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The Dark Age

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 2, Episode 8
Darkage
Air date November 10, 1997
Written by Dean Batali
Rob Des Hotel
Directed by Bruce Seth Green
Episode Guide
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"Lie to Me"
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"What's My Line, Part One"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Charisma Carpenter Cordelia
David Boreanaz Angel
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Robia LaMorte Jenny
Robin Sachs Ethan
Stuart McLean Phillip
Co Starring
Wendy Way Dierdre
Michael Earl Reid Custodian
Daniel Henry Murray Creepy Cult Guy
Carlease Burke Detective Winslow
Tony Sears Morgue Attendant
John Bellucci Man
Uncredited
Chris O'Hara Vampire
Trinity Stiles Vampire

"The Dark Age" is the eighth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the twentieth episode altogether. It was written by Joss Whedon, Dean Batali and Rob Des Hotel and directed by Bruce Seth Green. It was originally brodacast on November 10, 1997.

Giles's past comes back to haunt him as a demon he and Ethan Rayne summoned in their wild youth seeks them out in Sunnydale.

Synopsis

A man tries to get into the library to see Giles but a demonic woman shows up and strangles him to death. He falls to the floor, and she turns into a puddle of green slime.

At school, we see Buffy and Willow playing the game 'Anywhere But Here', in which they recount some of their fantasies; Buffy is on a beach before sunset having her feet rubbed by Gavin Rossdale; Willow is in Florence at a restaurant eating ziti when she is joined by John Cusack. Giles tells Buffy to meet him later at the hospital where there will be a blood delivery, which attracts vampires. Giles runs into Jenny Calendar, who invites him for a date that weekend, a date that will involve them "staying in". When a cheerful Giles gets back to the library, a detective is waiting for him—the dead man had Giles' address on him. Giles identifies the body as that of an old friend from London. The body has a tattoo on it, which Giles claims he can't identify.

Shaken, Giles forgets to meet Buffy at the hospital, and she battles the vampires, who are disguised as doctors, alone until Angel shows up. She asks Angel to see that the blood gets to the hospital and goes to check on Giles. When Buffy goes to Giles' house to see what happened, he looks terribly drunk and sends her away. He calls a friend in London and finds out that she's dead, too. He crosses her name off of a list, and we see that several other names have also been crossed off. As he rolls up his sleeves, we see he has the same tattoo as his friend. Meanwhile, the dead friend, Phillip, comes back to life in the morgue, his eyes flashing, and escapes.

On Saturday, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia meet with Jenny Calendar for a computer class. Buffy shows up to express her concern about Giles' behavior. Cordelia mentions the police visit to the library, which slipped her Cordelia-centered mind. In the library, Buffy finds Ethan, the costume shop owner and Giles's former friend, who had almost gotten her killed on Halloween. As she calls Giles, Ethan mentions the "Mark of Eyghon". Giles says she's in danger, and the dead Phillip enters.

A panicked Giles shows up and, after a scuffle which leaves Jenny unconscious, Phillip turns into the green goo. Some of it gets on Jenny and when she comes to, she seems normal but we see her eyes flash. Willow then discovers the "Mark of Eyghon" in a book: Eyghon possesses the body of a dead or unconscious host. They figure out that he's jumped from Phillip's body to Jenny's. Jenny then tries to seduce Giles at his apartment. When he rebuffs her due to her recent trauma, the demon changes her appearance and voice so that it is clear it is no longer Jenny, and attacks. When Buffy comes to the rescue, Jenny/Demon jumps out the window. Giles explains to Buffy that he ran with a bad crowd when he was young, and they used being possessed by Eyghon as a temporary high—directing the demon into and out of each others' bodies. It was fun until Eyghon killed the friend he was possessing. At that point, Giles left the group. More recently, Eygon killed the woman who killed Phillip, and now it seems Eyghon is seeking out the rest of the group to kill, too. Buffy goes to the deserted costume shop to try to help Ethan but he knocks her out, ties her up and puts the mark of Eyghon on her. He then pours acid on his own tattoo so that Eyghon will take Buffy instead of him. Jenny enters, now looking completely demonic, and approaches Buffy. But Buffy breaks free and starts fighting. Angel enters suddenly and chokes Jenny: Eyhgon's spirit then leaves her body and enters Angel's, since he's really dead (which happened to be Willow's plan all along). Eyghon fights Angel's demon, and is beaten. Jenny returns back to normal, but Ethan escapes.

Back at school, Jenny is cool to Rupert, who thinks she'll never forgive him.

Continuity

  • This is the first episode to establish details about Giles' more "wild" youth, though it was foreshadowed in "Halloween". His wild past will occasionally return to haunt him throughout the series.
  • Due to the events that take place in this episode, Giles' and Jenny's relationship becomes strained.
  • In this episode, Giles slams a door in Buffy's face. Buffy does the same thing six years later at the end of the episode "Lies My Parents Told Me".
  • Buffy and Willow later play the "Anywhere But Here" game in the season 8 comic of the same name. This time in Buffy's fantasy she is approached by Daniel Craig whilst lying on the beach then being the object of affection for 2 different Christian Bale characters. Willow's fantasy has changed to herself and Tina Fey being trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm.
  • Xander's comment, "nobody can be wound as straight and narrow as Giles without a dark side erupting," is also interesting if applied to Willow Rosenberg, regarding later episodes such as "Grave".
  • This episode marks one of the first instances of Willow demonstrating leadership in the Scooby Gang in place of Buffy or Giles, something which will come into greater significance later in the series.
  • Xander refers to his Uncle Rory being a taxidermist. This is corroborated by Rory pointing out a poorly stuffed animal head at Xander and Anya's wedding.
  • Later, it was demonstrated that Eyghon was never destroyed and survived by possessing a dead rat. It was the first time that the fate of a character was retconed on the Buffyverse. Contrary to other characters who are returned in a living dead, astral form or resurrected.
  • Xander is shown protecting Cordelia during Eyghon's attack in the library foreshadowing their growing relationship.
  • Cordelia's character is shown to be evolving: while she is initially only at the school for a Saturday class, she offers her help instead of being asked because she cares about Giles, showing that she's becoming more caring. In the past she usually seems to be helping the Scooby Gang because of the situation or because they asked her rather than offering her help.
  • Near the end where Buffy, Willow and Xander where walking into the school, Buffy mentions that she was "saving up for some very important shoes, and now I have to blow my entire allowance to get this stupid tattoo removed." But afterwards when Buffy was talking to Giles, she had her back turned to the camera, and the tattoo is not there where Ethan Rayne put it on her upper back just below her neck. While it could be argued that her hair was concealing it, the tail of the tattoo extends farther than the length of her hair at the time.

Body Count

  • Randall, killed and possessed by Eyghon (in Giles' memory)
  • Thomas Sutcliffe, killed and possessed by Eyghon (only mentioned)
  • Diedre Page, killed and possessed earlier by Eyghon the Sleepwalker
  • Philip Henry, killed and possessed by Eyghon outside of the Sunnydale High library
  • Two unidentified vampires dusted by Buffy outside Sunnydale Hospital
  • Eyghon the Sleepwalker, kicked out of Angel by the demon inside him and died with no host (However, his fate is retconed in the comic.)

Behind the Scenes

Broadcast

  • "The Dark Age" pulled in an audience of 3.7 million households on its original airing.[1]

Pop Culture References

  • Giles lends Jenny Calendar a first edition novel by British author E.M. Forster(1879-1970). Forster's most famous works are A Room With A View, Howard's End and A Passage To India.
  • Giles mentions that he's a fan of The Bay City Rollers. They were a band in the 1970s. Their best-selling record was 'Saturday Night'.
  • Buffy says to Giles in The Dark Age, "I care from you Lost Weekend-ing in your apartment!". The Lost Weekend (1945) is a movie about the effects of alcoholism on a man's life. The film was based on the novel by Charles R. Jackson. The movie won a number of Academy Awards: best picture, best actor (Ray Milland), best director (Billy Wilder) and best screenplay (Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett).
  • In "Halloween", Ethan had left behind a note on the counter of the costume shop which had said, "Be seeing you." Eyghon leaves Giles' apartment after possessing Ms. Calendar and also leaves a note saying, "Be seeing you." The phrase is likely a reference to 1960s cult paranoia TV-drama, The Prisoner.
  • After recovering from her possession, Jenny tells Giles "I mean, I'm not running around, wind in my hair, 'The hills are alive with the sound of music' fine, but... I'm coping." She is referencing the title song of The Sound of Music (1959) written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. The movie starred Julie Andrews in 1965.
  • A Mimicposter can be seen in the movie theater.
  • Buffy and Willow's game of "Anywhere But Here" results in mentions of Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of the rock band Bush; John Cusack, the eternally youthful star of such great movies as Better Off Dead (1985), Say Anything (1989), and Grosse Pointe Blank (1997); and Xander's addition is Amy Yip, a sexy and often scantily-clad model and actress from Hong Kong.
  • The music to which Buffy aerobicizes and Giles objects, despite being updated to a late-'90s techno idiom, quotes a prominent guitar riff from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The riff underscores the 39 Lashes in the "Trial Before Pilate", appears prominently in the Overture, and opens the song "Heaven on Their Minds", which is sung by the character Judas Iscariot—a role originated by Anthony Stewart Head's older brother Murray Head on the original 1970 concept album of the musical.

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • After Buffy finds Ethan at the library and calls Giles, they are attacked by Philip Henry, who calls Ethan's name. The closed captioning erroneously refers to Philip as a vampire.
  • Wendy Way's character is spelled "Diedre" on Giles' paper, but "Dierdre" in the credits.
  • Cordelia mentions that one way to kill a demon is to cut off its head. However, some demons, like Lorne, can't be killed by decapitation (Although this can be excused due to Cordelia's currently limited knowledge of demons and the fact that only a few rare demons have been confirmed to be invulnerable to this method of death).
  • Cordelia says she knows Giles was being questioned for a homicide case. However, during Giles' interview with the detective, the only time the word homicide was mentioned was before Cordelia entered the library.
  • Willow discovers the origin of the Mark of Eyghon, explaining that its "not Egyptian it's Etruscan, mistaken for Egyptian by the design pattern, but any fool can see it pre-dates their iconography". However, the Etruscan civilization's earliest records are dated to about 700 B.C.E. while the Ancient Egyptian civilization came together around 3000 B.C.E. In other words, the Etruscans did not pre-date the Egyptians.

Music

International Titles

  • Finnish: Pimeyden Voimat (the Powers of Darkness)
  • German: Das Mal des Eyghon (The Mark of Eyghon)

Other

Quotes

Buffy - "You know what the worst thing is? I was saving up for some very important shoes, and now I have to blow my entire allowance to get this stupid tattoo removed. Let’s just hope my mom doesn’t see it first."
Jenny - (to Willow) "We still on for tomorrow?" (Willow smiles and nods)
Xander - "What’s tomorrow?"
Jenny - "I’m reviewing some computer basics for the couple of students who’ve fallen behind. Willow’s helping out for extra credit."
Xander - (chuckles) "Those poor schlubs have to attend school on Saturday!" (smiles)
Jenny - "9:00 am okay with you, Xander?" (Xander’s smile fades. Willow bobs her head in amusement)
Giles - (after Buffy exercises to loud music) "Ahhh! Very good. And the rest is silence."
Buffy - "Have I ever let you down?"
Giles - "Do you want me to answer that, or shall I just glare?"
Xander - "I knew this would happen. Nobody can be wound as straight and narrow as Giles without a dark side erupting. My Uncle Rory was the stodgiest taxidermist you've ever met - by day. By night it was booze, whores and fur flying. Were there whores?"
Buffy - "He was alone."
Xander - "Give it time."
Xander - "Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there were only twelve grades."
Buffy - "He probably sat in math class thinking, 'There should be more math. This could be mathier'."
Willow - "Come on. You don't think he ever got restless as a kid?"
Buffy - "Are you kidding? His diapers were tweed."
Xander - "Ooo, gang, did you hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia, mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever."
Cordelia - "I can take a hint." (pause) "What's the hint?"
Buffy - (after Giles fails to show up) "I'm worried about Giles. He was supposed to meet me here."
Angel - "Maybe he's late."
Buffy - "Giles? Who counts tardiness as, like, the eighth deadly sin?"
Angel - "Right. Go."
Buffy - "Xander, how do you feel about digging through some of Giles' personal files and seeing what you can find?"
Xander - "I feel pretty good about it. Does that make me a sociopath?"
Giles - "I know music. Music has notes. This is noise."
Buffy - "I'm aerobicising! I must have a beat!"
Giles - "Wonderful. You work on your muscle tone while my brain dribbles out of my ears."
Jenny - "The first thing we're gonna do is... Buffy!"
Xander - "Huh? Did I fall asleep already?"
Cordelia - (after Eyghon's attack) "This is what happens when you have school on Saturday.

References

  1. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season." http://home.insightbb.com/~wahoskem/buffy2.html

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