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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
May 23, 2000


Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon

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:
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Amber Benson as Tara
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Seth Green as Oz
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall
David Wells as Cheese Guy
Michael Harney as Xander's Dad
George Hertzberg as Adam
Sharon Ferguson as Primitive
Phina Oruche as Olivia
Rob Boltin as Soldier


While Riley heads to his Initiative debriefing, the Scooby gang gathers at Buffy's house for a video night. By the time the FBI warning comes on, they're all asleep and dreaming. Their dreams are all pretty wild, exploring fears and fantasies (Willow dreams that her "costume" is ripped off to reveal the true freshman-year nerd underneath; Xander dreams of Willow and Tara dressed rather like hookers and inviting him to... uh, "hang out" with them). But they all have something in common (besides a Cheese Guy popping into each dream) — the first Slayer, cranky after having her power invoked for the gang's enjoining spell, is after them. Buffy, a hero even in dreams, puts a stop to the primeval Slayer's antics, but is left with some thoughts about what Tara said to her in her dream.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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The First Slayer

As Giles states, "Somehow our joining with Buffy and invoking the essence of the Slayer's power [in last week's episode "Primeval"] was an affront to the source of that power." And by affronting the source of that power, the First Slayer was able to haunt the gang in their dreams.

In Xander's dream, Principal Snyder reprised the role of Colonel Kurtz, which Marlon Brando played in Apocalypse Now, eerily well. For more information on Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness, please see the References.

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Dialogue to Die For

Xander: Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell... and then I do a spell by myself.

Anya: OK. A man walks in to the office of a doctor. He's wearing on his head, um, oh wait, there's a duck, is that right?
Guy From Audience: You suck!
Anya: Quiet, you'll miss the humorous conclusion.
(other conversation between Willow, Xander and Giles)
Anya: And then the duck tells the doctor, that there's a man that's attached to my ass! You see, it was the duck and not the man that spoke.

Tara (speaking for the first Slayer): The Slayer does not walk in this world.
Buffy: I walk. I talk. I shop. I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out, and I don't sleep on a bed of bones.

More quotes from this episode...

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  • Riley (about the Initiative): "Having the inside scoop on the administration's own Bay of Mutated Pigs is definitely an advantage."
  • The Bay of Pigs invasion was an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by approximately 1,500 Cuban exiles, backed by the United States, with the intention of overthrowing Fidel Castro's Communist regime. The invasion was approved by President Kennedy and was carried out on April 15, 1961. Castro's troops captured the exiles' last stronghold on April 19, and ransomed the survivors for 53 million dollars worth of food and medicine. The invasion provoked anti-U.S. demonstrations in Latin America and Europe, further embittered U.S.-Cuban relations, and subjected President Kennedy to severe criticism at home.

  • Xander: "And I'm putting in a preemptive bid for Apocalypse Now, heh?"
    Willow: "Did you get anything less Heart of Darkness-y?"
  • Apocalypse Now

    Apocalypse Now is the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola movie starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. Captain Willard (Sheen), whose mission is "terminate with extreme prejudice," receives orders to seek out a renegade military outpost led by a mysterious Colonel Kurtz (Brando) during the Vietnam war. This movie was based on a short story by Joseph Conrad named Heart of Darkness.

  • The Greek writing on Tara's back is the beginning of a poem by Sappho. You can read the full English translation at this site (once there, click on "the ancient Greek" toward the bottom of the page to view the whole poem in Greek).
          Thanks to Eve for the info and link.

  • Willow: "This isn't Madame Butterfly, is it?"
  • Madame Butterfly is an opera by Giacomo Puccini. For those unfamiliar with the story, it tells of a self-absorbed American naval officer named Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton who buys a 15-year old geisha, Cio-Cio- San (a.k.a. "Butterfly"), to be his "Japanese wife." From the beginning, Pinkerton has no intention of staying with Butterfly — he is using her as temporary amusement, a bit of comfort in a foreign port. Despite being enchanted by her quiet, fragile beauty, he has no difficulty abandoning her at the first opportunity. Yet, even after Pinkerton has been gone for three years, Butterfly awaits his return, confident that he loves her as much as she loves him.

  • Giles: "... I know this will be the best production of Death of a Salesman we've ever done."
  • This 1949 play by Arthur Miller is about an aging traveling salesman who recognizes the emptiness of his life and commits suicide. I don't remember any cowboys or milk maidens in the version I saw, however. wink

  • Willow: "This summer I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe."
  • The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

    The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe is a book by C.S. Lewis (book two of the Chronicles of Narnia) about four kids who make their way through an attic wardrobe and end up in Narnia, a magical land of mythical creatures. But Narnia is not perfect: it's always winter but never Christmas since the White Witch began her rule. Only the return of the lion god Aslan can bring victory in the coming battle to win spring and freedom back for Narnia.

  • Joyce: "I made some lemonade, and I'm learning how to play Mahjong."
  • Mahjong is a Chinese game over two thousand years old. It is played with 144 tiles of various suits and ranks and became very popular in the US in the 1920's.

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  • New Moon Rising and Primeval

    Riley's issues with the Initiative (the reason he hopes to get an honorable discharge) are mainly due to his having helped Oz escape in "New Moon Rising," as well as due to his involvement with Buffy. The debriefing he's going to was mentioned by the Washington guys last week in "Primeval." Also in regards to "Primeval" were the many references to the enjoining spell done last week, in which the gang — by calling on the power of the first Slayer — all became part of Buffy in order to defeat Adam.

  • The Yoko Factor

    Willow and Tara's kitten, Miss Kitty Fantastico, made her debut in "The Yoko Factor" (though Tara suggested getting a kitten in "New Moon Rising"). Tara mentioned in TYF that they need to find her a "real name," which they apparently haven't done yet (assuming that this part of Willow's dream is based in reality, which it probably is).

  • Nightmares

    Willow is concerned that she's going to have to do Madame Butterfly — she was forced to perform from the opera in a nightmare sequence in "Nightmares." (See References.)

  • Graduation Day, Part 2

    Xander's reference to Principal Snyder about being eaten by a snake (the Mayor, after his ascension) happened in this episode. Also, the clock in Buffy's dream reads 7:30, which is a likely reference to Buffy's dream in GD2, in which Faith mentioned "counting down from seven-three-oh." As for what it may mean — sorry, but we've got no more answers or theories than you yourself could probably come up with.

  • This Year's Girl

    In her dream, Buffy says that she and Faith just made the bed. This is actually a reference to Faith's dream in "This Year's Girl," in which the two made the bed with crisp white sheets.

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  • Unlike most episodes, this week's episode aired the "Previously" montage, then the credits, then the first scene, then the first set of commercials. (Usually, it goes "Previously" montage, first scene, credits, commercials.)

  • The outfit Willow wears in her dream, after Buffy rips off her "costume," is the same outfit she wore in "Welcome to the Hellmouth."

  • The following is the French-dubbed scene of Xander's dream, from the shooting script:

    GILES (in English)
    The others have all gone ahead. Now listen carefully. Your life may depend on what I am about to tell you. You need to get to --
    (switch to French)
    the house where we're all sleeping. All your friends are there having a wonderful time and getting on with their lives. The creature can't hurt you there.

    What? Go Where? I don't understand.

    GILES (still dubbed in French)
    Oh for God's sake, this is no time for your idiotic games!

    Anya rushes to them, worried. And dubbed.

    ANYA (dubbed in French)
    Xander! You have to come with us now! Everybody's waiting for you!

    GILES (still dubbed in French)
    That's what I've been trying to tell him.

    Honey, I don't -- I can't hear you...

    Anya grabs his arm, starts dragging him.

    ANYA (dubbed in French)
    It's not important. I'll take you there.

    Well, wait. Where are we going?

          Thanks to Rayne, owner of The Buffy Shooting Script Site, where you can also find the complete shooting script of this episode. :-)

  • Information on the French dubbing, from Joss himself at the Bronze (the posting board at the old official site): "At the last minute I dragged my assistant DIEGO in to read it. He's Mexican, speaks a little French (yeah, he's trilingual, which for someone as barely unilingual as myself is both annoying and annoying) and he was reading off a script so it may not have sounded perfect to some but the effect was just great for the dream. Now y'know."
          You can find more of Joss' postings at The Bronze VIP Posting Board Archives .

  • More from Joss at the Bronze: "The cheese man means nothing. He is the only thing in the show that means nothing. I needed something like that, something that couldn't be explained, because dreams always have that one element that is just RIDICULOUS. Thus, man of cheese. Plus funny. (to me)"

  • Of interest: When Giles sings at the Bronze, Christophe Beck (the BtVS composer) and Four Star Mary (the real band behind Dingoes Ate My Baby) are the fellows onstage with him (Chris Beck is on piano). They also recorded the actual music with Anthony Stewart Head on vocals. For the curious, Chris himself has said (in the Bronze) that his appearance was not the result of the Chris Beck Cameo Committee which some of you may remember.

  • In Xander's dream, Snyder tells him his time is running out. He says, "No I'm just trying to get away. There's something I can't fight." However, the captioning says, "No, I'm in my prime. This is prime time."

  • Some linkage for you — to read some interesting thoughts on the gang's dreams, check out typical het boy's Restless Exegetics and Swoop's Dream Thesis.

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  • Anthony Stewart Head with Chris Beck and Four Star Mary - "The Exposition Song" (not available for purchase)
      This is the song Giles sings onstage during his dream. Music and lyrics written by Joss Whedon. See Notes above for more info.
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Wow! Did you catch all those hidden metaphors and meanings? I did. You know, like in the one part of everybody's dreams with the cheese guy, Giles eating an apple (you know, an apple!), and his finding of the pocket watch, the clock reading 7:30, "be back before dawn" ... ahhh, who am I kidding, they went soaring over my head so far the 747's better watch that they don't get sucked into the turbines. Despite my utter lack of understanding of this episode, it was enjoyable to watch. I've had a few theories about certain things that Jamie was able to shoot down immediately. Joss, I think you've been reading too many "How to Analyze your Dreams" books. (And I thought my mind was twisted.) The cinematography of this episode was fantastic, especially the green tinted portion of Xander's dream, Miss Kitty Fantastico walking towards the camera, and Buffy walking onto the desert. As far as this being a season finale though, I think it opened up too many questions rather than letting some things be wrapped up. It was nice to have the big battle with the big bad be the episode before this one, leaving Joss able to experiment in his own sick and twisted ways. (I think he was able to live up to that, but oddly enough the episode didn't involve any walruses (walri?) or sexually-confused showers. Nevermind that, I think I may have been hanging out in our forums too much.) I thought that now that school was over, I could not think for a good three months, but Joss just had to mess that up for me, didn't he? (9/10)
Jamie Marie:
Now, this seems to be a popular episode, but the minority who don't like it really don't like it, judging by some of the emails we've received. Some of you just don't understand it, which is fair. But there's some stuff I don't understand either, and I still like it. Indeed, in a sense, I don't really want to understand all of it — I'm afraid I'll discover too many hints for next season if I think too hard, and I don't actually want that right now. I'm quite satisfied to simply enjoy it, without trying to deconstruct every last bit of each dream. Some of you just don't like that it's not a "normal" season ender, and you wish "Primeval" had been the finale. But that's the whole point — it's not supposed to be a normal finale. Joss wanted to try something new again, and I bow to him for it. Why does everything have to be the same every year on every show? Where's the fun in that? But, as usual, to each their own. Anyway, I found it quite a joy to be treated to this peek into the minds of the gang — sure, there are similarities to "Nightmares" and even "Fear, Itself," but this was much better than either of those, and much more creative. Joss went to town with this one, and I love him for it. His directing and the visuals were top notch; my eyes enjoyed the episode greatly. :-) I guess I'm inclined to favor the daringly different episodes (a la "Hush"), but I'm giving this another perfect score to add to Joss' record. (10/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
May 23, 2000 3.2 77 of 124 (tie)
September 19, 2000 2.2 80 of 118
December 26, 2000 1.9 97 of 135 (tie)

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