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The Killer in Me

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 7, Episode 13
713 KillerInMe
Air date February 4, 2003
Written by Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
previous
"Potential"
next
"First Date"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Special Guest Starring
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Adam Busch Warren
Tom Lenk Andrew
Iyari Limon Kennedy
Elizabeth Anne Allen Amy
Megalyn Echikunwoke Vaughne
Rif Hutton General
Co Starring
Terence Bernie Hines Shopkeeper
Anna Maria Maccarrone Waitress
Band (Aberdeen)
Beth Arzy Singer
John Girgus Guitar Player
Johnny Joyner Bass Player
Brian Espinosa Drummer

"The Killer in Me" is the thirteenth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred thirty-fifth episode altogether. It was written by Drew Z. Greenberg and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on February 4, 2003.

Willow must face her own demons after her first kiss with Kennedy has an unexpected, magical result when she turns into Warren Mears. Buffy gets in touch with the government about Spike's chip, which is malfunctioning.

Synopsis

Giles prepares to take the Potential Slayers on a trip to the desert to meet the First Slayer. Kennedy, who's sick with the flu, stays home and after hearing about all the bickering and problems with the Potentials and their driving trip, Giles wishes he was staying home too. Buffy goes to check on Spike, who's chained up in the basement. They chat about the girls being gone and Spike's decision to stay chained up until they know the First Evil is through with him. While they talk about dealing with that problem, Spike's starts to writhe in pain as unexpectedly, the chip starts frying his brain.

713 KillerInMe1

Willow: It's the man that I killed.

Buffy talks with Willow in the kitchen about Spike's chip and what little they actually know about it. Willow goes upstairs and finds Kennedy is not sick and she's getting dressed for a "mission" which requires Willow's assistance. The mission turns out to be drinks at The Bronze and the sneakiness of it doesn't impress Willow much. Kennedy does manage to get Willow to stay long enough to finish her drink and she starts up conversation about Willow's sexuality. Eventually, Willow opens up and talks about being gay and her relationship with Tara. Back in the basement, Buffy checks on Spike again and after they talk about the potential causes of the chip's glitches, Buffy realizes she's going to have to contact the people who helped put the chip in his head in the first place. Buffy tries to reach Riley on the phone while Spike's chip continues to cause him terrible pain.

Willow and Kennedy finish their drinks as they continue to chat about why Kennedy is interested in Willow. Back at the house, Willow returns to her room and Kennedy follows. Kennedy moves in and kisses Willow, but the kiss has a surprising effect: it makes Willow take on the appearance of Warren. Willow panics and rushes downstairs and scares the rest of the gang with her appearance and potential First Evil quality. It takes some convincing, but once Buffy actually hits Warren and Willow reminds Xander of some other kindergarten stories she knows, they realize it's not The First. Willow goes off to handle her glamour problem, but she finds unwanted company in Kennedy tagging along.

After yet another attack of Spike's chip, Buffy and Spike return to the site of the Initiative in hopes of getting some of the drugs Spike was supposedly given to subdue him whenever his chip went crazy. They climb back inside the buried building through a trap door in the ground.

The Watcher Robson calls the Summers' residence and informs the gang about Giles's seemingly fatal encounter with the Bringers and an ax, mentioning that he blacked out just as the Bringer was about to swing and by the time he woke up Giles was gone. This gives the gang concern, since Giles never mentioned this to any of them start to question whether Giles survived that encounter or not, as if he died then the First may have taken his form to infiltrate Buffy's inner circle. Andrew mentions that the First is incorporeal so they'd know it was really Giles if any of them have touched him... but no-one can recall actually doing so. and worry when none of them can remember a time when Giles actually touched someone. Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew quickly rush to the desert knowing that if Giles is really the First then he has successfully isolated all the potentials. They discover when they are able to touch him that it is really Giles leaving him annoyed with them.

713 KillerInMe3

Buffy: That guy was... just the beginning.

Willow takes Kennedy to meet with the Wiccan group at UC-Sunnydale. She's surprised to see that Amy is a part of the group and claims to have changed her magical ways. Amy attempts to help Willow rid herself of the glamor, but the spell Amy tries brings forth another surprise: A burst of Warren from inside of Willow. Willow tries to run away as she realizes she's not just looking like Warren, she's becoming him. Kennedy tries to follow, but Willow puts up a magical barrier to keep her from doing so.

713 KillerInMe2

Giles: Now wait a minute — you think I'm evil... if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and don't touch them?

Buffy and Spike wander through the remains of the Initiative and pass by the many dead bodies of the human and demon sort that were sealed inside. Meanwhile, Willow runs outside in tears but Warren begins to take more control and he heads off on a mission. Inside the Initiative, Spike and Buffy hear noises and then are attacked by a demon. Buffy is knocked down by the demon while Spike's chip misfires again. The demon grabs Spike and drags him off into the darkness.

Kennedy returns to the school and finds Amy packing up supplies and the rest of the group gone. Amy comments on Kennedy's concern for Willow, but Kennedy gets suspicious when she realizes Amy knows she's a Potential and that fact was never mentioned to her.

Guided by Warren, Willow goes to the gun shop where he bought his last deadly weapon and Willow buys the same one. Giles is tackled to the ground by Xander and the others and they're all pleased to find that he has a solid form and is not the First Evil.

Buffy battles with and finally kills the demon inside the Initiative. As she crouches down by Spike, lights turn on and a flood of military men reveal themselves. The commanding officer explains that Buffy's attempted contact with Riley was successful and that they're there to help her and Spike. Buffy talks with the commanding officer and he reveals that Spike's chip is a danger to him now. She is given the choice to decide whether the chip is fixed or removed.

Kennedy confronts Amy about the fact that Amy is responsible for Willow's current "Warren" problem. Amy reveals that she put a hex on Willow for fun because Willow was able to do so much evil and still get the love of her friends back. Kennedy is determined to save Willow and stop Amy, but Amy's not threatened. Armed with a gun, Willow charges into Buffy's backyard where Kennedy is waiting after being transported by Amy. Willow starts to relive the moment of Tara's death from Warren's perspective, but Kennedy talks her down. Through her sobs, Willow reveals that she turned into Warren not because he was the man she murdered—but because he was Tara's killer. She tells Kennedy that when she kissed her, she forgot just for a moment to grieve for Tara, and in forgetting, she let her truly die—in essence, killing her. She then says she's worried that she's going to lose the battle with Warren for her body. Kennedy convinces her otherwise and brings Willow back by kissing her.

Continuity

  • During the same time that Spike is chained in the basement, Angel is also caged in Los Angeles — both for the reason that, if free, each of them is a threat to their respective groups.
  • What Willow said when she first enters Buffy's backyard with the gun is similar to (but not exactly) what Warren said before he shot Buffy. Willow said, "you think you could just do that to me? That I'd let you get away with it?" while Warren said, "you think you could just do that to me? You think I'd let you get away with that?"[1]
  • The vision quest was implied to be the same as Buffy underwent previously.[2] Giles remarked that someone (meaning Buffy) told the potentials that the vision quest involved dancing the Hokey-Pokey.
  • After Kennedy and Willow kissed, they went to see The Daughters of Gaea, which was also where Willow and Tara first met.[3] They finally started using real magic, but still held bake-sales every month.
  • Although a military committee ordered the Initiative to be filled with cement,[4] at least portions of it remained intact.
  • The way Andrew confronted the First showed that he was beginning to feel remorse and take responsibility for what he did. His behavior when talking about the possibility that Giles could be the First also showed he had finally realized the gravity of the events around him, was beginning to take them seriously and began to genuinely want to make amends.
  • Buffy has trouble trying to directly contact Riley, despite the fact that both he and Sam gave the Scoobies their secure email addresses in "As You Were." Surely the Government has made them change: though allies, they know that Willow, other than a powerful witch, is a formidable hacker.
  • Willow, when possessed by Warren's spirit, is actually incapable of using her huge magical prowess.
  • The gang learns of Giles' possible death. It's confirmed however that he is in fact alive. His survival is explained in the next episode.

Body Count

  • an Initiative demon, impaled by Buffy

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • Anthony Stewart Head was not allowed to touch anything while onscreen for several episodes prior to this one, in order to set up the suspicion that Giles might actually be the First. According to the DVD commentary for this episode, this was apparently quite a pain for all involved. When asked why he set up this misdirection, Joss Whedon says it was "to make people wonder. Just to have a little fun in the sense of pulling a mystery... an exercise, something to spice things up." Whedon wanted to play off the "creepy" idea that "we don't know where the bad guy is, we don't know where he's coming from. Our trusted mentor could be the bad guy."
  • Each scene with Willow/Warren was filmed twice - once with Alyson Hannigan playing Willow and again with Adam Busch as Willow. Which actor performed the scene first depended upon how "Willow" Warren was supposed to be. That is, when Willow first changes into Warren she acts more or less like Willow; in these early scenes Hannigan would act first so that Busch could somewhat mimic her performance. In later scenes when Warren's personality is more prominent Busch would act first. Because of this decision to use both actors, filming the Willow scenes took much longer than usual. In an interview with the BBC, Elizabeth Anne Allen says, "everything had to be so exact." She explains that if Alyson or Adam "gestured or moved their head differently from the other person, they had to do the take over again. So that one scene took us a day and a half to shoot."
  • In the DVD commentary, director David Solomon notes that Iyari Limon had to do a lot of kissing in this episode. He says she joked that her lips hurt after having to do long kisses with both Alyson Hannigan and Adam Busch.

Deleted Scenes

  • An exchange between Giles and Dawn was cut due to length:
Giles: "Well, thank goodness I needn't worry myself with the idea of bad things happening in my absence. You getting shot, for example. Or throwing everybody in the basement and trying to kill them. Or Willow turning evil..."
Dawn: "Oooh, don't forget, Anya turned evil too."
  • Willow's line was cut due to length:
Willow: "The chip operates on intent, and Spike didn't intend to hurt..."

Pop Culture References

  • When Spike asks Buffy "who you gonna call?" concerning his chip, he becomes self-aware of his unintentional Ghostbusters reference.
  • Kennedy mentions Gone with the Wind as the movie that made her realize she was gay, saying she wanted to "sweep Scarlett off her feet."
  • When listing the reasons she likes Willow, Kennedy cites Moulin Rouge.
  • After she is teleported by Amy, Kennedy says "That was a hell of a thing," a line used in the film Galaxy Quest after being transported by a Star Trek-esque beam.

International titles

  • German: Der Mörder in mir (The Killer in Me)

Music

Other

  • While this episode is predominantly Willow-centric, it also focuses a great deal on Spike and Giles too.
  • The tactic of showing Willow as Willow for some scenes where she is really in the form of Warren is repeated in Supernatural, in the episode "Swap Meat" where Sam and Gary switch bodies, and Sam appears as Sam while Gary appears as Gary for the entire episode (aside from the beginning), despite looking like the other to all characters.

Quotes

Andrew - "Oh, good. Let me just get some tapes for the car. I’ve been working on this mix—"
Xander - "You’re not coming."
Andrew - "What? Why? ‘Cause I used to be evil?"
Xander - "No, actually ‘cause you’re annoying. But that’s a good reason, too."
Giles - "Now wait a minute, you think I'm evil if I bring a group of girls on a camping trip and don't touch them?"
Willow - "I'm Willow."
Xander - "Are you sure?"
Willow - "You know, there are other stories from kindergarten. Non yellow crayon stories in which you don't come out in such a good light. An incident involving Aquaman Underoos, for example. Want me to start talkin'?"
Xander - "Hey, Willow!"
Giles - "Do you think they appreciate the gravity of what we're undertaking? It's frightening, and it's difficult. And then, apparently, someone told them that the vision quest consists of me driving them to the desert, doing the hokey pokey until a spooky Rasta-mama Slayer arrives and speaks to them in riddles."
Buffy - "That's not exactly how I put it..."
Kennedy - "It was Gone with the Wind. I saw that, and I knew I wanted to sweep Scarlet off her feet."
Willow - "You were five."
Kennedy - "Well, I'm not saying the sweeping would have been easy... What?"
Willow - "I just — I still don't get it. Why you like me. I mean, you don't even know me."
Kennedy - "Have you seen you?"

References

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