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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 5, Episode 3
Anya replacement1
Air date October 10, 2000
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by James A. Contner
Episode Guide
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"Real Me"
Angel:
"Are You Now or Have You Ever Been"
next
"Out of My Mind"
Angel:
"First Impressions"
Cast
Starring
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Marc Blucas Riley
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Michael Bailey Smith Toth
Kristine Sutherland Joyce Summers
Co Starring
Kelly Donovan Xander Body Double
Cathy Cohen Building Manager
David Reivers Foreman
Fritz Greve Construction Worker

"The Replacement" is the third episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the eighty-first episode in the series. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by James A. Contner. It originally broadcast on October 10, 2000.

When Xander takes a mystical hit from the demon Toth that was intended for Buffy, he wakes up to find a mysterious double living his life in his place — and, frankly, doing a much better job of it.

Synopsis

503 Replacement1

Xander considers moving out from his parents’ basement

Xander and Anya watch a movie with Buffy and Riley while listening to the background noise of Xander’s drunken parents fighting and yelling upstairs. The next day, the gang looks at a potential new apartment for Xander. He doesn’t think he can afford it and this upsets Anya. Giles receives a visit from a demon searching for the Slayer. He later identifies the demon as Toth, the only survivor of the Tothric Clan.

The Scoobies check out the city dump in search of the demon and find Spike collecting. The demon hits Xander with light from a rod and knocks him to the ground. He gets to his feet and walks off with the rest of the gang, but there is another Xander still lying in a pile of trash. The next morning, one Xander awakens at the city dump and then discovers his double upon returning to his house. Meanwhile, Spike has put together a Buffy doll from mannequin parts which he uses to practice beating up on.

One of the Xanders is very confident and observant and gets a promotion at work, signs a lease for the apartment, and sets up a date with Anya. The other, hasty and emotional Xander watches as all this happens and finally confronts his double. After the two Xanders see each other, the confident Xander talks to Buffy and she makes this a matter of Slayer business.

Replacement256

Xander does the Snoopy Dance

Soaked by the rain, the "hasty" Xander goes to Willow and tries to explain that this double is taking over his life. He tells Willow that the double is doing a better job of living his life but then suddenly realizes that his double is going after Anya and that is one thing he won’t allow.

Anya and the "confident" Xander discuss their future and Anya expresses her fears about not living forever. Giles discovers that the rod Toth used split Xander into two real Xanders, one with weak qualities and the other with strong qualities. Toth’s actual plan had been to split Buffy into her human and Slayer forms, then killing the human Buffy as neither side can survive without the other. The hasty Xander crashes the date between confident Xander and Anya. Both think that the other is a demon and the hasty Xander pulls out a handgun he got from Anya’s apartment.

Xanderdouble

Xander’s sides finally accept each other

Buffy tells the doubles the truth about their situation and tries to convince them not to kill each other. Toth appears at the apartment, only Buffy and Riley fight and kill him. The two Xanders eventually begin to get along, and their actions become so similar to each other that the comment is made that Xander is a "bad influence" on himself. Giles and Willow research and come up with a way to reunite the two Xanders but Anya expresses disappointment over this as she wants both to stick around for some sexual shenanigans, much to the disturbance of the others. Willow ends the spell and makes Xander one again. While moving Xander into his new apartment, Xander and Riley talk. Riley confesses that despite how much he loves Buffy, he realizes that she doesn’t feel the same.

Continuity

  • Anya still has her arm on a sling, as she dislocated her shoulder when facing Harmony Gang in "Real Me".
  • Xander mentions Buffy had been in hell, a reference to the factory dimension she went in episode "Anne".
  • When Buffy and Dawn argue, Joyce grabs her head and refers to her "two teenage girls in the house" headache, all the while looking visibly distressed. While it is implied that she is being sarcastic, this exchange is, in fact, a prelude to the brain tumor she will develop, beginning in the next episode.
  • Xander gets a promotion at his construction job, he’s shown as presumably a foreman, which is the beginning of Xander being shown to have more responsibility on construction sites in later episodes. In Season 6’s "Once More, with Feeling", he tells Anya he had to shut his own crew for the day. In Season 7’s "Lessons", he arrives wearing a suit. In "Showtime" he indicates he may be responsible for multiple construction sites too.
  • Riley mentions Buffy’s obsession with bad ice skating movies. Buffy’s interest in ice skating has been previously mentioned in episodes like "What's My Line, Part One".
  • To prove to Willow that he’s the real Xander, the "hasty" Xander does the Snoopy Dance, which Willow had noted she likes seeing him do when she goes to his house to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas ("Passion").
  • The "hasty" Xander brushes off Willow’s remark, that he did not think earlier about the implication of the situation with Anya, by wondering how she would handle an evil twin. Willow mutters "Well I handled it fine," a reference to her her counterpart from the Wishverse she faced in "Doppelgangland".
  • Xander notices Anya’s conflict in being human and mortal, which she had became once again in "The Wish".
  • When Riley helps Xander pack up his things from his parent’s basement, Xander claims he envies Riley, for his sanity and not for Buffy, reaffirming "Not that I’m still into Buffy. Not that I ever was." This is a reference to Xander’s crush on Buffy in the first and much of the second seasons.
  • Riley reveals to Xander that he knows Buffy doesn’t love him back, which serves as the first solid indication of trouble in their relationship and a prelude to their break-up in the coming episodes.

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and Titles

Species

Locations

Weapons and Objects

Death Count

  • Toth, killed by Buffy with a sword.

Behind the Scenes

Production

  • Nicholas Brendon’s real-life twin brother Kelly Donovan is his body double for this episode. In almost all of the scenes, Nicholas Brendon played both suave and goofy Xander with his brother Kelly Donovan playing the double with the non-speaking role. Kelly only spoke in the scenes where both Xanders had speaking lines.
  • In a DVD feature highlighting the demons of the season, Jane Espenson reveals that Toth was named so just so she could work in the joke about "toth" being British slang.

Pop Culture References

  • Xander imitates the dances of the fictional character Snoopy.
  • Xander quotes "Kill us both, Spock" in reference to Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy", in which Kirk tells Spock to shoot both himself and Garth of Izar disguised as Kirk. But this episode is actually an homage to the Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within", in which Kirk is split into his two emotional halves.
  • Xander makes a comment about his Babylon 5 commemorative plates. While such plates were planned, they never actually went into production.
  • While talking to the apartment building manager, Xander jokes about buying a Klingon costume, which also references Star Trek.

International titles

  • French: "Le Double" (The Double)
  • German: "Der Doppelte Xander" (The Double Xander)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Substituto" (The Substitute)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Mi Doble" (My Double)
  • Spanish (Spain): "La Sustitución" (The Replacement)

Music

Other

  • This episode is Xander-centric.

Gallery

Promotional Stills

Behind the Scenes

Quotes

Riley - "Owning this place does seem kinda dangerous."
Giles - "Toth."
Riley - "What?"
Buffy - "He called you a toth. It’s a British expression. It means, like, moron."
Giles - "No. Toth is the name of the demon."
Xander - "Maybe it's time to start looking for a new place ... Buffy you've been to Hell. They had one bedrooms, right?"
Xander - (after Buffy and Riley make out in the new apartment's bedroom) "Guys, you can’t save it for the bedroom?" (they look around the bedroom) "Okay, good point."
Buffy - "Well, if this guy wants to fight with weapons, I’ve got it covered from "A" to "Z" — from ax to... zee other ax."
Xander - (to Giles) "So you bought the Magic Shop and you were attacked before it opened. Who’s up for a swingin’ chorus of the ‘We told you so Symphony’?"
Riley - "Psychologically, this is fascinating. Doesn’t it make everyone wanna lock them in separate rooms and do experiments on them?" (he gets odd looks from the others) "Just me then."
Giles - "We just, uh, need to arrange the candles. Also, we should continue to pretend we heard none of the disturbing sex talk."
Willow - "Check. Candles and pretense."
Xander - "Hey, wait ’til you have an evil twin. See how you handle it."
Willow - "I handled it fine."
Xander - "I just thought you could help carry a little."
Anya - "Me? Buffy has super-strength. Why don’t we just load her up like one of those little horses?"
Riley - "Hey, I’m well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy’s like nobody else in the world. When I’m with her, it’s like... it's like I’m split in two. Half of me is just on fire, going crazy if I’m not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content... just knows: this is the one. But she doesn’t love me."