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Next — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
A New Man
January 25, 2000


Jane Espenson

Michael Gershman

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:
Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne
Amber Benson as Tara
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Lindsay Crouse as Professor Maggie Walsh
Elizabeth Payne as Waitress
Michelle Ferrara as Mother


Giles feels out of the loop when Buffy suddenly introduces Riley as her boyfriend, Buffy gushes over Professor Walsh, Walsh tells him that Buffy lacks a good father figure, and he then finds out that Riley is in the Initiative — and everyone knew but him. Ethan Rayne turns up, and convinces Giles to go out for a beer so that Ethan can warn him of some impending doom involving "314." Giles gets drunk, and wakes up the next day to find that Ethan has turned him into a demon. Being unable to speak English, he can't communicate with the gang, so he ends up turning to Spike for help while Buffy and the gang hunt him down, thinking that he did something to Giles. Buffy almost kills him, but recognizes his eyes just in the nick of time. Back at the Initiative, Professor Walsh steps into a high-security room... 314.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Giles as a Fyral demon Giles was turned into a Fyarl demon. They're very strong, like to crush things, have rock-hard paralyzing mucous, often work for other demons, and can be killed with a weapon made of silver.

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Dialogue to Die For

Xander (while Spike packs up his things, including Xander's radio): "That's my radio!"
Spike: "And you're what, shocked and disappointed? I'm evil."

Walsh: "We thought you were a myth."
Buffy: "Well, you were myth-taken."

Walsh: "It's only our methods that differ. We use the latest in scientific technology and state-of-the-art weaponry, and you, if I understand correctly, poke them with a sharp stick."

Giles (drunk): "You know what gets me? This is what gets me. Twenty years I've been fighting demons. Maggie Walsh and her nancy ninja boys come in; six months later, demons are pissing themselves with fear. They never even noticed me."

More quotes from this episode...

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  • Giles: "I felt like Theseus and the Minotaur in the, uh, Labyrinth."
  • According to Greek mythology, King Minos of Crete sacrificed seven youths and seven damsels to the Minotaur, a creature with the head and tail of bull and the body of a man who had been cast into a huge maze known as the Labyrinth. When the Greek hero Theseus learned of the Minotaur and the sacrifices, he volunteered to go to Crete as one of the victims. Upon his arrival in Crete, he met Ariadne, Minos' daughter, who fell in love with him. When Theseus agreed to marry her, she gave him a simple ball of thread, which he was to fasten at the entrance of the maze. He made his way through the maze, while unwinding the thread, and he stumbled upon the sleeping Minotaur. He beat it to death and led the others back to the entrance by following the thread.

  • Ethan: "Oh, religious intolerance. Sad, there. I mean, just look at 'The Irish Troubles.'"
  • The conflict known today as "The Troubles" began about thirty years ago. The twenty-six counties of Ireland won independence from Britain in 1922, and later became a Republic; the North remained part of the United Kingdom. This division gave rise to two movements: the nationalist movement, and the loyalist movement. The Nationalists, who are typically Catholic, want the six counties of Northern Ireland to be reunited with the Republic. The Loyalists, who are typically Protestant, prefer that Northern Ireland remain under British rule. The Irish Republican Army (IRA), a militant Republican group, and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), a militant Loyalist group, are two groups that we Americans are most familiar with. Info from the Close Up Foundation.

  • Spike: "Well. What do I spy with my little eye?"
  • This a reference to the game "I Spy," in which someone chooses an item in the vicinity and says, "I spy with my little eye something purple" (or beginning with "L," or what have you), and someone else tries to guess what that something is.

  • Riley: "You're really strong. Like, Spiderman strong."
  • Spiderman is a Marvel Comics superhero. Student Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him superhuman strength, reflexes, and equilibrium; a subconscious premonitional "danger" sense; and the ability to cause parts of his body to stick with great tenacity to most surfaces, from which Buffy's comment about not sticking to things stems.

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  • Doomed

    Riley tells Giles that he's seen the library, and it's gone downhill since Giles left; he later refers to Buffy stopping the world from ending. Both refer to last week, when Riley helped Buffy stop some demons from opening the Hellmouth in the ruined crater that used to be the library. Buffy's comments about Riley asking her not to reveal his secret and the "cat [coming] out of the bag" also refers to "Doomed," when the gang saw Riley at the library in the aforementioned scene.

  • Surprise and Helpless

    Buffy makes a joke about how having her toes smashed would still be better than her previous birthday bashes, referring to "Surprise," when her surprise party was interrupted by the Judge (or, specifically, by his arm). While there was no birthday bash in "Helpless," it wasn't exactly a great birthday — she was forced to go through an archaic ritual of the Watchers Council, in which she was drained of her powers and locked up with a nutcase vampire.

  • Fear, Itself

    Walsh makes a joke about Buffy having been in her class, but not all the time, which is likely a reference to "Fear, Itself," when Buffy missed class and was scolded by Walsh.

  • Prophecy Girl

    Buffy told Riley that she drowned, which was in "Prophecy Girl."

  • Band Candy, Reptile Boy, or Graduation Day, Part Two

    Buffy tells Riley about a snake, most likely referring to the Mayor, who transformed into a giant serpent demon in "Grad. Day 2." It's possible, though, that she was talking about Machida, the snake demon in "Reptile Boy" or Lurconis, the snake demon in "Band Candy."

  • Revelations, Becoming, Part One, Prophecy Girl, Passion, Pangs, and Earshot

    Giles states that he has a tendency to get knocked on the head — these episodes all include Giles getting hit in the head or the face (which is, of course, part of the head). This does not include all the times that he's been unconscious, since that's not what he said. However, there is an amusing list of all the times that Giles has been unconscious at Laugh Lines, Love Lines.

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Goofs and Gaffes

  • Spike casually tosses his lit cigarette in Xander's basement, presumably onto the floor, and neither Xander or Anya seem to notice or care enough to put it out and/or pick it up.
          Spotted by Melissa.

  • During the scene in which Ethan tells Giles that he's poisoned Giles' beer, the foam on Giles' beer (the one closest to him) increases, decreases, and then disappears altogether in an unrealistic amount of time. (There's actually a variety of strange things going on with the glasses in this scene, including an empty one that appears and disappears a few times.)
          Foam part spotted by Mathew.

  • When Buffy and Willow are having breakfast, Willow picks up her glass of orange juice while the camera is facing her. When the camera faces Buffy, the glass is still on the table (and it looks like Willow is just about to reach for it). Cut back to Willow, and she's setting the glass down.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • When demon-Giles goes to wake up Xander, there are clothes hanging on the clothes line across the room. On the left, there's a pair of briefs dangling by one clothespin. A few cuts later, they're hanging securely by two clothespins... then one, then two, then one, then two, then one.

  • Xander doesn't even go halfway up the stairs before coming back down and stating matter-of-factly that Giles isn't upstairs. How does he know Giles isn't dead or unconscious on the bed or in the closet or something?

  • When Spike and Giles talk in the cemetery, Spike puts a cigarette in his mouth. The camera cuts to Giles, then quickly back to Spike — and he's suddenly holding the cigarette down by his waist and he tosses it aside.
          Spotted by Mathew.

  • Ethan is supposedly staying at the Sunnydale Motor Inn, but the shot outside his motel is of a place called the Downtowner Apartments. Moreover, this is the exact same shot they used in "Faith, Hope, and Trick" (right down to the car parked in front) — it's the motel that Faith was staying at. It's understandable that they might wish to use the same shot, but they should have had the waitress say that Ethan was staying at the Downtowner Apartments, and they could have at least not shown the car in the last second of the shot.

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  • Sunnydale seems to have a motel called the Sunnydale Motor Inn, although the supposed shot of that Inn was actually of the Downtowner Apartments, the place that Faith stayed before the Mayor hooked her up. (See Goofs above.)

  • We know for sure now that the Initiative is an official U.S. military operation. They also may have headquarters outside Sunnydale — Riley says that Ethan will be taken to a detention facility in the Nevada desert, which may or may not be an Initiative facility (it could be purely military, etc.) and which could be in Area 51.

  • In a chat at Raven's Realm (a former BtVS fan site), Jane Espenson (who wrote this episode) had this to say about what happened to Spike after he crashed the car: "That was cut... for time. In fact, he got out of the car injured and he said 'I can kill demons. I can crash cars. Things are looking up!' It`s too bad this got cut. It was a nice moment. And now you know..."

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As far as filler episodes go this one was pretty good. It had a good filler premise as well as some pretty good story arc development (rare for a filler episode, hence the term "filler episode"). I thought I would enjoy this episode more than I actually did. Giles' transformation into a demon started much too far into the episode, and we didn't even see what he tried to do with himself from 10:30 that morning (when he woke up Xander) to when he meets up with Spike later that night in the cemetery. We finally get a car chase in Buffy, something that I didn't think would ever happen. Granted it was between two Humvees and a Citroen, but still enjoyable. I know it's picky, but Spike's voice definitely seemed dubbed in for his last line before he crashed the car, and it wasn't done very well. Ethan Rayne is a great character that I completely forgot about, but now I want more of him. Hopefully, he will use his sorcery to break out of the detention center and get back to Sunnydale. All in all, tastes alright, less fillingTM. (7/10)
Jamie Marie:
Well, that was fun enough, I guess. I like when the filler episodes aren't just filler episodes - that is, it's mostly fun-filled filler, and there's nothing wrong with that, but we also get some story arc development. Specifically, this 314 thing is clearly something big, and obviously has to do with the big bad evil that will eventually take us into the season finale. And no, I am not yet announcing my theories on it — I'm not even sure what they are yet. In the meantime, we got some definite laughs out of this one, which is always a good thing. The car chase was fun, as was the whole Buffy-vs-Riley's-ego thing, which would definitely be a factor in their relationship. I loved seeing Giles chase Walsh down the street. It's rather hilarious that someone in charge of a group like the Initiative (well, in charge of the research and/or of this headquarters, anyway) can do nothing but scream and run when faced with a demon. They ought to put her through some of the training that the guys go through. I loved the music used when Buffy and Riley are sparring, too. And hey, is Giles finally gonna get a new car now? And what kind of car does Riley drive? (I doubt he and Buffy were cruising Sunnydale in a Humvee.) And what did Giles do all day? And how come Riley didn't mention the 911 call from Xander's neighbor who saw Giles running through her yard? Wouldn't they have realized that the incidents might be connected? I guess I'm supposed to assume that no one ever made that call. Anyhow, I think I would have preferred that Giles become a demon a bit sooner in the episode. As for the Willow and Tara thing... well, I don't know. But personally, if they are going to head into the experimental sexuality plot, I think they should use someone cuter than Tara. She looks like a stoner to me. And bad Willow for lying, no matter what her reasons! (8.5/10)
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Air Date Rating Ranking
January 25, 2000 3.9 84 of 135 (tie)
April 18, 2000 2.0 101 of 138 (tie)

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