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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
The Dark Age
November 10, 1997


Dean Batali
Rob Des Hotel

Bruce Seth Green

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Robia LaMorte as Ms. Calendar
Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne
Stuart McLean as Philip Henry
Wendy Way as Dierdre
Michael Earl Reid as Custodian
Daniel Henry Murray as Creepy Cult Guy
Carlease Burke as Detective Winslow
Tony Sears as Morgue Attendant
John Bellucci as Man


A demon that possesses the bodies of the dead or unconscious comes to Sunnydale. Nothing new there, except this demon is only interested in those who bear a strange Etruscan tattoo, and the last body it possessed was carrying Giles' name and address. When Giles sees the body, he recognizes it from his past, twenty years ago. Buffy becomes worried about Giles when he begins acting strangely, missing his Watcher duties in favor of staying in and drinking alone. She finds Ethan Rayne skulking in the library, and discovers that the tattoo is the Mark of Eyghon, a demon that Giles and Ethan worshipped when Giles was a rebellious youth. It has come back to kill all of Giles old gang, and only he and Ethan remain. Eyghon jumps into Jenny's body, but she is saved by Angel, who tricks the demon into jumping into him. Angel is strong enough to destroy Eyghon by will alone, after 200 years of practice. Jenny loses all trust in Giles for bringing the demon into her. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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It's true that, as Willow says, "ancient sects used to induce possession for bacchanals and orgies." We haven't been able to find any mention of Eyghon in Etruscan mythology, but our researches were far from complete, so we won't say for definite that Eyghon is entirely a creation of the writers. The show seems to be creating its own Lovecraft- and Stoker-inspired demon mythos. Meanwhile, the concept of one's past literally coming back to haunt them is not a new one, but again Buffy uses an old plot device in a fresh way.

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Dialogue to Die For

Xander: "Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades."
Buffy: "He probably sat in math class thinking, 'There should be more math. This could be mathier.'"

Xander: "Ooh, gang, didja hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia! Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever!"

Ms. Calendar: "I just love to see you squirm."
Giles: "Yes, well, I, uh... trust I gave good... squirm."
Ms. Calendar: "Did anyone ever tell you you're kind of a fuddy-duddy?"
Giles: "Nobody ever seems to tell me anything else."
Ms. Calendar: "Did anyone ever tell you you're kind of a sexy fuddy-duddy?"
Giles: "Well, no. Actually that part usually gets left out. I can't imagine why."

Cordelia: "There are books on computers? Isn't the point of computers to replace books?"

Buffy: "Don't be sorry, be Giles. C'mon, we fight monsters. This is what we do. They show up, they scare us, I beat 'em up and they go away. This isn't any different!"

Buffy: "I'm not gonna lie to you. It was scary. I'm so used to you being a grownup, and then I find out that you're a person."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Xander's out-of-place "Uncle Rory" speech: "Nobody can be wound as straight and narrow as Giles without a dark side erupting. My Uncle Rory was the stodgiest taxidermist you've ever met by day. By night, it was booze, whores, and fur flyin'. Were there whores?"

Willow: "It's not Egyptian, it's Etruscan mistaken for Egyptian by the design pattern, but any fool can see it predates their iconology."

    The "any fool can see" bit is pretty far out of character for Willow.
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    Amy Yip
  • Buffy and Willow's game of "Anywhere But Here" results in mentions of Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of the rock band Bush; John Cusack, the eternally youthful star of such great movies as Better Off Dead (1985), Say Anything (1989), and Grosse Pointe Blank (1997); and Amy Yip, a sexy and often scantily-clad model and actress from Hong Kong. For more information on Amy Yip, click here.

  • Giles lent Ms. Calendar a first edition of a novel by E.M. Forster (1879-1970), the extremely British author of many extremely British plays, novels, and short stories. His most famous works include such classic novels as A Room With A View (1908), Howard's End (1910), and A Passage To India (1924). It's never revealed which of Forster's novels he lent her.

  • "I care from you Lost Weekend-ing in your apartment!"  The Lost Weekend is a classic, powerful 1945 film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, about the effects of alcoholism on one man's life. Based on a novel of the same name by Charles R. Jackson, the movie won Academy Awards® for best picture, best actor (Milland), best director (Wilder) and best screenplay (Wilder and Charles Brackett).

  • "I mean, I'm not running around, wind in my hair, 'The hills are alive with the sound of music' fine, but... I'm coping."  "The hills are alive with the sound of music," is, of course, the chorus of the title song of the The Sound of Music, the famous 1959 musical written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II which told the true-life story of the musical Von Trapp family, and which was made into one of the world's most beloved movies in 1965.

    Bay City Rollers

  • "Bay City Rollers. Now, that's music."  The Bay City Rollers were a pop group from Scotland that enjoyed enormous success in the mid-70s among teenaged girls due to their good looks and a string of accessible top-ten bubblegum hits. Their biggest hit was "Saturday Night," which hit number one in the U.S. in January 1976. That Giles seems to have been a fan is, at the very least, highly disturbing...
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  • Angel says that all the vampires in Sunnydale know about the monthly delivery of blood to the hospital.

  • When Eyghon leaves Giles' apartment after first possessing Ms. Calendar, it says, "Be seeing you." The same line appeared on the card Ethan left at the end of "Halloween." This would seem to indicate that the resolution of the Eyghon situation was Ethan's main motivation for coming to Sunnydale.

  • Giles studied history at Oxford University as part of, or at least during, his training to become a Watcher.

  • It would appear from the photo that Xander finds in Giles' office that Giles played the bass guitar in a rock band when he was younger.
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Almost all the parts were excellent, and yet the whole was somehow off. It was good, quite good, but not great, and coming after two over-the-top incredible episodes like "Halloween" and "Lie To Me", it can't help but suffer in comparison. Now, I liked seeing Giles' dark past revealed, even though I figured it was going to be more than it turned out to be. Ethan is a bloody marvelous villain, and I dearly look forward to seeing more of him in the future. The seeming end of Giles' relationship with the delightful Ms. Calendar is heartbreaking and unwelcome, but a well-executed plot development nevertheless, and I approve even if I don't like it. Willow rocked, as usual, her outburst and her ingenious plan with Angel getting big whoops and hollers out of me. After scoffing at those online fans who predict that Willow is a Watcher-in-training, I am now presented with too much evidence of that to ignore. (Tea? Her library?) And my favorite thing about this episode was Cordelia. In my review for "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" I said that I didn't like Cordelia and that I didn't think Charisma Carpenter was a very good actress. She's been proving me wrong in that opinion all season, and this was the episode that cemented the reversal of said opinion. She was funny, attractive, and a worthy part of the proceedings. But the flaws stuck out. Xander was stuck in that bizarre Chandler Bing bitter comic relief mode that the writers seem to resort to whenever they can't figure out what else to do with him — witness that strangely out-of-place and inappropriate "Uncle Rory" speech. More than that, though, the episode seemed to lack the confidence that made the last two episodes so great. Batali and Des Hotel had a nice, dense plot, but they didn't present it with authority — everyone seemed to be slightly unsure of where they were going and what they were doing. And that strange lack of focus that hung over this episode took away from what it could have been. (7/10)
Poor, poor Giles. I can honestly say that I like him and I feel bad for him. He made a mistake in his youth that unfortunately came back to haunt him in an all-too-scary way. His past seems to have hurt his budding relationship with Jenny (it's so cute when Giles calls her that). This brief look into Giles not-so-rosy (or should I say not-so-tweedy) past was a bit unexpected. I had actually anticipated something a bit more evil, but don't let that criticism take away from how wonderful this episode was. The writers are making things very difficult for themselves. Every week they come through with a wonderful, fun, witty and suspenseful dose of pure Buffy for all of us addicts out there. A few things that stand out for me in this episode include things that we don't often see in this show. The first was Willow with attitude. Watching her go verbally medieval on Xander and Cordy was out of character, but completely cool and quite entertaining. Seeing Willow shed that innocent exterior that she carries so well adds fuel to an already blazing fire. Then, without any warning at all, she slips right back into character. On a more humorous note, Jenny (Ms. Calendar) has never looked so horrible. Okay, I'll cut her some slack because she was a demon. The last thing that I noticed in this episode, as well as last week's, was the way they ended the episode. The touching and emotional ending to each show included a "moment" between Giles and Buffy. Their relationship has gotten quite interesting. It shows that Buffy is growing up and Giles is becoming human. Generally, I find this kind of "pull at your heart strings" thing a bit too heavy for a show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I feel that it adds drama to this wonderfully brilliant show. The only bad thing that I can say about this show is that it is only on once a week. Now I must wait for another 167 hours to see the next offering. Guys... keep up the great work. (9/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
November 10, 1997 3.7 101 of 119 (tie)
February 17, 1998 3.5 66 of 86 (tie)
July 21, 1998 2.3 96 of 110 (tie)

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