because of their participation in the mutiny. However, the potentials were too stupid to know better, so I will excuse them. In fact, Principal Wood might also be excused because he has no first-hand experience of the fact that the best way to survive an apocalypse is to be on Buffy's side. I will also excuse Faith because she tried to slow the momentum toward mutiny, even if she did so feebly. This leaves Willow, Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Giles. Giles gets the Goat because he seemed to be the subtle instigator of the mutiny.

Random Commentary

I would say that the mutiny scene contained some of the worst acting that we have seen from Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendon, Anthony Stewart Head, Emma Caulfield, and Michelle Trachtenberg. My guess is that the actors did not believe that their characters would mutiny against Buffy and simply read their lines to get the scene over with.

I also found the mutiny at the end of the episode to be completely implausible. First, the other characters have all gone through times when things looked bleak. However, they managed to get through these times by sticking together. This is why Adam had Spike try to break them up in the fourth season. Furthermore, none of the regular characters like Faith. There is no reason why any of them would want to follow her. In fact, if stories about Spike spooked the potentials, then equally bad stories about Faith should scare them as well.

Initially, Drew Greenberg would be the obvious person to blame for this. It is his job to make the event credible. However, I think that too much was asked of him as I do not believe that Joss Whedon himself could have made the scene credible. Therefore the blame goes to whoever decided to have the characters mutiny against Buffy. Most likely, this person was Whedon. However, it is possible that Greenberg was told merely to separate Buffy from the other characters. If this were true, then Greenberg would get the blame for doing so through a mutiny rather than by having Buffy withdraw out of guilt.

Memorable Dialogue

"You can't swing a cat without hitting some kind of demonic activity, not that I swing cats, or eat. Nope, cutting way back, cholesterol... morals. I mean morals." Clem

"It is nigh! From beneath you, it..." Nutcase

"You know what the best part is? No one will ever make me watch Jaws 3-D again." Xander

"I know you're all upset, and I, myself, would much rather be sitting at the bedside of my one-eyed ex-fiancé than killing time here with you people in this overcrowded and, might I add, increasingly ripe-smelling basement, and I would be too, if not for a certain awkward discussion he and I recently had right over there on that cot immediately following some exciting and unexpected break-up sex." Anya

"Do you think there are gonna be questions about her sex life on the test? Because I really hope I don't have to study all that." Amanda
"Yeah, whenever she starts talking about getting all sweaty about Xander like that, I just remind her I had him first." Faith

"I was gonna do lots and lots of homework, but, darn the luck, they went and canceled school." Dawn

"Parties in this house, I usually end up having to rebuild something." Xander

"'It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield.'" Spike reading the inscription in the mission

Characters in Peril

Evil Escaped

Police and Guns

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 13, 2013