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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 6, Episode 12
Doublemeat-palace
Air date January 29, 2002
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Nick Marck
Episode Guide
previous
Gone
next
Dead Things
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Guest Starring
Elizabeth Anne Allen Amy
Pat Crawford Brown Wig Lady
Brent Hinkley Manny
Kirsten Nelson Lorraine
Kali Rocha Halfrek
Co Starring
T. Ferguson Gary
Marion Calvert Gina
Douglas Bennett Phillip
Andrew ReVille Timothy
Kevin C. Carter Mr. Typical
John F. Kearney Elderly Man
Sara LaWall Housewife Type
Victor Z. Isaac Pimply Teen

"Doublemeat Palace" is the twelfth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred twelfth episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Nick Marck. It originally broadcast on January 29, 2002.

To deal with her escalating financial problems, Buffy gets a job as a kitchen worker at the Doublemeat Palace, a California-based fast food restaurant chain, which she quickly finds to be degrading and dull. Furthermore, a series of strange events, combined with the disappearances of employees, leads Buffy to believe that it may not be cow's meat that they serve here...

Synopsis

Willow updates Xander and Anya about The Trio, explaining that the three seem to have disappeared and moved from their basement lair. Anya chimes in with supportive statements about working hard for money and the importance of working in America just before Buffy appears, wearing a uniform for her new job. Later, Buffy is introduced to the world of fast food with the help of a unique and graphic video about her new place of work, the Doublemeat Palace. Her boss, Manny, introduces Buffy to her unenthusiastic coworkers and walks her through the area behind the counter, clearly identifying off-limit locations.

DPalace050

Manny The Manager

Buffy is offered the Doublemeat Medley, a burger consisting of typical ingredients and layers of meat and chicken, and Manny requires that she eat it. She reluctantly takes a bite, then questions what the secret ingredient in the meat is, but gets no clear answer. Buffy watches as a coworker, Gary, waits on a woman wearing a wig who is a regular at the Palace. After his demonstration, Buffy takes the next customer, but is lost quickly in the process as the man's order is too difficult for her to follow.

During her break, Buffy sneaks around in the back rooms, searching for the truth behind the secret ingredient, but is caught by Manny. At the counter, Buffy finds her friends have come by to visit her and she treats Xander to a Doublemeat Medley. Anya goes on a rant about how behind the wedding plans are, partially blaming Willow for the complications. Later, Buffy receives a surprise visit from Spike at the restaurant. He teases her., reminding her that his chip can hurt meaning that Buffy is possibly a demon now, something she strongly refutes. Spike then tries to persuade her to leave the job and be with him, warning her that this job could kill her. He offers to do everything in his power to take care of her and help her with her money problems. She remains determined and turns away. Gary goes out to the alley behind the restaurant and encounters someone/something that he recognizes; then that someone or something attacks him.

The next day, with Gary not there to work, Buffy is told to work the grill and another coworker, Timothy demonstrates the process for her. Again, Buffy asks about the secret ingredient, but still can't get an answer from anyone. Manny then assigns Buffy to a double shift because of the reduction of employees. At the apartment, Xander talks to Anya, who's in another room, about Buffy working a double shift just before Halfrek, a female Vengeance demon appears suddenly before Xander, threatening to tear him into pieces. Fortunately, Anya enters the room and recognizes the Vengeance demon as an old friend and the girls greet each other gleefully. Anya clears up the confusion, explaining that she invited Halfrek to the wedding, not to seek vengeance on Xander. Wisely, Xander leaves to let the girls chat.

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Halfrek

Back at the Doublemeat Palace, Buffy spots Spike outside through a window and spends her break having sex with him in the alleyway out behind the restaurant, though she looks thoroughly disinterested. Amy pays Willow a visit, wanting her rat cage as a souvenir and talks with Willow about her progress with avoiding magic. Before she leaves, Amy (wanting to get Willow back onto magic) gives Willow an unasked-for gift: A magical boost of power she can't quite control. Buffy watches the grinder grind meat, but discovers a human finger in the processed meat. Appalled at the idea of human meat being the secret ingredient, Buffy confronts Manny about it, but he doesn't agree with her suspicions. Buffy charges out into the dining area, attempting to stop all the patrons from eating while shouting that the meat is made of humans. The outburst gets her fired.

Over drinks, Anya and Halfrek talk about Anya's relationship with Xander and Anya begins to re-evaluate her situation with Xander after Halfrek repeatedly insists on addressing the issue. A meeting is called at the Magic Box as Buffy presents the severed finger and a Doublemeat Medley as evidence for her "people burger" theory, but Xander eats the burger before Buffy explains her theory. Willow arrives late, ready to begin researching despite the fact that she's still under Amy's gift spell and lacks control over her use of magic. Buffy leaves to investigate Doublemeat Palace after hours while Willow uses science to test a leftover piece of meat from the Doublemeat Medley.

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Wig Lady: I just love the paralysis. It means I can eat you slowly.

Buffy breaks into the fast food place and finds clues: Blood and Manny's severed foot. Willow struggles to avoid using magic while Dawn and Xander talk about the kind of future life Buffy will have because she's the Slayer. Then Anya shows up late after Halfrek's departure, and a tense argument develops between her and Xander over the less-than-attractive appearance of a Vengeance demon.

Willow's analysis reveals that the basic composition of the "meat" is cellulose. While continuing to snoop, Buffy encounters the regular customer, Wig Lady, without her wig. A demonic lamprey-like appendage emerges from the lady's head and sprays a paralyzing liquid at Buffy. The lady advances on Buffy and talks about eating Doublemeat employees as the Slayer struggles to escape.

Willow shows up and tries to inform Buffy of the Doublemeat Medley which is not made of humans, but processed vegetables, then begins to confess to her about Amy's magical gift. Buffy's unable to respond to the information as she continues to try to get away from the demon, which manages to latch onto her shoulder and start to feed. Inside, Willow tries to stop the Wig Lady, using a large blade to cut the lamprey from the woman's body. That doesn't immediately kill the lamprey and Willow quickly shoves it into the meat grinder. The next day at the Summers' house, Amy pays Willow a visit, needing to borrow a few necessities. Willow denies her entrance into the house and angrily suggests that Amy stay away from her.

Buffy returns to the Doublemeat Palace to return her uniform to the new manager, Lorraine. After revealing her knowledge of the Doublemeat Medley's composition, she is sworn to secrecy. She gets her job back and resigns herself to working there, at least for now.

Continuity

  • This episode marks the first time Tara has been missing from two episodes in a row since the character was introduced.
  • This is the first time Halfrek appears undisguised, as a vengeance demon. Cecily, Spike's pre-vampire love interest in "Fool for Love", was actually Halfrek, at least according to Spike: Old Times.
  • At the beginning of the episode, when Xander remarks that he hears Anya's "Go Money Go" rant on money and efficiency daily, Willow responds that he will for the rest of his life. Xander's face shows dread as everyone else continues without noticing. This is just another example of foreshadowing of the events of "Hell's Bells".
  • Buffy mentions her experience as waitress in LA shown in "Anne".
  • Buffy recalls her time as a Doublemeat Palace employee in 'Love Dares You, Part Two'.

Body Count

  • Gary and Manny, eaten by the Wig Lady
  • The Wig Lady, lamprey decapitated with a large knife and chopped in the meat grinder by Willow

Behind the Scenes

Broadcast

  • During the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion that occurred between seasons six and seven, Joss Whedon revealed that this episode was the first episode that caused sponsors to threaten to pull support due to the portrayal of the fast food industry. Buffy working at Doublemeat Palace "made the advertisers very twitchy"; as Whedon joked, "the most controversial thing we ever had on Buffy was a hamburger and chicken sandwich."

Deleted Scenes

  • Xander's line was cut due to length:
Xander: "We were all going to yell 'good luck on the new job', but we don't have that kind of timing that kind of thing requires."
  • Dawn's line was also cut due to length:
Dawn: "So much suspense. It's like taking a pregnancy test...when they do that in pregnancy test commercials."

Pop Culture References

  • Buffy screaming "It's people! It's people!" at the customers is an homage to the movie Soylent Green, with its famous line "Soylent Green is people!"

International titles

  • German: Geheimnisvolle Zutaten (Mysterious Ingredients)

Music

  • Austin and Hughes (JW music library) - "Power Play"
  • Warren Bennet (First Com Music Library) - "The Twist"
  • Thomas Wanker- original score

Other

  • In the scene where Buffy is learning to use the grill, she flips the burgers when they are done on one side and then starts to speak with the manager. From a distance, the burgers now appear to be completely raw.
  • As a child, Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared in Burger King commercial ads. McDonald's infamously sued her for citing their meat in one of the ads and banned her from eating in their restaurant. Ironically, McDonald's was a sponsor for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Quotes

Spike - "Damn fluorescent lights. They make me look dead."
Doublemeat Palace Training Film - "This cow" [moo!] and this chicken [bawk!] don't know it yet, but they're destined to become part of it as well. So what happens when a cow and a chicken get together? Why, that's a Doublemeat medley! Let's take a look now at the process of harvesting these two special meats." [panicking animal sounds]
Buffy - "Holy crap!"
Manny - "Interesting, isn't it?"
Buffy - "Oh, yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if Meg and Tom were, like, minced."
Xander - "It's fast food. I have swum in these murky waters, my friend. There is assorted creepiness, there is staring, there is the enthusiastic not-showing-up-at-all. I think you're seeing demons where there's just... life."
Buffy - "I'm working. Go away."
Spike - "Yeah, and you chose to be in a consumer service profession. I'm a consumer. Service me."
Manny - "You're working a double-shift."
Buffy - "What? Another eight hours? Right after these eight hours? That's ... so many hours."
Buffy - "Xander, you ate the burger?"
Xander - "Well, first you say it's cat. Then you come in, hand me a burger, blah blah blah, five minutes later, oh, and by the way, it happens to be hot, delicious human flesh?"
Buffy - "I needed that burger to analyze it. Now I'm gonna have to get another one."
Xander - "That's your problem with this scenario? You getting seconds?"

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