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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 3, Episode 10|
|Air date||December 15, 1998|
|Written by||Joss Whedon|
|Directed by||Joss Whedon|
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Cornelia Hayes O'Herlihy||Margaret|
|Eliza Dushku|| Faith |
|Tom Michael Bailey||Tree Seller Guy|
Dublin, 1838—A man named Daniel runs down a street, afraid of something or someone. He finally stops to rest in the entrance to an alley when the man following him, Angelus, appears in front of him. Apparently, Daniel had gambling problems and was in Angelus's debt, so Angelus decided to take his payment "his way". Before he kills Daniel, he tells him to be of good cheer, because after all, "It's Christmas!"
It turns out that this is a nightmare of Angel's. When he wakes up, unable to fall asleep again, he walks the streets of Sunnydale and runs into Buffy, their first encounter since ending their friendship. They exchange a few awkward words before Angel becomes frightened, seeing the ghost of Daniel staring at him. The next day, as Sunnydale High starts winding down for Christmas vacation, Buffy tells her friends about her freaky encounter with Angel. They fill each other in on holiday plans and then Oz shows up, ready to talk to Willow. He tells her that he knows that she and Xander have a history and how he doesn't know if things between the two will ever be over. However he also tells her tells her he misses her terribly, so is willing to give their relationship another shot. Cordelia Chase, on the other hand, is still cold and hostile toward the rest of the Scooby Gang and smugly tells them that she'll be going to Aspen, "With real snow."
Buffy and her Mom go shopping for a Christmas tree and decide to invite Faith to Christmas Eve dinner, but when Buffy suggests inviting Giles, Joyce becomes uncomfortable and immediately vetoes the idea. While at the lot, Buffy spots a bunch of trees that just died for no reason and the salesman offers to make her "a hell of a deal". Buffy then visits Faith at her run-down motel room, and invites her to Christmas Eve dinner, denying that it was Joyce's idea. Faith claims that she has plans; however, Buffy knows she's lying but doesn't push the issue, just telling her that the offer is open.
Angel's nightmares continue to haunt him, and he finally resorts to going to Giles for help. Giles is initially amused when he hears that Angel is asking for his help, but lets him ask. However, wary of Angel and still bitter over Jenny's death and the torture he suffered at his hands, Giles keeps a loaded crossbow in hand, but still listens to Angel's explanations and questions how he is back on Earth. Their conversation is cut short when Angel sees Jenny and runs off. Giles turns around but doesn't see her.
In another one of Angel's dreams, he attacks a maid but as he finishes her off, he looks up and sees Buffy there in his dream. They both wake up, realizing that they're in each other's dreams. Buffy goes to Giles and they plan to research so they can find out what force is taking over Angel. Xander offers to help as well, partly to make up for being such a bad friend to Buffy where Angel is concerned, but also, it's a better option than being at home. Willow joins in and the gang research for hours, with no joy. Willow tells Buffy that she is trying to think of a way to let Oz know she's truly sorry, and Buffy advises her that she needs to make sure that Oz knows he comes before Xander.
Angel is still unable to sleep and encounters Jenny's spirit at the mansion. He tries to apologize, but she doesn't want to hear it; she just wants to make him suffer. He is then visited by the many ghosts of his victims, including Daniel and the maid he had killed. Finally, nearly crazy from being reminded of what a monster he was, Angel begs for it to stop. Jenny offers him comfort and tells him to rest. At the library, Buffy also falls asleep and both she and Angel are in the same dream again. This time, the two are making passionate love on Buffy's bed. Looking over his shoulder, Buffy notices a creature with its eyes sewn shut just before Angel vamps out and bites her. They both wake up. Jenny tells Angel he needs to kill Buffy.
Giles has found out that the force that is taking over Angel is called The First. It's very powerful and impossible to kill. However, there are three priests (the creatures with their eyes sewn shut) which Buffy can kill, and hopefully put an end to the mental torment Angel is suffering from. Buffy and Xander visit Willy the Snitch, but he only says that The First may be underground. Oz arrives at Willow's house with videos from Big Lou's and finds she has a bit more planned for the night. He tells her he's not ready to take their relationship that far and that she doesn't need to prove herself to him, which she's fine with and they just kiss.
At home, Buffy and her mom are trimming the tree, and they both get a surprise when Faith shows up. Buffy goes upstairs to her room to find that Angel is there waiting for her. Blind with the need to find peace of mind, he fights the urge to kill Buffy. As Jenny, unseen and unheard by Buffy, continues to goad him into doing so, a frantic Angel jumps headfirst out the window as a horrified Buffy looks on. Buffy leaves Faith in charge of watching her mom while she goes to Giles for immediate help. At the mansion, Jenny tries to convince Angel that he must kill Buffy and that she will be at risk as long as he is alive. With that, Angel resolves to commit suicide by sunlight instead, which Jenny says wasn't the plan, but it would nevertheless be acceptable.
After some more research, Buffy discovers that wherever the priests are, nothing will grow above or below. Buffy remembers the dead trees at the Christmas tree lot, though before she departs, Giles warns her that she may have to kill Angel again should he truly become dangerous. She goes there and in the middle of a circle of dead trees, she makes a hole in the ground which then leads to the priests. She tears the place and the priests apart, then encounters the First in Jenny's form. They attack each other verbally and then Buffy runs off to the mansion to save Angel from killing himself with the sun.
She finds him atop Kingman's Bluff, the sun only minutes away from rising. He tells her that he loves her and wants her so much that he'd be willing to lose his soul just to be with her. Buffy desperately wants him to come inside, but he believes very strongly that he is evil and he's got to be strong for once and die. They yell, and hit each other, and cry and say how much they love one another. Buffy gives him his last chance to prove how strong he really can be and to come in from the sun. She tells him that if he really doesn't have a place on Earth then he can burn. Then, out of nowhere, snow begins to fall, covering the previously sunny and warm Sunnydale in a beautiful white Christmas, hiding the sun.
Willow and Oz wake up on Willow's bed (they were just sleeping) to the snow. Xander wakes up in a sleeping bag in his backyard covered in snow. Giles notices it from his apartment while Faith and Joyce see it from the Summer's home. Buffy and Angel walk hand in hand together through the snow, united once again with Angel truly ready to rejoin the fight against evil and make amends for what he has done.
- While the characters talk about how warm it is they're wearing heavy winter clothing.
- Buffy and Angel officially renew their relationship until Angel breaks up with her in The Prom.
- Oz and Willow get back together after their breakup in "Lovers Walk" until they break up for good in Wild at Heart. Oz says that he is "willing to give it a shot" and forgives Willow while Cordelia and Xander's relationship remains irreconcilable.
- The area where Angel attempts suicide is the same area where Dark Willow will attempt to destroy the world in "Grave", at which time its name is finally revealed as Kingman's Bluff.
- Although Joyce suggests that Faith spends Christmas Eve dinner with her and Buffy, she quickly shoots down Buffy's suggestion that Giles join them (as she is still feeling awkward following their "involvement" in "Band Candy").
- The First Evil and the Bringers do not appear again until "Lessons" when it returns as the Big Bad of Season Seven.
- While it is later made clear in Season Seven that The First cannot touch anything, The First as Jenny Calendar touches Angel and, while the touch is brief, his hair visibly moves. (This would occur once more, in Lessons, when The First as Drusilla also touches Spike's hair.)
- Cordelia refers to the events in this episode in "The Price".
- The First's prediction "Sooner or later, you will drink her" ends up being accurate, since Angel drinks Buffy's blood in "Graduation Day, Part Two".
- When Buffy encounters Angel in downtown Sunnydale she says she's on her way to buy a holiday gift for Willow from the magic shop, but she's walking away from the magic shop.
- After Angel jumps out of Buffy's bedroom window and Buffy prepares to search for him, Faith tells her to "watch [her] back," just as Kendra did before Buffy went to face Angel in Becoming, Part 1 at the end of Season 2.
- Buffy states that there are 14 million square miles of sewer, although this may have been a comical exaggeration on her part.
- Oz refusing to sleep with Willow in this episode recalls his declining her offer to make out in "Innocence". Oz demonstrates again that he does not like doing things that she may want to do for the wrong reason. In this episode, Oz understands that Willow offers to sleep with him to show him that she is invested in their newly reestablished relationship, whereas in "Innocence", he believes she asks him to kiss her (largely) to make Xander jealous. This is the second time Willow has offered her virginity to a boy and been turned down, the first whilst under magical influence in 'Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered'.
- Oz asks Willow if she's ever had the dream "where you're in a play, and you're right in the middle of it and you kinda don't know your lines and you kinda don't know the plot?" Willow has a similar dream, or rather nightmare, as seen the episode "Nightmares" (though it's an opera that she's in); it became a reality for her in the episode "The Puppet Show". Willow would have this nightmare again during the episode "Restless".
- When Cordelia mentions Xander's family's "drunken Christmas fights"; this is the first real hint in the series of Xander's unhappy home life, which is something that will be expanded on later in the series and become very significant in Season Six. Furthermore, Xander explains his "Christmas Tradition" to Willow as if she hasn't known him for years—Whedon himself claimed this to be an error in writing, as Willow and Xander have been best friends since childhood, and she already knows all about the Harris family. (This could be justified by saying that although Willow already knows about Xander's dysfunctional family, there are other people in earshot of the conversation who don't.)
- The First has been the only being that has taken credit for Angel's return from the Acathla dimension. However, since it has been known to be a convincing deceiver, it could be lying about it. Whedon has hinted that Angel could have been brought back by the Powers That Be or even the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart.
- Since the sun was on its way to rising in this episode, this technically would be the first time that Angel has walked around in the daytime as a vampire; the first time he walks during sunlight (and only time in a non-flashback, dream or fantasy capacity) is during the Angel episode "In the Dark".
- Angel is reinvited into Giles' house; he would take advantage of this invitation only once more, in the episode "Pangs".
- Daniel, drained by Angelus
- Margaret, drained by Angelus
- Travis, drained by Angelus
- Travis' sons, killed by Angelus (only mentioned)
- Sunnydale, California
- Dublin, Ireland (1838 dream flashback)
- London, UK (dream flashback)
Behind the Scenes
- There has been a lot of discussion about the "miraculous" Christmas snowfall that prevents the Sun from rising and killing Angel. The official answer was made by the show's creator himself Joss Whedon who confirmed that the snow may have been the work of The Powers That Be, the supernatural forces that guided Angel's destiny in his spin-off series. This is said by Joss Whedon himself: "The snow [in Amends] was good... was it God? Well, I'm an atheist, but it's hard to ignore the idea of a "Christmas miracle" here... The fact is, the Christian mythos has a powerful fascination to me, and it bleeds into my storytelling. Redemption, hope, purpose, Santa, these all are important to me, whether I believe in an afterlife or some universal structure or not. I certainly don't mind a strictly Christian interpretation being placed on this ep by those who believe that—I just hope it's not limited to that" (Joss Whedon, Dec 15 22:17 1998).
- "The guys with weird flesh over their eyes" in this episode, Whedon explains, represented "some sort of creepy, kind of Jacob's Ladder-y thing," adding that "a deformed human is scarier than a big reptile with fangs" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Monster Book).
- This episode is notable in that no deaths occur in the present (with the only deaths occurring in flashbacks).
- When Robia LaMorte was approached with returning to play Jenny, she agreed before reading the script. Robia, who is very religious, was very skeptical about playing the role of The First Evil, erroneously considering it basically the Buffyverse equivalent of Satan.
- The Mutant Enemy monster in the end credits wears a Santa hat and bells are heard when he says "Grrr Arrgh."
- Buffy's response to Joyce is a little longer in the original version:
- Joyce: "You know, honey, I was thinking - maybe we should invite Faith to spend Christmas Eve with us?"
- Buffy: "I'll ask her. Worst she can do is - well, the worst she can do is serious bodily harm, but she'll probably just say no."
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- In Angel's dream that Buffy finds herself in, the background music is Pachelbel's Canon in D, a famous Baroque era piece (1700s). If the time period can be assumed the same as the man that he kills (Daniel, c. 1838) then Pachelbel's Canon would not have been circulating during this time, as apparently the music was lost until the 20th century.
Pop Culture References
- Buffy reads from a prophetic textbook: "No wonder you like reading this stuff. It's like reading The Sun." While it's possible this is a reference to the British tabloid, which Joss Whedon learned of during his time in England, it is more likely to be a reference to the American tabloid of the same name. The American Sun is more comparable to the National Enquirer but with a Christian slant, often including wholly unbelievable stories of a religious nature, such as an article in late 2007 that suggested troops in Iraq had shot down an angel on the battlefield.
- Giles' description of the Harbingers includes the words "They're rebels and they'll never, ever be any good," mocking the book's overly dramatic description by paraphrasing The Crystals' "He's a Rebel."
- At the end of the episode, you can see a pair of shoes hanging from the traffic light wires. This could be a reference to shoe tossing.
- French: Le soleil de Noël (Christmas sun)
- German: Heimsuchungen (Hauntings)
- Barry White - "Cant Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" (Plays as Oz arrives at Willow's house.)
- Johann Pachelbel - "Canon in D Major" (Plays before Angelus kills Margaret in 1883.)
- The Crystals - "He's a Rebel"
- Christophe Beck - "Dreaming Of"
- Christophe Beck - "Dublin"
- Christophe Beck - "Magic Snow Music" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Score)
- Joss Whedon has cited many times Buffy and Angel's fight on the hilltop as one of the best things he has ever written, especially the line, "It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man."
- A sweepstakes commercial aired a week before this episode, which also served as an advertisement for it.
- This episode is Angel-centric.
- This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Angel DVD.
|Buffy - "Strong is fighting. It's hard and it's painful and it's every day. It's what we have to do, and we can do it together, but if you're too much of a coward for that, then burn."|
|The First - "You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl, I'm something that you can't even conceive, The First Evil, beyond sin, beyond death, I am the thing that darkness fears, you'll never see me but I am everywhere, in every being, every thought, every drop of hate."|
|Buffy - "Alright, I get it, you're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?"|
|Angel - "Look, I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man."|
|Xander - "Angel? Weird? What are the odds?"|
|Willow - "Do you think something's wrong? Maybe you should tell Giles."|
|Buffy - "No. I don't wanna bug Giles. He's still kinda twitchy when it comes to the subject of Angel."|
|Xander - "Well, it must be that whole Angel-killed-his-girlfriend-and-tortured-him thing. Hey, Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that."|
|Buffy - "What about me? I love you so much ... and I tried to make you go away ... I killed you and it didn't help. And I hate it! I hate that it's so hard ... and that you can hurt me so much. I know everything that you did, because you did it to me. Oh, God! I wish that I wished you dead. I don't. I can't."|
|Angel - "Um...I'm sorry to bother you."|
|Giles - [laughs] "Sorry. Coming from you that phrase strikes me as rather funny. Sorry to bother me."|
|Angel - "I need your help."|
|Giles - "And the funny keeps on coming."|