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Same Time, Same Place

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 7, Episode 3
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Air date October 8, 2002
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by James A. Contner
Episode Guide
"Beneath You"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Co Starring
Camden Toy Gnarl
Anthony S. Johnson Father
Matt Koruba Teen Boy
Nicholette Dixon Sister
Marshe Daniel Brother

"Same Time, Same Place" is the third episode of seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the hundred twenty-fifth episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by James A. Contner. It originally broadcast on October 8, 2002.

Willow cannot find her friends in Sunnydale, where a flayed body has been found.


703 STSP1

Buffy, Dawn, and Xander await Willow at the airport.

At the airport, Buffy, Dawn, and Xander are waiting for Willow's return from England. As passengers leave the plane, Buffy and Dawn discuss the fact they're not sure how they're going to act around Willow since the last time they saw her she had killed and was ready to kill them, but Xander intends to just treat her as he normally would pointing out that Giles wouldn't have let her return until she'd completely recovered. Buffy then admits that Willow hadn't completed Giles's lessons causing Dawn to worry. As Buffy assures her sister that Giles would not have sent Willow back if she was any kind of danger to them Xander realizes all the passengers have disembarked but there's no sign of Willow...

At this point, the same scene replays except Willow leaves the plane with the other passengers however Buffy, Dawn and Xander are no longer there waiting for her. Willow is dejected that her friends weren't there to welcome her home.

Meanwhile, at a construction site, a young man spray paints a wall of a construction site as a creepy, sing-song voice taunts him from the shadows and then attacks.

Willow lets herself into the Summers house, which appears to be vacant. Going up to what used to be her room, but now has been claimed by Buffy, Willow is reminded of Tara's death. She looks through Buffy's planner and sees contact numbers for everyone but herself, deepening her fears that Buffy, Xander and Dawn no longer consider her a friend. A door closes and Willow goes to investigate, but still her friends are nowhere to be seen. Alone, Willow curls up on the couch. Buffy, Xander, and Dawn return home. Giles has confirmed that Willow definitely should have boarded her plane, however she may have diverted during her transfer in Chicago, or may possibly have slipped away and never left England in the first place. They hear a noise upstairs and check it out, but find nothing. In the living room, the three talk about the reason for Willow's disappearance.

The next morning, Willow tries to call Giles but can't get through as he is in a long meeting with the Watcher's Council. She then heads for the remains of the Magic Box and finds Anya collecting some things from the now burnt out building. Anya is very cold to her and Willow feels guilty about everything. They talk a bit and Anya fills Willow in on everyone's activities since she's been gone. Willow checks out Xander's construction site and instead of Xander, she finds a skinned body. At the same time, Xander and Buffy are looking at the body and the familiar sight makes them wonder if Willow has embraced dark magic again. They hear a noise but cannot see a disgusted Willow climbing the ladder behind them to exit the site at that very moment.

703 STSP2

Xander: I know exactly what you're thinking. Maybe Willow is back.

Willow walks the halls of Sunnydale High and proceeds down to the basement where she finds Spike acting insane. He talks to Willow about the dead body, but also carries on a conversation with something or someone else in the room that Willow can't see. Buffy and Xander maneuver through the basement and find Spike seemingly talking to himself. Buffy and Xander try to get information from him, but Spike is simultaneously conversing with Willow, so his words make little sense. Spike suspects they can't see each other and that Willow's responsible for it. Buffy and Xander interpret some of Spike's comments to mean that he knows about Willow and they suspect she might have something to do with Spike's unstable condition.

Willow goes to Anya at her apartment for help in finding the demon that skinned the guy at the construction site. Anya helps Willow cast a spell to locate demons all over Sunnydale. After the spell is complete, Willow asks Anya to teleport to a cave just outside of the town that showed up on the map. But Anya reveals that she can't for non-vengeance business as a result of her recently undoing a spell.

703 STSP3

Spike: Everyone's talking to me. No one's talking to each other.

Instead, Willow takes the long way and walks there herself. At the Summers' house, Dawn immediately begins searching on the computer for demons that skin people. Although Buffy thinks it's a waste of time, Dawn soon finds a demon that meets their specifications named Gnarl. The demon paralyzes its victims with its nails, and then eats strips of skin from the body and drinks the blood.

Realizing they need to search for the scent of blood, Buffy decides to recruit Spike to assist in tracking the demon. He leads them to a cave where the demon can be found. Willow is already there investigating the cave and the Gnarl spots her. The rest of the gang enters the cave as well, but they don't see Willow. The demon scratches Dawn's stomach, inducing paralysis. Buffy and Xander take Dawn out of the cave and blockade the entrance, unintentionally trapping Willow with Gnarl. Trapped in the cave, Willow listens to the demon taunt her from the shadows in its sing-song voice. He slices her abdomen with a nail and thus paralyzed Willow is helpless against him as he sucks at the wound and starts to slice away slivers of her skin to eat.

703 Gnarl

Gnarl: Gnarl makes a pretty picture. It's easy when you know how. It's easy when everyone helps. They helped me. Too bad there's no one to help you.

Buffy and Xander carry a completely paralyzed Dawn into the living room while Buffy researches the Gnarl and the way to save Dawn. Anya is called to stay with Dawn while they prepare to return to the cave to kill the demon and save Dawn. Anya talks about seeing Willow and reveals that Willow may be at the cave. Panicked that Willow is trapped in the cave, Buffy grabs Anya to join them at the cave. Once Anya reveals that she knows about Gnarl, Buffy insists she come along. Gnarl continues to eat Willow's skin as he tells her that her friends have abandoned her and she's all alone for him to eat. Buffy arrives and attacks Gnarl while Anya tends to a badly injured Willow who still can't see her friends. While Buffy fights Gnarl, Anya informs Willow that her friends didn't leave her alone.

Buffy pokes the demon in the eyes with her thumbs, successfully killing it and ending the paralysis on both Willow and Dawn. Buffy and Xander look where they think Willow is while Anya runs for help, and slowly the spell making them invisible to each other wears off. Willow is relieved to see her friends and glad they didn't abandon her.

In the morning, Willow meditates and uses magic from the earth to re-grow the skin she lost. Buffy stops by to talk with Willow for the first time since their fight in the Magic Box. Willow reveals that her fear of seeing her friends and their judgment of her led to the invisibility problem from which they all were suffering. Buffy confesses her guilt over briefly suspecting Willow of the grotesque killing when Xander didn't, but Willow doesn't blame her for that, noting that Xander probably did suspect and she even suspected herself. Willow struggles to start meditating again, but she's still weak. Buffy offers her Slayer strength to her friend and joins in the meditation.


  • When Willow asks Anya to help her do a demon locator spell, Anya asks her "This isn't gonna get all sexy, is it?" The question alludes to the use of magic in Seasons Four and Six (in scenes involving Willow and her now-deceased girlfriend, Tara Maclay) to represent lesbian sex. One of the candles used carries the Chinese character for love.
  • Xander waits for Willow at the airport with a welcome back sign written in yellow crayon. This is a callback to "Grave", when Xander mentioned to Dark Willow that she cried in kindergarten when she broke a yellow crayon.
  • After slaying the Gnarl, Xander remarks "Eww, thumbs?!". Later this season Xander loses an eye from Caleb's thumb.
  • Anya is seen cleaning up the debris from The Magic Box following the events of "Grave".
  • Willow and Anya are seen performing another spell together like they did in the season three episode "Doppelgangland".
  • On the map of Sunnydale, the location of the demon is labeled Wilkins Grove, after Mayor Wilkins.
  • During the spell, the area on the map that represents the high school starts to burn up due to the vast number of dots. This is an early indication of The First's army of Turok-Hans within the Hellmouth.
  • The site where Dawn finds information about Gnarl—"Demons, Demons, Demons"—seems to be the same that Cordelia uses (in Angel) to find demons faster than Wesley, which has been used as a comedic joke several times in Angel.
  • When Spike says "What's a word means 'glowing'... Gotta rhyme," it is an allusion to the episode "Fool for Love" in which Spike, in a flashback as a human, was trying to think of a word that went with "gleaming" for a poem he was writing before being rejected by Cecily.
  • This is the first instance of Dawn fully participating in a "Scooby-hunt", taking the role of a backup/replacement for Giles in researching.
  • Anya's falling out with the demon community continues (she can no longer idly teleport).
  • Amongst the burnt items Anya is taking from the wreckage of The Magic Shop is the mummy hand from Life Serial.
  • Gnarl is conveniently immune to magics, but he cannot eliminate Willow's enormous magical power. Then it's incongruous that Willow doesn't use it on other external elements, let's say, to throw or make fall over him boulders and rocks, or herself, to levitate to be inaccessible.
  • The affectionate and tender scene between Buffy and Willow at the end makes definitely amend of their previous confrontation, the brutal and violent fight at The Magic Shop in Two to go.
  • Willow tells Anya to "teleport like a bunny" before regretting those words, referencing Anya's bunny fear.

Body Count

  • One young boy, skin extracted by Gnarl.
  • Gnarl, killed by Buffy by bursting his eyes with her thumbs.

Behind the Scenes


  • This is the only episode of the series not to feature any guest stars billed at the start of the episode.
  • Dawn mentions to Buffy, "and I can wear heels more often." The comment could be a reference to Michelle Trachtenberg's desire to wear heels instead of sneakers in season seven, which she mentioned to Joss Whedon during an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion with cast and crew.

Deleted Scenes

  • This line of Dawn's in which she points out that Willow could be the one to blame for her own problems, was cut due to length:
Dawn: "Instead everyone just keeps secrets, and suffers alone, and then we're supposed to be all sympathetic when they start ripping the skins off people or dragging their sisters to the basement! I may have some stuff to work through."

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • The demon "Gnarl" is said, by Dawn, to be a parasite because he eats the flesh of his victims until they die. This is actually incorrect; parasites do not kill their victims. Gnarl is a parasitoid. He eventually kills his "host" or victim.

Pop Culture References

  • Spike: "Button, button, who's got the button?"
    This is a children's game, of which there are quite a few variations. One is for a group of people sit in a circle, with one player hiding the button on their person, while another player has to try and guess who has it. Another is closer to hide and seek, where one hider conceals the button somewhere in a room and everyone else has to try to find it. (The line was also used in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.)
  • Dawn: "It's smellementary!"
    This is a play on the Sherlock Holmes catchphrase, "It's elementary!" The character of Holmes was created by Sir Arther Conan Doyle, who wrote a series of books and stories (1887 - 1927) in which the brilliant and theatrical Holmes solves all his extraordinarily complex cases through ingenious deductive reasoning. His sober, credulous companion, Dr. Watson, narrates most of the Sherlock Holmes stories. However, this phrase is never once uttered in any of Sir Arthur's works.
  • Xander: "You'll be doing limbo in no time."
    Limbo is a game/dance of West Indian origins in which the dancers, one by one, bend over backward to pass under a pole that is lowered slightly each time they go under it.


International titles

  • German: Willows Welt (Willows World)


  • The Gnarl eating Willow's skin rivals Warren's death as one of the most gruesome moments of the show.


Xander - "I saved the world with talking! From my mouth! My mouth saved the world!"
Xander - "We could ask some questions over at Willy's Place."
Buffy - "Or we could be smart ... Sorry, Xander."
Xander - "What?"
Xander - "I found it first thing this morning. I gave my crew the day off, and I called you right away."
Buffy - "I got to get a job where I don't get called right away for this stuff."
Dawn - "It's smellementary!"
Dawn - "Stop talking about vomit!"

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