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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
October 15, 2002


Rebecca Rand Kirshner

Rick Rosenthal

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Guest Stars:
Azura Skye as Cassie Newton
Zachary Bryan as Peter
Glenn Morshower as Cassie's Father
Rick Gonzalez as Tough Student
Kevin Christy as Josh
Sarah Hagan as Amanda
Jarrett Lennon as Tattle Tale (Locker 281)
DB Woodside as Principal Wood
J Barton as Mike Helgenburg
Daniel Dehring as Red Robed #1
AJ Wedding as Red Robed #2
Marcie Lynn Ross as Dead Woman


As Buffy begins actual work at Sunnydale High, Willow visits Tara's grave for the first time. At the school, Buffy meets Cassie Newton, a girl who tells Buffy that she won't graduate high school because she's going to die on Friday. Buffy initially thinks she's referring to suicide or a death threat she's received, but it becomes apparent that somehow, Cassie simply knows that she's going to die. Buffy sets out to prove her wrong, and she and the gang work together to solve the mystery, with Dawn befriending Cassie and the others doing research. On Friday, a group of boys at the high school prepare to use Cassie as their sacrifice to a demon, in exchange for great riches. Buffy successfully saves Cassie from being murdered, but just a few minutes later, Cassie falls to the floor, dead from a heart irregularity. Later, the gang sits in the Summers' living room, and Dawn cries over the loss of her new friend as they all mull over the fact that sometimes, there's nothing you can do to help.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Avilas Peter and his red robed friends summon the demon Avilas, who will supposedly give them infinite riches in return for a human sacrifice. Avilas is very big and ugly, and he apparently can't handle being set on fire.

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Body Count

Anonymous Vampire
Staked by Buffy in a funeral home.
Set on fire by Buffy in the school library.
Cassie Newton
Died naturally from a heart problem, in the school.
Total: Three
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Dialogue to Die For

Josh: "I'm worried that I'm gay."
Buffy: "Okay, first of all, I... I think it's great that you would come and talk to me about this. And second of all, you should know that there is nothing shameful about being gay, nothing."
Josh: "I-I know, it's just, I'm not positive, so uh, I was thinking that, why don't you go on a-a date with me so I can be sure?" (He grins.)

Xander: "Poems. Always a sign of pretentious inner turmoil."

Peter: "Help! Help me please, I'm bleeding!"
Buffy: "Sorry. My office hours are ten to four."

More quotes from this episode...

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  • Xander: "It's not the friendliest jingle, is it? It's no 'I like Ike' or 'Milk, it does a body good.'"
  • "I Like Ike" was the campaign slogan of General Dwight David Eisenhower during the presidential elections of 1952 ("Ike" was his nickname). He won, becoming the 34th president of America, and staying on for a second term. For a complete biography, try Eisenhower or Eisenhower: Soldier and President

    "Milk, it does a body good" was the slogan of America's National Dairy Board in the 1980s.

  • Willow places stones on Tara's tombstone.
  • This is a Jewish custom, to honor the dead and indicate that someone has been to visit the grave. More information can be found here or here.
          Thanks to Rebecca and ephraim.

  • Cassie Newton
  • Cassie's name is almost certainly a reference to the classical Cassandra. Cassandra was the most beautiful of the daughters of the king and queen of Troy. She was given the gift of prophecy by the god Apollo, who wished to seduce her. When she accepted his gift but refused his sexual advances, he deprived her prophecies of the power to persuade; henceforth no one ever believed her predictions. More information can be found here or here.

  • Buffy (to Cassie) "... you can join the French Foreign Legion, or anything you want."
  • The French Foreign Legion is a military formation serving as a branch of the regular Armed Forces of France, but it differs from other military units by accepting foreigners from any country in the world into its ranks. The Legion was founded in 1831 and is composed exclusively of unmarried male volunteers aged between 18 and 40; about 8500 in all. All Legionnaires must sign a contract for 5 years unconditional service upon joining the Legion; only after that may they leave. The Legion has been involved in several wars involving Algeria, a sometime part of the French Empire.

    Slaughterhouse Five
  • Cassie is reading Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
  • Slaughterhouse Five is a novel in which the main character, Billy Pilgrim, becomes "unstuck" from time, and experiences his life in a non-linear manner. Billy visits his own death on numerous occassions and is no longer frightened by it, but rather comes to accept it. At one point, Billy is kidnapped by an alien race that has no concept of time; they see the future, past, and present in the same way, but cannot change it.

  • Willow (about Cassie): "Do you really think she's some kind of pre-cog?"
  • This seems to be a reference to the 2002 Steven Spielberg/Tom Cruise movie Minority Report, in which 3 "pre-cogs" (precognitive), telepaths able to foresee future murders, were used to prevent the crimes before they happened.

  • Willow (about Cassie): "Have you Google'd her yet?"
  • Google is perhaps the most popular and powerful search engine (a site into which certain keywords can be entered, and the site will bring back lists of websites which contain or are relevant to those keywords) on the internet. It is loved by many for continuing to provide useful results in a simple interface. Founded in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, with one million dollars initial investment from friends, family and other investors (including one of the founders of Sun Microsystems), Google is currently one of the few internet businesses reporting a profit. The name is derived from Googol, which is the figure 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

    Doogie and Vinnie
  • Willow: "You join chat rooms, you write poetry, you post Doogie Howser fanfic."
  • Doogie Howser, M.D. was an ABC sitcom that ran from 1989 to 1993. Doogie Howser (Neil Patrick Harris), was the title character, a boy genius and doctor at the age of 16.

  • Cassie: "I'd love to ice skate, at Rockefeller Center."
  • Completed in 1934, Rockefeller Center is a collection of 19 commercial buildings occupying 49th to 52nd Streets, Fifth to Seventh Avenues in Manhattan. It is named after the multi-millionaire John D. Rockefeller, who had it built. An ice-skating rink was opened there on Christmas day in 1936, which attracts over a quarter of a million skaters each year.

  • Cassie wears a t-shirt spouting The White Stripes.
  • The White Stripes, formed in 1997, are a two-piece rock band from Detroit; Meg White on drums and Jack White on guitar. You can find their official site here.

  • Principal Wood: "Thank god it's Friday. I can't believe I just said that."
  • "Thank god it's Friday," abbreviated as "TGIF," is a common American saying, which obviously represents relief that the end of the work week (or school week) has arrived. The phrase lent itself to the restaurant chain T.G.I. Friday's, and ABC used it to advertise their Friday night lineup for quite some time.

  • Buffy: "I bet it's because you forgot the boombox playing some heavy metal thing, like... Blue Clam Cult?"
  • This is a reference to Blue Öyster Cult, a heavy metal band formed in New York in the late 1960s, best known for their hit "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." You can find their official site here.

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  • Same Time, Same Place

    Dawn hopes Willow isn't under her feet in another time dimension, referring to last week, when Willow and the gang existed separately from each other and were repeatedly in the same time at the same place without being aware of the other's presence.

  • Beneath You

    Xander comments on this season's apparent theme of foreboding, which was first spoken in "Beneath You" — "From beneath you, it devours."

  • Seeing Red

    Willow visits Tara's grave for the first time; Tara was Willow's girlfriend who was murdered by a stray bullet last season.

  • Prophecy Girl

    Buffy says she doesn't usually get a heads-up before someone dies, "Not since—". She may be thinking of the heads-up she got about her own death in "Prophecy Girl" (luckily, Xander revived her with CPR).

  • Reptile Boy

    The sub-plot of this episode is similar to "Reptile Boy", in which a group of fraternity brothers regularly sacrificed young girls to huge snake demon Machida in the basement of their fraternity house, receiving wealth and power in return.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Buffy tells Peter that her parents "split up when [she] was little." But it's been established ("Nightmares") that they divorced when she was 15, and separated a short while before that. "Little" seems a questionable way to describe it, as she was probably 14 (or even 15) at the time of their separation.
          Spotted by Sara.

  • It's a little odd that Cassie says she's going to die "next Friday," considering that she meant the Friday two days later (as the Cassie storyline seems to cover Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of that week). Normally in that situation one would say "this Friday" or simply "Friday."

  • On Friday, Buffy is shown at work, and Principal Wood specifically states that it's Friday (and the shooting script does clarify "The day of Cassie's predicted death"). Then we get a montage which includes a shot of the gang researching, at night, wearing outfits we haven't seen in this episode. After the montage, it's back at school, where it's still Friday. Now (follow me here), the shooting script does say that this is a montage of the past few days, so the nighttime research shot was a flashback — but five work/school days have already been accounted for (and the episode is clearly taking place over the course of just one school week), so this would be an extra day (or a day on which every character changed clothes halfway through the day for no reason) and thus is a goof.

  • In the same montage mentioned previously, Dawn is shown hanging out with Cassie and Mike. At first, it looks like the scene is taking place on the Friday, but they're wearing different outfits than they're wearing in the "definitely Friday" scenes, so it must be a flashback. But, this adds up to four outfits for Dawn (and Cassie, if you include her solid black shirt in her other scene in the same montage) over the course of three days. Basically, the BtVS team seems to think there are six days in the school week. tongue

  • Peter goes to the charred demon and practically kneels over it, then it sits up and bites him (without lunging), so Peter is obviously right next to the demon. But when we see the demon explode, Peter isn't in the shot at all, though a couple of feet are shown on all sides of the demon. Then, Peter is shown sitting immediately next to the charred spot on the floor where the demon was. This seems questionable.

  • The guy who set up the booby trap apparently isn't that smart — he apparently designed it so that if someone opened the left hand door, an arrow would shoot at the right hand door. While this is great if they happen to have a friend standing there (a la Buffy and Cassie), it wouldn't work so well for someone who was alone.

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  • On Tara's headstone, her date of death is shown as May 7, 2002, the date that "Seeing Red" aired. Her birthdate is shown as October 16, 1980. This is about three weeks before "Family" (the Season 5 episode containing Tara's 20th birthday) aired. (This shouldn't really be considered a goof, since it's fairly close, and no conflicting date was actually stated in "Family.")

  • The locker to the left of Dawn's has a "Devil Doll" sticker on the door. Devil Doll is a band, whose song "Faith in Love" played in "The Harsh Light of Day."

  • Dawn has a ceramics class.

  • Cassie's website, as seen on the show, can actually be seen here. To the best of my knowledge, it was built by the Mutant Enemy team specifically to correlate with the episode.

  • Willow admits to having posted love poems about Xander and Doogie Howser fanfic on the internet when she was younger.

  • Though Principal Wood originally said that Buffy would work two or three days per week, she worked at least four days this week.

  • Buffy's office hours are apparently 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • In "Beneath You," there was some speculation that Spike's chip may have ceased working. In this episode, he is shown apparently feeling pain every time he hits Peter. Of course, the possibility that he's faking can't be completely ruled out, but that's not the impression we get.

  • Emma Caulfield (Anya) wasn't in this episode.

  • The Guest Star credits included Beth Skipp and Anthony Harrell. Neither of these actors were, as far as we can tell, actually in the episode; their scenes must have gotten cut. The shooting script does contain two scenes that didn't make it to screen: one with a Matthew (a boy at Sunnydale High) and one with a Lulu (a woman Anya talks to). Most likely, these are the scenes which would have featured these actors.

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Related Merchandise

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I liked the story presented in this episode, and the performance of the girl that played Cassandra was great, but I really think that it can be summed up in one line: "Doogie Howser Fanfic." (7.5/10)
I liked this episode quite a bit. The concept appealed to me I suppose, something a bit out of the ordinary as Buffy episodes go. No particular monster to fight (that somewhat wimpy demon doesn't really count), this was focused more on their detective work. It's usually good when they try something different — although admittedly the demon sub-plot was pretty similar to "Reptile Boy." In some ways I would have liked it if they had brought back Machida, but I suppose they felt unable too since Machida is A) supposedly dead (although not according to the shooting script), and B) under the frat house, not the school. But I still would have liked it. The episode also showed another return to the early seasons of Buffy; we haven't seen prophecies at work for quite some time, unless you count the 'Death is your gift' stuff; and now first there was the 'Beneath you' stuff and now this, and we're only 4 episodes into the season. I liked that it was a natural death for Cassie; although it was perhaps a touch obvious, I can't think of a better way they could have killed her. I'm curious as to what exactly we're supposed to make of her death; was it pure chance/fate, or was a higher power involved? Perhaps she was going to be too troublesome to something high up and nasty. I hope we see more of the Mike character, I liked him; he was like the old Xander (you know, when Xander was still funny), only smoother. I do wonder where Kit and Carlos were. If they are going to be recurring characters, this would have been a logical episode to include them in. Perhaps we're never going to see them again. I liked Buffy's counselling scenes, particularly the pseudo-gay student — I would not have been impressed had they never shown any student attempting to hit on Buffy. It would have hardly been realistic would it? Um, on one final point, I might add that Dawn is starting to look quite attractive. It's disturbing — I'm disturbed. Must... wash... eyes... still unclean! (9/10)
Jamie Marie:
Yay for some good old-fashioned vampire stalking and staking. And I'm with Dawn; Buffy's a teeny midget and should have been in the kiddie casket. But then of course they'd have lost the joke. I liked the montage of Buffy's first few counselling sessions, and I continually crack up at that nerdy kid asking her out. That smile he flashes her is classic. Besides, it's totally realistic. I like that they did Willow's visit to Tara's grave tastefully and without a big load of cheese and drama. Big fat thumbs up for the Google reference! I heart Google! Plus, the eldest Home Improvement kid, and Doogie Howser... ah, nostalgia. The idea of anyone writing Doogie Howser fanfic is, to me, pure comedy. Dug Spike's scene in the basement. I liked the whole Cassie plot, and I liked Cassie. (Oh, and Dawn's right, Mike is a cutie; she should date him. After she burns that stupid maroon jacket.) The only problem with it was that I really think the gang and Buffy have already learned and come to terms with the fact that you can't always help. I guess maybe Dawn hadn't yet wrangled with that, but I still felt that the "lesson" of this episode was weakened because of that. Another minor problem for me was the second montage, with the gang researching and Cassie reading her poem and all that. Besides being a bit cheesy, it felt totally unnecessary and redundant. Couple that with the goofs mentioned above in regards to it, and I really get the feeling that they were a couple of minutes short for this episode and had to come up with something to stretch it out. Bleh. Say, did anyone else think that kid that Buffy threatened (locker 281 guy) could pass for Willy's son? (8/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
October 15, 2002 3.0 91 of 130 (tie)
January 28, 2003 1.8 105 of 131 (tie)

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