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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
The Harsh Light of Day
October 19, 1999
4ABB03

 
Credits

Writer:
Jane Espenson


Director:
James A. Contner


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
James Marsters as Spike
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Mercedes McNab as Harmony
Adam Kaufman as Parker
Cast:
Jason Hall as Devon
Melix as Bryan

 
Synopsis

Spike is back, with Harmony at his side, searching for a gem that will make him invincible. He finds it, but Buffy gets it away from him and decides to send it to Angel. Meanwhile, Buffy decides to do the dirty deed with Parker, thinking he has great boyfriend potential, but is let down when he turns out to be just another bad guy (not demonic, just sleazy). More meanwhile — Anya's back in town, and convinces Xander that they should have sex so she can get him off her mind. They do, but it doesn't.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Dialogue to Die For

Anya (to Xander, regarding sex): "I think it's the secret to getting you out of my mind. Putting you behind me. Behind me figuratively — I'm thinking face to face for the event itself."

Anya (to Xander): "I like you. You're funny and you're nicely shaped, and frankly it's ludicrous to have these interlocking bodies and not... interlock. Please remove your clothing now."

Buffy (to Willow): "So what I'm wondering is: does this always happen? Sleep with a guy and he goes all evil?"

More quotes from this episode...

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References

  • Giles (about the Gem of Amara): "It's not real. It's like the vampire equivalent of the Holy Grail."
  • The Holy Grail, according to some legends of the Middle Ages, was the cup used by Jesus in dispensing the wine at the last supper; and according to others, the platter on which the paschal lamb was served at the last Passover observed by Christ. The Grail, and the quest for it, has been the subject of a great amount of medieval legend and allegory. According to one account, Joseph of Arimathea preserved the Grail and received in it some of Christ's blood at the Crucifixion. He brought it to England, where it disappeared. According to others it was brought by angels from heaven and entrusted to a body of knights who guarded it on top of a mountain. When approached by anyone not of perfect purity it vanished. Its quest became the source of many of the adventures of the Knights of the Round Table.

  • Xander (to Anya, on the fact that she's dreamt about him): "Really? You know, if I'm in the checkout lane at the Wal-Mart I've had the same one."
  • Wal-Mart is a huge chain of stores in the U.S. selling everything from basic food items to guns to clothes to televisions.

  • Harmony: "Is Antonio Banderas a vampire?"
    Spike: "No."
    Harmony: "Oh. Can I make him a vampire?"
    Spike: "No. ... Wait, on second thought, yeah, go do that. Take your time. Do Melanie and the kids as well."
  • Antonio BanderasAntonio Banderas is a notoriously handsome actor (and producer and director). He did play a vampire (Armand) in 1994's Interview with a Vampire. "Melanie" is Melanie Griffith, his celebrity-actress wife, known for her squeaky voice. Though Griffith has three children, only one of them was fathered by Banderas.

  • Spike (to Harmony): "I love syphilis more than you."
  • Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (usually; it can be transmitted other ways), characterized mostly by lesions on the skin. The disease is generally treated with penicillin, but if not treated can cause damage to the central nervous system and insanity, along with other fun and fatal problems.

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Continuity

  • Graduation Day, Part Two

    Harmony mentions the "big snake" at graduation, referring to the Mayor's demon form in that episode. Also, Harmony was bitten by a vampire during the ensuing riot in the episode, and must have been vamped (offscreen) shortly afterwards. Xander also mentions the snake. Also, the scar Parker notices on Buffy's neck is most likely from when Angel fed off of Buffy in GD2.

  • Prophecy Girl

    When Buffy tells Parker that she once drowned, she's referring to when the Master bit her and then dropped her into a pool of water, causing her to drown.

  • Graduation Day, Part One

    Xander says the last time he saw Anya, she was fleeing in terror, which she did in GD1 (after trying to get Xander to come with her).

  • The Prom

    Xander refers to his and Anya's only date, which was the prom.

  • The Wish

    Xander reminds Anya that she used to be "a man-killing demon," which she was in "The Wish" (that was also the episode in which she lost her powers and became trapped in the body of a teenage girl).

  • Lovers Walk

    When Harmony reminds Spike that he almost killed Willow last year, she is presumably referring to when he kidnapped Willow (and Xander) in "Lovers Walk." Also, Buffy asks Spike if Drusilla left him again. She asks this because the last time he came to town, he was despondent over Dru having left him for a Chaos demon.

  • The Zeppo and Consequences

    When Xander says that Anya's "come on" is still more romantic than Faith's, he is referring to one or both of his interludes with Faith — their one night stand in "The Zeppo," and/or when she tried to strangle him after throwing him on her bed and kissing him in "Consequences."

  • "School Hard" — Spike gets his ass kicked at Sunnydale High by Buffy and Joyce.
    "Halloween" — Spike gets his ass kicked in a warehouse by Buffy.
    "What's My Line Part 2" — Spike gets his ass kicked by Buffy, Kendra and the gang in the old church.
    Thanks to Mathew for looking those up.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Considering that Oz only knows sixth-grade first aid (as he states in this weeks episode of Angel, "In the Dark"), he sure can clean and bandage a wound quickly. He's cleaning Willow's owie in her dorm, the camera leaves them for a second, and when it comes back to them he's got the Band-Aid on her already — way too quickly.

  • When Harmony tells Buffy that Drusilla left Spike for a fungus demon, her hair is all behind her shoulders, but in the quick-cut next shot, some of it is in front of her left shoulder.
           Spotted by Mathew.

  • There is some concern over the fact that Xander just says "come in" when Anya knocks on the door of his basement (seeing as she could have been a vampire). It would seem that she is coming from outside (and therefore could not have already been invited in), because she says, "Your mother sent me around from the front of the house." Plus, the stairs behind Xander presumably lead to the indoors entrance. The only argument could be that it doesn't look like the outdoors behind her in the doorway. Of course, he also sleeps outside sometimes, which is not too bright either.

  • The necklace Spike put on may not have been the Gem of Amara, but it apparently had some powers of its own. Spike rips it off and tosses it aside, but a moment later it's back around his neck. When he leaves the crypt, it's gone again.

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Notes

  • Buffy has a scar from when Angel fed off of her.

  • Buffy and Willow's dorm room is number 214. The number was somewhat visible in the previous season four episodes, but wasn't perfectly clear until now.

  • The frat house (called "Wolf House") seems to be the house of Gamma Alpha Pi, as judged by the Greek letters on the wall. The house across the street is that of Tau Omega Alpha.

  • Drusilla, who first left Spike for a chaos demon ("Lovers Walk"), left him this time for a fungus demon.

  • Parker switched from Pre-Med to History as his major.

  • Buffy and Willow's answering machine recording, spoken by Buffy, says: "Hey, this is Buffy and Willow. We're not in right now, so please leave a message."

  • Sunnydale is sometimes referred to by demons as the "Valley of the Sun."

  • Willow seems to have a new computer — the last one we saw was a laptop, but she now has a desktop in the dorm with a really cool flat screen monitor.

  • According to a British slang dictionary, "bint" (which Spike called Harmony) is a derogatory name for a woman, but is not apparently obscene.

  • As we see in Buffy's yearbook, Harmony's last name is Kendall. Interestingly, the character Sarah Michelle Gellar played on All My Children was named Kendall — perhaps this is a little inside joke.

  • When Xander turns on Giles' TV, it is tuned to the news broadcast on channel 14, the same channel that Joyce and Buffy watched the news on in "Consequences."

  • LoadedThe album that Oz holds up at Giles' place is Loaded, the Velvet Underground's 1970 album.

  • At some point, the gang (except for Xander) found out that Angel was in LA. They may have also known where he lived/worked, since Oz (in the crossover ep. of Angel) seemed to know where to go to find him. Leading us to...

  • The episode of Angel following this episode ("In the Dark") featured both Oz (who brought the ring to Angel and helped Angel, Cordy and Doyle) and Spike (who tried to get the ring from Angel).

  • James Marsters was uncredited in the original airing of this episode (he is later added to the opening credits).

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Music

  • Four Star Mary - "Dilate" (From Thrown to the Wolves, MSG Records, 1999)
      This is the song Dingoes Ate My Baby were performing at the Bronze at the very beginning of the episode.

  • Psychic Rain - "Take Me Down" (From Spun Out, Warner Bros., not yet released)
  • Bif Naked - "Moment of Weakness" (From I Bificus, Atlantic, 1999)
      Bif Naked appears at the frat party; this is the first song we hear her perform.

  • Devil Doll - "Faith in Love" (From Queen of Pain, Lucky Bluebird Records, 2001)
      This song plays as Harmony lures Spike into bed with her and they begin to make love.

  • Bif Naked - "Anything" (From I Bificus, Atlantic, 1999)
      Bif is performing this song when Buffy goes back into the frat party to find Parker.

  • Bif Naked - "Lucky" (From the BtVS Soundtrack, TVT Records, 1999; and I Bificus, Atlantic, 1999)
      This song plays when Buffy and Parker dance, and continues to play while they have sex.

  • Dollshead - "It's Over, It's Under" (From Frozen Charlotte, MCA, 1998)
      This song plays while Buffy is looking for Spike and Harmony.
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Comments

Jeremy:
OK, I never thought that I would say this, but I think there might have been too much sex in this one. Is that possible? Sure, it always seems like Buffy is getting the short end of the stick whenever she tries to have sex, but what about Xander? Does he ever face any consequences because of it? Of course, I don't blame him. I do believe that there is something in a man's genetic code that doesn't allow us to say no to sex. He did try at least, so I congratulate him on that. This is a plea now to all of Buffy's writers: make sure that we, the viewers, see that Buffy is using a condom. Sure, with Angel I guess it didn't matter because he was dead, but that's a whole other story... Of course, I'm not saying that some 14-year old girl is going to think to herself "Buffy doesn't use condoms, I guess I don't need to," but anything we can do to reinforce safe-sex is good thing. Now off of my soapbox and back to the episode. Spike's return was again nothing short of spectacular, and I'm glad that he's no longer with Dorkus, I mean Drusilla. Don't get me wrong, I like Juliet Landau as an actress, but I could never stand her character. All in all, a great episode, and I can't wait to see more of Spike, but I think we need a more mysterious villain this season as well. Spike with the gem would have made a great villain for the season. (8/10)
Jamie Marie:
Another great episode. I'm liking this season, and I'm glad. I have to admit, I didn't really believe the spoilers about Harmony and Spike being a couple, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was true. I would have expected it to be very strange, but instead it was very funny. Spike was so mean to her that she actually seemed sweet and adorable in comparison. Aside from being way more amused by her than I ever was when she was human, I actually felt sorry for the girl. Not even Harmony deserved to be treated that way. I hope they keep her around for a bit, showing up here and there; it's not too often that we get to see whiny, shallow little girl vampires — or new vampires, for that matter — they're usually killed within an episode of being vamped. And unlike a huge majority of fans, I was not particularly upset about Buffy's encounter with Parker. Most are simply concerned that she's "over" Angel already — says who? Did she say that? No. Did she tell Parker she loved him? No. She had sex with him. Oh sure, in an ideally romantic and "moral" world, that's what sex is all about, but let's not delude ourselves. Sometimes sex is just sex (see Anya's Dialogue to Die For about the interlocking bodies). I'm not saying she was out for a one night stand; she obviously wasn't. She did think that something was developing with Parker. But she was attracted to him, and his lines helped to convince her to just run with that attraction. Okay, so it was probably a mistake, but the girl is human, let's not forget that. And speaking of Anya (a couple sentences ago), I enjoyed her character much more than I did last season. Maybe it's the darker hair, or maybe it's Jane Espenson's writing. Whatever the cause, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole Anya/Xander thing, and I hope it keeps trudging along. It's got real potential. And, lastly, I'm going to share with you my (and Jeremy's) theory about Parker (this is not a spoiler, it's merely speculation): he is Allan Finch's son. All of last summer's spoilers referred to him as Parker Finch (and IMDb still does). He said that his father died last year (ok, he could have made that up, but we think he was just using the truth to get some play). And, since Buffy was with Faith when she killed Finch, there could be a very good episode born out of this. Here's hoping. If not, then we figure that the original plan may have been to reveal him as Finch's son, (hence the original name of Parker Finch), but it got scrapped. Anyway, overall, a very good episode. The only drawback was the whole Gem of Amara thing, which had great potential, but was not done quite right, in my opinion — especially on the crossover ep. of Angel. One big thing: why make it so damn easy to get it off of someone? (8.5/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
October 19, 1999 3.4 93 of 139
January 4, 2000 2.9 93 of 138 (tie)
August 1, 2000 1.9 98 of 138 (tie)

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