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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
January 18, 2000


Marti Noxon
David Fury
Jane Espenson

James A. Contner

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
Bailey Chase as Graham Miller
Ethan Erickson as Percy West
Anastasia Horne as Laurie
Anthony Anselmi as Partier / The Dead Guy


Picking up where last week left off, Buffy and Riley argue a bit about each one having kept secrets from the other. They decide to take some space, but an earthquake interrupts their conversation. Buffy worries that the earthquiake signifies the end of the world, and turns out to be right. As the gang heads back to high school to stop the Hellmouth from opening, Riley tries to convince a wary Buffy that a relationship between them can work. After Riley helps her save the world (and the gang figures out that he's a commando), Buffy comes to her senses and heads to his dorm for some kissage.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Vahrall demon The Vahrall demons are another fictional breed of demons, said to be: "Slick like gold, and gird in moonlight, father of portents, and brother to blight, limbs of talons, eyes like knives, bane of the blameless, thief of lives." Their goal for this episode was, of course, to end the world via the Sunnydale Hellmouth, using the blood of a man, the bones of a child, the Word of Valios (a talisman), and three sacrifices (themselves).

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Body Count

UCS Party-Goer
Throat sliced by Vahrall demon in a dorm room.
Vahrall Demon
Sacrificed himself by jumping in the Hellmouth.
Vahrall Demon
Thrown into Hellmouth by Spike.
Vahrall Demon
Stabbed by Buffy at the Hellmouth.
Total: Four
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Dialogue to Die For

Buffy: "I'm the Slayer. (Riley looks blankly.) Slay-er. Chosen One. She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries. (He still looks blankly.) You're kidding me! Ask around. Look it up. Slayer, comma, The."

Buffy: "I really thought that you were a nice, normal guy."
Riley: "I am a nice, normal guy."
Buffy: "Maybe by this town's standards, but I'm not grading on a curve."

Riley: "Buffy. She's pretty cool, huh?"
Forrest: "Yes, already! She's cool. She's hot. She's tepid. She's all-temperature Buffy."

Giles: "Oh — as usual — dear."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Giles: "It's the end of the world; everyone dies. It's rather important, really."

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  • Riley: "What are you?"
    Buffy: "Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius, you?"
  • Because of the inflection, one could consider "What are you?" to be an indirect reference to the "Who are you?" line in Batman.

    Buffy is referring to her astrological sign — Capricorn is said to include birthdays falling from December 22 or 23 to January 19 or 20 (depending on where you get your information). A birthday on the cusp is one which falls close to the cut-off line, generally one to three days on either side. (See also the Notes section.)

  • Forrest: "Slayer? Thrash band. Anvil-heavy guitar rock with delusions of Black Sabbath."
  • Forrest pretty much sums up Slayer, a heavy-metal band that's been around since the early 80s. Black Sabbath is a classic heavy-metal band, originating in the early 70s and originally (and sometimes still) joined by Ozzy Osbourne.

  • Forrest: "Well, the way I got it figured, the Slayer's like some kind of bogeyman for the sub-terrestrials."
  • A bogeyman (spelled many different ways, by the way) is an imaginary evil character; a generic bad guy or monster. It's often used to scare little children who've been bad, or discourage them from being bad (i.e., "If you get out of bed again, the bogeyman will get you and take you away!").

  • Forrest: "Maybe this isn't a good time to tell you about the Easter Bunny."
  • Another imaginary character for the benefit of children (not to scare them, though, in this case). The symbol of the Easter Bunny is said to have originated as a Pagan symbol in Germany as early as the 1500s, and to have been brought to American by the Germans in the 1700s (the symbol, not an actual Easter Bunny). Children believed that if they were good, the Bunny would lay colored eggs in a nest that they left for the Bunny. These days, parents often hide colored plastic eggs with candy inside them for children to find and collect in an Easter basket (this tradition varies somewhat by region and by family; we don't have room to list all the variations here).

  • Forrest: "They're just animals, man. Plain and simple. Granted, a little rarer than the ones you grew up with on that little farm in Smallville..."
  • Yet another Superman reference — Smallville was the farm-town that Clark Kent (Superman) grew up in with his adoptive parents before moving to Metropolis. Forrest compared both himself and Riley to Clark Kent in the last episode, "Hush."

  • Willow (upon seeing Percy): "I thought you got that football scholarship to USC."
  • This is a reference to the University of Southern California, a prestigious private school in Los Angeles, home of the Trojans.

  • Xander: "It's kind of the CBS logo. Hey, could this be the handiwork of one Mr. Morley Safer?"
  • CBS LogoThe CBS logo is an eye, although not an eye in a triangle. Morley Safer is a co-editor/corespondent for the CBS show 60 Minutes, and has been since 1970.

  • Forrest: "She's cool. She's hot. She's tepid. She's all-temperature Buffy."
  • This may be a reference to Cheer, a laundry detergent made by Proctor & Gamble. Several years ago, their slogan was "All-temperature Cheer," due to its cleaning abilities in hot, warm, and cold water. — Thanks to David H. for catching this one.

  • Spike: "Oh, but you can. You know I'd drain you drier than the Sahara if I had half a chance."
  • The Sahara desert is the largest non-polar desert, encompassing more than 3.5 million square miles of North Africa.

  • Riley (about demon-hunting): "It's not just a job!"
    Buffy: "It's an adventure, great."
  • This is a reference to the old U.S. Navy commercials with the tagline, "It's not just a job, it's an adventure." — Thanks to Ang for catching that. Somehow we managed to miss it. :-)

  • Buffy: "Is this really the time for Donkey Kong?"
  • Donkey KongDonkey Kong was a coin-operated video game developed in 1981 by Nintendo. This video game quickly became the hottest selling individual coin-operated machine in the business. It introduced two of the most famous Nintendo characters: Mario and Donkey Kong (although Mario wasn't named in this video game).

  • Xander: "Mayor meat. Extra crispy."
  • This is probably a KFC reference. KFC now has a style of chicken known as Extra Tasty Crispy, but most people refer to it as only Extra Crispy. Interestingly, KFC is now their actual name (not Kentucky Fried Chicken as it was once known), since they have expanded their menu to include other types of chicken besides fried.

  • Willow: "You were just passing by in your G.I. Joe outfit?"
  • G.I. Joe was debuted in 1964 as an 11-1/2 inch soldier "doll" for boys. Named after the 1945 movie The Story of G.I. Joe, it became the first boys' "action figure" in the world and was dressed in military clothing. Still a very popular toy for young boys, they are now approximately 4 inches tall and produced by Hasbro.

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  • Hush

    The episode picked up exactly where "Hush" left off, with Buffy and Riley sitting silently in her room.

  • The Initiative and Pangs

    The audience discovered that Riley was a member of the Initiative, that the headquarters were under UCS, and that they had put an implant in Spike in "The Initiative." Buffy discovered her knowledge (of the implants, the experiments, and him being from Iowa) in "Pangs," via Spike giving her info in order to receive the gang's help.

  • Gingerbread and Something Blue

    The rat in the dorm is Amy, who turned herself into a rat in "Gingerbread." Amy-rat was also seen in the girls' dorm in "Something Blue," when Willow unknowingly turned her into a human for a few seconds.

  • Prophecy Girl

    Buffy mentions that the last time there was an earthquake, she died, referring to her death at the hands of the Master.

  • Doppelgängland

    Willow was ordered by Principal Snyder to tutor Percy so that he could remain eligible to play basketball.

  • Surprise and Wild at Heart

    Willow reasons that she's not a nerd because she's dating a guitarist refers, obviously, to Oz, whom she began dating in "Surprise." Her "Or I was" correction refers to their break-up in "Wild at Heart."

  • School Hard

    Spike bids goodbye to Dru when before he tries to kill himself, Dru being Drusilla, the love of his un-life, first seen in "School Hard." She was seen in lots of Season Two, last seen in "Becoming, Part Two;" it was revealed in "Lovers Walk" that she'd left him.

  • Graduation Day, Part One

    Buffy tells Riley that the last person she knew who had fun slaying is in a coma right now because she had too much fun. This, of course, refers to Faith, who jumped off a building to avoid letting Buffy use her blood to save Angel from a poison that Faith had given him. Of course, that was after Buffy tried to kill her, which she doesn't mention to Riley.

  • Graduation Day, Part Two

    The high school is in ruins because the gang blew it up in order to kill the Mayor, who'd transformed into a giant serpent demon — hence, "Mayor meat."

  • The Harvest, Prophecy Girl, Becoming, Part Two, and The Zeppo

    The various near ends-of-the-world (explaining the gang's reaction to Giles' announcement that the end of the world was coming). In "The Harvest," the Master attempted to open the Hellmouth. In "Prophecy Girl," he succeeds. In "Becoming," the world was nearly sucked into hell. In "The Zeppo," the Sisters of Jhe opened the Hellmouth. Obviously Buffy and co. averted catastrophe each time.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • In the very first scene (the continuation from "Hush"), the right side of Buffy's hair (her right) is behind her shoulder, as it was at the end of "Hush." The camera zooms out, and when it cuts back to her, all of her hair is in front of her shoulders.
          Spotted by Christine.

  • It's difficult to be sure, but after Riley knocks out the demon, it looks as though his right-hand horn is gone. Seeing as that should be roughly equivalent to someone's ear falling off after being hit on the back of the head, that just doesn't seem right.

  • When the lights first turn on to show Willow with the dead guy, his eyes appear to be open. The close-up shot of him shows his eyes closed, and then in another zoomed out shot, his eyes again appear to be open.
          Spotted by Matt C.

  • When the gang is researching the Vahrall demons and Willow reads about the ritual, Xander's pizza shirt is open over a white t-shirt. For one cut, though, the pizza shirt is buttoned up, and then it's open again.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • OK, we swear we're trying not to be too picky, but Riley tells the commandos to go out in "civies" and bag their weapons (carry them in a bag). He's out, though, with nothing but the pheromone detector — no bag o' weapons. That just seems odd. What if he finds the demon with his detector? He's gonna hide and wait for back up?

  • Willow wears clothes to the Aftershock Party. This is good. However, she then wears those clothes for the rest of the episode. The morning after the party, Buffy has changed, so she must have gone back to the dorm — why couldn't she take Willow with her or at least bring some clothes back for her?

  • When Spike attempts to stake himself, the stake goes flying off and cannot be seen in the shot of Spike lying on the floor. Xander then steps right in front of him, and picks the stake up from where it didn't appear to be a moment before.
          Spotted by Sam.

  • Numerous people noticed that again (see Goofs in "Something Blue"), the rat used to "portray" Amy is a male. Perhaps male rats are better performers. ;-)
          First spotted for this episode by Anne Thompson-Welch.

  • Some people think there are two other goofs: one, that Spike is first wearing shorts but is wearing jeans when they go to the high school. However, the gang stopped at Giles' for a bit, and he could have either borrowed some of Giles' or put on some of his own that he left there. Two, that there are various goofs/logical fallacies/physical impossibilities with the whole Buffy-jumping-into-Hellmouth-Riley-pulling-her-out thing. Most or all of it can be explained away with just a little effort, and none of it bothers us, so we're not including any of it. (Except for this part that says we're not including it.)

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  • Marc Blucas has been added to the opening credits as of this episode.

  • Buffy states that she's a Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius (see References), which confirms that her birthdate is somewhere between the 17th and the 20th of January of 1981 (most likely the 18th or 19th). This corresponds to the fact that her birthday episodes usually air that week (on Jan. 19th seasons two and three; this year's birthday episode, "A New Man," was originally scheduled to air on the 18th, but was pushed back to the 25th for reasons unknown to us). This should prove to the naysayers that her birthday really is in January, and the October 24 thing in "I Robot, You Jane" was a big ol' goof, as we have been saying all along!

  • The Initiative's official term for the demons they catch is "Hostile Sub-Terrestrials."

  • Xander has another new job. This week he is delivering pizzas.

  • Porter (as in the dorm that holds the Aftershock Party) is another UC Santa Cruz college, brought to us by UCSC graduate Marti Noxon (the others mentioned have been Kresge, as in Parker's dorm, and Stevenson, as in Buffy's dorm; see the Notes in "Living Conditions" for more info). UC Sunnydale's Porter is a heavy party dorm.

  • Percy is attending USC on a football scholarship. Cordelia was also accepted to USC, but couldn't afford to attend (revealed in "Choices").

  • Riley says that the Vahrall demon is "not a capture, it's a kill," meaning that they don't capture all their specimens alive for experimenting. Of course, it's quite possible that they still do autopsies and research on the ones they kill.

  • When Willow is explaining to Spike why he's not scary (the clothes, the fact that he can't bite), the captioning says, "Please. Leave a bloke a shred, will you? (Spike, presumably.) I'm sorry. It's just not right. Besides, you still haven't told Buffy everything about the commandos. (Willow, presumably.)"

  • Buffy says that Riley is a Psychology graduate student, which would mean that he already has a Bachelor's degree (presumably in Psychology), and that he's at least 21, more likely 22 or 23.

  • Forrest tells Riley that he "don't got game," which is interesting because Leonard Roberts was in the 1998 movie He Got Game.

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  • Hellacopters - "Hey" (From Payin' the Dues, Sub Pop, 1999)
      This is the first song playing at the aftershock party, when Willow is standing around alone and then talking to Percy.

  • Echobelly - "Mouth Almighty" (From Lustra, Sony, 1997)
      This song is playing when Willow overhears Percy calling her a nerd.
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Well, first of all, congratulations Marc Blucas on your ascension to the demigod status that is being a Buffy regular. We know that you have your dissenters that think it should be "Buffy and Angel 4 Eva," but we're behind you (and I think Jamie might have yet another reason for wanting to be behind you). James Marsters was, as always, a bag full of big bad, uh... goodness (now that's an oxymoron if I ever heard one). However, a couple of reviews ago when I said that I wish you would get some new threads, going through Xander's closest wasn't exactly what I had in mind. The dialogue and acting for this episode was good, but with arguably the three best writers on board for this episode, I was expecting a much better story. Having three writers working on the script now seems to have been the problem. We all enjoyed that this episode picked up with Buffy and Riley right where we left them. I can't think of any other show that would be willing to do this, except for perhaps a soap opera or two (and that's not intended as an insult). Overall, I wasn't impressed by this episode, but liked the character development of both Riley and Spike. (7.5/10)
Jamie Marie:
Not bad. Not overwhelmingly good, but not bad. As usual, I have a few issues. OK, three students leave the party, and we see a demon's hand grip the door, as though he's going to enter the party. Instead, we find him down the hall, killing the naked limbo guy. Then we have Willow entering a stranger's dorm and inviting herself in to lay down on his bed. Yeah, OK, she's sad, but she couldn't have just sat on the floor? Oh, right, then she wouldn't have been in bed with a dead guy. Which, granted, was an enjoyably disgusting thing, but still. Then there's Buffy, finding out the world is going to end, and what does she do? She heroically grabs her crossbow and announces, "I stop it!" Haven't we seen that before? She sure gets off on this hero stuff sometimes, doesn't she? And then there's the jeans thing. Spike is wearing shorts, and then he's wearing jeans. Now we can't goof this because he could easily have put them on at Giles' house — in fact, they could even be his own jeans that he left there. But why wouldn't he have put jeans on in the first place? Sure, we can make some decent excuses (it's hot in Xander's basement, Xander's jeans were dirty), but really it's because that wouldn't be as funny. Oh, and what was with Giles/ASH's voice in his first scene? Did anyone else think he sounded like a cartoon voice-over or something? Anyhow, it wasn't all bad; I did enjoy it well enough. Plenty of Riley for me, including in the credits (I knew all those promo pics weren't for nothing!), and I for one agreed with his comments to Buffy (with the possible exception of the self-involved thing, but she can be sometimes, so I'll let it slide). Plus, logic aside, Spike in Xander's clothes was a hilarious sight, and his performance at the end was great. It was also interesting to have a side-by-side view of how differently the Initiative and the Scooby Gang approach the same task. The Initiative would never think of researching occult books or going to the magic shop; it's interesting that they fight the same things that Buffy does and still don't have any idea what really goes on. Anyhow, like I said, not bad, but not great. (And the extra .75 is a bonus for picking up right where "Hush" left off — I really wasn't counting on it.) (7.75/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
January 18, 2000 3.5 90 of 136 (tie)
April 11, 2000 2.4 99 of 137 (tie)
August 22, 2000 1.8 93 of 128 (tie)

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