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Join Comixology Unlimited to read BtVS comics — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
December 14, 1999


Joss Whedon

Joss Whedon

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
James Marsters as Spike
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Leonard Roberts as Forrest Gates
Phina Oruche as Olivia
Amber Benson as Tara
Lindsay Crouse as Professor Maggie Walsh
Brooke Bloom as Wanna Blessed Be
Jessica Townsend as Wanna Blessed Be
Camden Toy as Gentleman
Charlie Brumbly as Gentleman
Doug Jones as Gentleman
Don W. Lewis as Gentleman
Carlos Amezcua as Newscaster
Elizabeth Truax as Little Girl
Wayne Sable as Freshman


A group of demons called the Gentlemen come to Sunnydale and steal everyone's voices, then set out to steal their hearts as well (literally, not figuratively). About half of this excellent episode takes place in almost total silence, as the gang tries to figure out how to save the day. In the end, Buffy and Riley end up fighting the Gentlemen together, thereby letting their secrets out of the bag. The next day, Riley comes over to talk, but the two just sit in awkward silence.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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The Gentlemen The Gentlemen are "fairy tale monsters" who come to a town, steal everyone's voices, and take the hearts of seven people — and not just any people; they seem a little picky. It's not revealed what happens if they get seven hearts. The monsters can be killed by the sound of a scream. From what we can tell, they are fictional (as in, there's no fairy tale about them). The heaviest influences would appear to be Nosferatu, "The Strangers" in Dark City, and Tim Burton's visual style. Joss himself said, in an interview at Ultimate TV, "They (the Gentlemen) came from many storybooks and many silent movies and many horror movies and many nightmares and Mr. Burns (from The Simpsons). There's a little bit of Mr. Burns." Also of note, Chris Beck's score is very much in the vein of Danny Elfman (who did one song for the BtVS movie, and who has worked quite a bit with Tim Burton).

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Body Count

Dorm Dweller
Heart cut out by The Gentlemen.
Gentlemen's Goon
Neck snapped by Buffy in a residential area.
Three Gentlemen
Screamed at by Buffy in the clock tower.
Total: Five clear on-screen deaths (plus, obviously, at least three more Gentlemen, five more Goons, and four more victims)
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Dialogue to Die For

Riley: "So tell me about your dream. As a Psych major, I'm qualified to go, 'hmmm.'"

Anya: "This isn't a relationship; you don't need me! All you care about is lots of orgasms."
(Giles and Spike stare at them.)
Xander: "OK, remember how we talked about private conversations? How they're less private when they're in front of my friends?"
Spike: "Oh, we're not your friends; go on."

Giles: "I have a friend who's coming to town, and I'd like us to be alone."
Anya: "Oh, you mean an orgasm friend?"
Giles: "Yes, that's exactly the most appalling thing you could've said."

Forrest: "We have a gig that would inevitably cause any girl living to think we are cool upon cool. Yet, we must Clark Kent our way through the dating scene never to use our unfair advantage... thank God we're pretty."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

Riley (in Buffy's dream): "Don't worry. If I kiss you it'll make the sun go down."

    Giles is right — Buffy's brain is an eternal mystery.

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  • Spike: "We're out of Weetabix."
  • WeetabixWeetabix is a breakfast cereal made in the U.K., consisting of flaked wheat pressed together into oblong biscuits — along the lines of Nabisco Shredded Wheat, only soggier in milk (and, obviously, flaked and not shredded). Weetabix also sponsors the Weetabix Women's British Open golf tournament.

  • Wanna Blessed Be #1: "We come together, daughters of Gaia, sisters to the moon."
  • In Greek mythology, Gaia is the mother earth, and the oldest of goddesses. Also, in 1976, Dr. James Lovelock postulated that the planet Earth is a living being. This is known as the Gaia Hypothesis, and its believers, sometimes including Wiccans or Pagans, often refer to humans as the offspring of the Earth (or Gaia).

  • Wanna Blessed Be #2: "OK! Let's talk about our theme for the Bacchanal."
  • Technically, a Bacchanal is defined as a feast or festival in honor of Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and intoxication. We'd surmise that the girls just wanted to use a "witchy" word for party.

  • Willow: "Bunch of wanna blessed be's. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she's a sister to the dark ones."
  • "Blessed be" is a common Wiccan term, basically a wish of goodwill toward someone or something.

    A henna tattoo is a temporary tattoo done with the natural dye from the leaves of the henna shrub.

  • Forrest: "Yet, we must Clark Kent our way through the dating scene never to use our unfair advantage."
  • Yet another Superman reference. Clark Kent was superhero Superman's mild-mannered real world persona, who kept it a secret that he was Superman.

  • A prayer group holds up a chalkboard reading "Revelations 15:1"
  • "And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God."

  • Newscaster: "The Centers for Disease Control have ordered the entire town quarantined."
  • The CDC is a government agency whose mission is, as you might guess, "to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability." Originally named the Communicable Disease Center, the agency changed their name in 1970, and added "and Prevention" to their title in 1992, but still uses the initials CDC.

  • Pink FloydGiles (to Olivia): "Well, no, um, I wasn't actually one of the original members of Pink Floyd, but... but the monster stuff yes."
  • Pink Floyd, formed in London in 1965, is known mostly for their concept albums, such as Dark Side of the Moon, their most successful album.

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  • Doppelgängland and Choices

    Willow says that she wants to float something bigger than a pencil, something we've seen her do twice. She floated one for practice in "Doppelgängland" and she killed a vampire by telekinetically stabbing him with one in "Choices." (Willow and Buffy also mentioned that Willow could float pencils in "Gingerbread," but we hadn't yet seen it.)

  • The Freshman

    Olivia's first (and only, thus far) appearance was in "The Freshman," when Buffy was disturbed to find her at Giles' place wearing nothing but his shirt. She was introduced only as an old friend.

  • Wild at Heart

    The Wicca group that Willow is in (though it appears that she'll probably quit) is the one whose orientation she attended in "Wild at Heart."

  • Something Blue

    Willow mentions her spells going awry and putting her friends in danger, referring to "Something Blue" (the previous episode).

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • When we first see a shot of the clock tower, the time is almost one o'clock. The camera cuts to a shot from inside, looking out at the clock, and the minute hand is pointing to the 40-minute mark. Cut back outside, and it's one o'clock again.

  • It's odd that the Gentlemen start on the second floor of the dorm and then move down to the first floor.

  • As the scene in the lecture hall starts, Anya can be seen sitting down, empty handed, with no sign of popcorn nearby (and no reason for there to be, as they're clearly just entering the room). A moment later, as the camera cuts back, she's apparently pulled a bag of microwave popcorn out of her skirt.

  • In the same scene, Buffy is mostly sitting with one leg up on her seat. But during a few camera switches, her keeps moving down and then up again. Some of the cuts are long enough to argue that she could be squirming around, but some cuts are too quick for that to be feasible.
          Spotted by Diana.

  • Still in the same scene, Buffy holds her message board up to ask how she gets her voice back. When she first holds it up, the marker is in her right hand. After a quick cut away and back, the marker is in its little slot on the message board.
          Spotted by Mark Mills and Marsia.

  • When Spike opens the fridge, the cup of blood is full almost to the brim. He takes it out, and before it even reaches his lips, he tips it so far that if it were that full, it would have spilled onto him before he drank.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • When Riley smashes the bottle near the end of the episode, a chunk of glass lands firmly on top of the box. When he starts to swing at the box, the chunk of glass is gone.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • When the heads start popping, we only get to see three Gentlemen burst (it's probably an expensive trick). Of those three, the right hand one pops and then the left hand one pops. The camera switches angles to focus on the middle one, and the left hand one pops again before the middle one pops.

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  • Joss Whedon received an Emmy nomination for this episode, in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series, in the 52nd Annual Emmy Awards. The episode also received a nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series.

  • This actually has serious goof potential, but we're trying not to be so picky. ;-) The list of Stevenson Hall residents that Tara has printed out is not the same list that Spike looked at in "The Initiative." Some names are missing (maybe they were vamped), this one has more names (more students moved in to take their place?), the names are in a different order (granted, the other list wasn't accurately alphabetized), some students have apparently moved to different rooms, and this list includes phone numbers. We considered that this could be a list of all dorm residents (not just Stevenson), but there is nothing by each name to designate which building they're in. We also considered that Spike's list could have been freshmen only, and this list includes all classes, but that doesn't explain that some names are missing or in different rooms (and you'd think both lists would have phone numbers).

  • Another campus building: Judd. There is a Judd Hall (home of the Psychology Department) at Wesleyan University, Joss Whedon's alma mater. (Thanks to Rose for the tip.)

  • More downtown businesses: Sunnydale Securities Bank and Hank's Jr. Mart (liquor store).

  • Carlos AmezcuaThe newscaster is Carlos Amezcua, an actual newscaster on KTLA's morning news. KTLA is the WB affiliate in Los Angeles. (The call letters of the station the gang is watching appear to be KOUS.) Interestingly, the weatherman from the same news show, Mark Kriski, was the weatherman in "Amends."

  • Giles gets delivery of the Sunnydale Press, the same newspaper we saw in "Bad Girls."

  • The boy killed by the Gentleman is credited as Wayne Sable, but Casey M., who knows him through a friend, informs us that his real name is Wayne Skjoldal.

  • We counted (twice) about 27 1/2 minutes with no human dialogue, not including commercials, despite the fact that the promos promised 29 minutes.

  • Joss stated in an interview at Ultimate TV that he had originally planned for Buffy and Riley to have sex in this episode, while they couldn't speak, but "it became clear that it was too early for that."

  • The song that Giles plays during his transparency lecture, Danse Macabre, is also the theme song for the UK TV show Jonathan Creek. The connection — Anthony Stewart Head played Adam Krauss in the first episode of this series. Joss stated in a post at the official site's posting board that this was a mere coincidence.

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Note: To cut down on bandwidth theft, sound files are password protected. After you click "Listen," just enter the username bg and the password 8rt at the prompt. If the password doesn't work, that probably means it's been changed; refresh/reload this page to get the new one.

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Everything you should expect from a Joss Whedon written and directed episode and more. This is the first episode that truly seemed to be more like a movie than a TV show. I too was worried that an episode with over 25 minutes of silence would be impossible to pull off, but Joss has once again made the impossible possible. This is the episode to get a friend or family member hooked on Buffy. With great acting, special effects, writing, directing, and music, Joss & Co. would be silly not to send this episode for consideration come Emmy time. It would definitely be the best chance to get nominated for one of the larger Emmy categories that we all know they deserve. With an invigorating blend of comedy, drama, suspense, horror, and creativity, how can I not give this episode a perfect score? (10/10)
Jamie Marie:
If I never again hear the phrase, "A special Buffy," I will be a very happy fan. OK, it's special, I get it already! Ugh. Anyhow, this was obviously a truly unique episode ("special," if you will). This will definitely make it onto my mental list of all time favorites — of anything. Joss's best work to date. He should submit this one to the Emmy voters without even a second thought. In fact, this could be submitted for multiple categories: writing, acting, music, make-up, and (especially) directing, at least. Who would have thought that a show with no dialogue for more than half of it could be so hilarious — especially one so well known for its dialogue? The scene in the lecture hall hurled one laugh after another at me, until I was almost looking forward to a commercial, to catch my breath. As for the Gentlemen themselves, I admit that the first time I saw them gliding through the air, Joss almost lost me. But it grew on me, especially after watching their graceful, polite mannerisms and cheerful enthusiasm for their job. I am, of course, mad at Joss for leaving me hanging at the end. It's highly unlikely that we'll ever get to see Buffy and Riley's conversation, unless for some reason we get a flashback of it, and this pains me. It really does. But hey, it's not like Buffy's gonna chase Riley out of town — the guy's doing Buffy promos left and right, after all. Anyhow, a couple of notes/questions. Walsh "says" that the commandos should dress like civilians, because a "military presence" would increase panic. Sure, she could have been using the term loosely, referring to their style and their dress. But she could have also been giving us a little hint about the Initiative's funding and origination. Perhaps they are a government military outfit. Also, Tara mentions that her mom was a witch and had a lot of power. Could it be that somehow Tara and Amy share the same mother? Or is that too obvious and exactly the wrong conclusion that Joss wants us to jump to? Guess we'll see. (10/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
December 14, 1999 4.1 93 of 143
March 21, 2000 3.2 90 of 117 (tie)
June 13, 2000 2.3 93 of 136

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