|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 3, Episode 12|
|Air date||January 19, 1999|
|Written by||David Fury|
|Directed by||James A. Contner|
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Harris Yulin|| Travers |
|Don Dowe||Construction Worker|
Buffy and Angel go a few rounds of fighting until Buffy pins him and holds a bread-stick to his heart. It quickly became awkward, as Angel's words inadvertently reminded them of their sexless relationship as well as the unresolved sexual tension between them. The situation itself became awkward but Angel questions what she would be doing on her birthday and if she had a date, slightly anxious. Buffy points out that she does have a date, describing him as "very handsome, older man, likes it when she called him 'Daddy'. Slightly amused, he realized it's with her father but then checks to make sure if she was really talking about him, seeming a bit tense and jealous. Clearly amused at his expense, Buffy nods and reveals that she plans to go to an ice show with her father on her 18th birthday.
That night in the library, Rupert Giles quizzes her on crystals, demanding that she focus her attention on them. Later, while on patrol, a vampire nearly kills her with her own stake as her powers unexpectedly fail her.
Back at the library, Buffy tries at a target, but misses terribly. When Giles walks in, she asks if he knows what might be happening to her. Meanwhile, Quentin Travers, the head Watcher, is setting up a "test" for the Slayer, assisted by two men named Hobson and Blair. She is to be locked up in a building, without any powers and defeat a powerful and insane vampire—Zachary Kralik. Giles meets with the head Watcher, and expresses his ambivalence about this test - it is supposed to strengthen Buffy, but also seems cruel to him. At home, Buffy is disappointed to find that her father canceled their date at the ice show, because he chose work over his daughter. While she tries to get Giles to take her to the ice show, Giles has Buffy stare into another crystal to "find the tiny flaw at the center." When she falls into a trance, he injects her with a syringe filled with muscle relaxants and adrenal suppressors.
In the school yard, Buffy tries to rescue Cordelia Chase from an aggressive suitor, but he knocks her down. At this point, Buffy really begins to worry, and enlists the help of her friends to figure out what's wrong. Buffy visits Angel and he gives her a book for her birthday. She tries to sound enthusiastic about it, but losing her powers has really begun to bother her. He tells her about how he saw her before she was the Slayer and how he loved her from the second he first saw her.
At the Sunnydale Arms, where Kralik is being held, the vampire manages to rip the seams of his strait jacket. While Blair is getting his pills and water, Kralik kills him and turns him into a vampire. When Blair wakes up, he frees Kralik. Giles goes to find Travers at the Sunnydale Arms building, but instead finds that Kralik is free and Hobson is dead.
While walking home alone, Buffy is first confronted by two men looking for a lap dance and then Kralik. Blair chases her until Giles drives by and picks her up. At the Summers' home, Buffy's mother hears a noise out front and goes to check it out; she then finds Kralik wrapped up in Buffy's jacket.Giles tells Buffy that she's lost her strength due to the injections he'd been giving her, and about the rite of passage. Buffy is very hurt and tells him she doesn't know him anymore and that he should stay away from her or she'll kill him. Giles assures her that the test is invalidated because of what he has told her. Cordelia shows up and drives Buffy home, where she finds a picture of her mother in the hands of Kralik. Buffy changes her clothes, grabs weapons, and heads out to find her mother.
Quentin seeks out Giles at the library. Giles explains that the test should be canceled because Buffy has been told of it. Quentin replies that it is too late for that because Buffy has already entered the field of battle. Giles expresses himself about the Council's orders and leaves to find Buffy, hoping to help her.
At the Arms building, Blair attacks Buffy, but she pushes a bookshelf over on top of him and escapes. Kralik finds and chases her until his need for his pills becomes unbearable. Buffy steals them away, and slides down a laundry chute, where she finds her mother tied up. Kralik breaks through the door, looking for his pills and water. After he swallows the pills, he's surprised to find out that Buffy tricked him into drinking holy water. After he is dusted from the inside, Buffy tries to free her mother, but cannot because the knots are too tight. Blair reappears and lunges at Buffy, but Giles also shows up and stakes him.
Back at the library, Travers congratulates Buffy on her accomplishment, and then Buffy tells Travers that he should leave town before she gets her powers back. Travers tells Giles that he's fired because he's grown too close with the Slayer—he has a father's love for Buffy, which he describes as "useless to the cause." After Travers leaves, Giles further proves his devotion to Buffy by helping to clean her wounds.
The next day, Buffy celebrates her birthday with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and her close friends. When Buffy, minus her strength, can't open the peanut butter jar, Xander Harris offers to help, but he can't do it either.
- This episode marks the beginning of Buffy's father's estrangement. Eventually Hank begins a relationship with his secretary and severs all ties with his former family until season 6 when he appears to be in contact with Dawn via phone.
- Buffy is disappointed by both of her father figures in this episode - her father does not follow through on their tradition of attending the ice show, and Giles betrays her trust.
- This marks the first of many severe falling outs that Giles and Buffy continued to have throughout the years up until his death.
- Giles reveals his parental feelings towards Buffy.
- Angel finally admitted to Buffy that he was there when she first became The Slayer and that he fell in love with her at first sight. Flashbacks of this event was shown in "Becoming, Part One" and more deeply elaborated by Whistler in "The Hero of His Own Story".
- Buffy talks about getting Mr. Pointy, Kendra Young's stake, bronzed.
- Head of the Watchers Council, Quentin Travers, is seen for the first time. He will reappear several times, usually in opposition to Buffy's methods and activities.
- Giles being fired from the Council makes way for Buffy's own rebellion towards the Council and her decision to operate outside their authority. The separation of Council and Slayer - and Giles' own situation with the Council - will not be solved until "Checkpoint".
- This episode shows for the only time what happens when a vampire drinks holy water.
- The 12th or 13th episode of each season is traditionally when Buffy celebrates her birthday; her birthday takes place in episode 13 of season 2 ("Surprise"), episode 12 of season 4 ("A New Man"), episode 13 of season 5 ("Blood Ties") and episode 14 of season 6 ("Older and Far Away"). Buffy's birthday is not shown celebrated in season 1 (it presumably occurred before the beginning of the half-long season) or in season 7, presumably because in "Older and Far Away" Spike suggested Buffy not celebrate her birthday anymore.
- Buffy says her father takes her to the ice show for her birthday every year, but there was no mention of the tradition a year earlier in "Surprise". Presumably Hank took her on one of the few days surrounding the birthday.
- Buffy never actually sees Kralik take the pills and wash them down with water. Joyce must have told her about it, the pair having more time together than is shown onscreen before Kralik breaks in.
- a vampire, dusted by Buffy
- Blair, sired by Kralik and dusted by Giles
- Hobson, drained by Kralik and Blair
- Kralik, burned after taking his pills with holy water
Behind the Scenes
- This story had the working title "18" as it is set around Buffy's eighteenth birthday.
- David Fury reveals in the commentary of this episode that the name "Zachary Kralik" came from his own nephew's name.
- The scene were Buffy is chased through the alleyway is reminiscent of Sarah-Michelle Gellar’s chase scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer.
- According to David Fury's commentary the original idea for this episode was for Buffy to be drugged by the Council and hallucinate her friends and family as vampires. This was abandoned however as it was too close to the premise of 'The Wish' and Kristine Sutherland who played Joyce was claustrophobic and couldn't stand the vampire makeup.
- Buffy lists some good things about being a normal girl in this exchange cut for length:
- Buffy: "I mean, there's a plus side to being a regular girl. The whole not-bleeding-killing-and-dying experience."
- Willow: "As for example."
- Buffy: "Then there's buying outfits without worrying if they're good for bleeding-killing-and-dying in. There's a lot of good to it."
Pop Culture References
- The book Angel gave to Buffy for her birthday was Sonnets From the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
- Christophe Beck - "A Father's Love"
- Christophe Beck - "Betrayal"
- Christophe Beck - "Kralik's House" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Score)
|Angel - "Um, am I seeing you this weekend? Y-You probably have plans."|
|Buffy - "Right, birthday. Um, actually do have a thing."|
|Angel - "Oh. A thing. Date?"|
|Buffy - "Nice attempt at casual. Actually, I do have a date. Older man. Very handsome. Likes it when I call him 'Daddy'."|
|Angel - "Oh, your father. (chuckles slightly before reverting to a tense expression) It is your father, right?"|
|Buffy - (nods, amused) "He's taking me to a ice show. It should be big fun. I could use some fun."|
|Kralik - (to a bound and gagged Joyce) "I'll have your daughter. I won't kill her; I'll just make her like me. Different. She'll go to sleep, and when she wakes up, your face will be the first thing she eats. (stops and considers something) I have a problem with mothers. (chuckles) I'm aware of that."|
|Buffy - "Just feel better when I get my strength back." [tries to open a bottle of jar]|
|Xander - "Give you a hand with that, little lady?"|
|Buffy - "You're loving this far too much."|
|Xander - "Admit it. Sometimes you just need a big strong man.(struggles to open it) Uh, Will, gimme a hand with that?"|
|Giles - "You're waging a war. She's fighting it. There is a difference."|
|Travers - "Mr. Giles, if you don't mind..."|
|Giles - "The test is done. We're finished."|
|Travers - "Not quite. She passed. You didn't. The Slayer is not the only one who must perform in this situation. I've recommended to the Council, and they've agreed, that you be relieved of your duties as Watcher immediately. You're fired."|
|Giles - "On what grounds?"|
|Travers - "Your affection for your charge makes you incapable of clear and inpartial judgement. You have a father's love for the child and that makes you useless to the cause."|
|Angel - "I saw you before you became the Slayer."|
|Buffy - "What?"|
|Angel - "I watched you, and I saw you called. It was a bright afternoon out in front of your school. You walked down the steps ... and ... and I loved you."|
|Buffy - "Why?"|
|Angel - "'Cause I could see your heart. You held it before you for everyone to see. And I worried that it would be bruised or torn. And more than anything in my life I wanted to keep it safe ... to warm it with my own."|
|Buffy - "That's beautiful. Or taken literally, incredibly gross."|
|Angel - "I was just thinking that, too."|
|Buffy - "I'm way off my game. My game's left the country. It's in Cuernavaca."|
|Buffy - "Okay, I just got swatted down by some no-neck and rescued by Cordelia. What the hell is happening?!"|
|Giles - "I'm sure it'll sort itself out."|
|Buffy - "You're not getting the big picture here. I have no strength. I have no coordination. I throw knives like..."|
|Giles - "A girl?"|
|Buffy - "Get...off me! Somebody, please! Aah! Help me, please! Somebody! Somebody please help me!"|
|Buffy - [to Giles] "Who are you? How could you do this to me? [...] You stuck a needle in me. You poisoned me(!) [...] I don't know you."|
|Buffy - (as she watches Holy Water melt Kralik from the inside out) "If I was at full Slayer power, I'd be punning right about now."|