The Mayor takes Willow prisoner after Buffy and her friends steal away a box containing demonic energy needed for Ascension Day.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Keith Brunsmann ...
Jimmie F. Skaggs ...
Michael Schoenfeld ...
Security Guard #1


Nearly all the gang is admitted to colleges, Willow even Oxford; only Xander plans to tour instead. The mayor gives Faith a precious weapon as reward, and the mission to intercept at the airport the box of Gavrok, a container of mystical energy he needs for his demonic ascension. Mother Joyce hopes Buffy goes to Northwestern University, near an aunt in Illinois, but the watchers doubt if her slayer-duties allow any long absence from the Hellmouth; maybe if she first prevents the ascension, therefore Giles agrees to seize the initiative once they know more, quickly done ignoring Wesley's caution by the Council's book. Angel helps Buffy steal the box from the town hall, but Faith takes Willow hostage, only Wes would refuse to exchange her. First Willow kills a vampire guard and consults the Books of Ascension; at the meeting of both sides, the box is dropped, spilling some of its spider-scary content... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

4 May 1999 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is the first time that Buffy and the Mayor meet face-to-face, despite the fact that they were in the same room together at the city hall press conference in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Gingerbread (1999) and they almost met in the sewers beneath Sunnydale in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Band Candy (1998). See more »


When Buffy gets attacked by a spider, it zooms in on Xander and Angel, and you can see Xander clearly smiling at the intense situation. See more »


Mayor Richard Wilkins III: Raise your hand if you're invulnerable.
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References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


Into The Mayor's Lair
Performed by Christophe Beck
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User Reviews

An episode that raises some important moral questions for the characters
4 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode begins Angel and Buffy's break-up. The Mayor puts the first small crack in their relationship with his lecture to Angel. "What kind of future can you offer her? She's mortal, and you're a vampire. If you share any real happiness you'll become evil. You can't even take her into the sun." It's actually pretty convincing. Although Buffy tries to dismiss the Mayor's words, Angel is getting worried. Their relationship can't last and he knows it. Within the next few episodes Angel will realize that he can't give Buffy the life she needs and leave town. "Choices" is an important episode. It lays the groundwork for Angel to move to LA next season on "Angel" and for Buffy to go on without him at UC Sunnydale.

The episode itself concerns the next step of the Mayor's accession. It seems that he has to eat a box full of killer spiders in order to complete his plan. The Scoobies, tired of waiting for the Mayor to strike, decide to take the fight to him. They break into his offices and steal the box. Unfortunately, Willow is captured by Faith and is held captive. While she's there she manages to steal some pages from the Mayor's Books of Acenssion. Meanwhile, the Scoobies are desperate to get Willow back. Buffy, Xander and Oz vote to give the box back to the Mayor in exchange for Willow. Wesley argues that returning the box will risk thousands of lives, but Willow is too important to the Scoobies to loose. They set up a trade.

Meeting at Sunnydale High, Faith and the Mayor bring Willow and the Scoobies bring the box. The Mayor gives Angel a speech about his doomed relationship with Buffy, which nobody wants to hear. The switch it accomplished rather easily. But, then Snyder arrives thinking that the trade is a drug deal. The box gets opened and several spiders escape. The Mayor escapes with the box. Willow and Buffy reaffirm their friendship. Especially after Willow decides to go to UC Sunnydale with Buffy in the fall.

What I like best about this episode is the moral question it raises when Willow gets kidnapped. The Scoobies have the box and can stop the Mayor's accession. Or they can trade it for Willow and risk the lives of everyone in Sunnydale. They're argument in the library as they debate their options is great. Oz and Xander want Willow back no matter what they have to do. Wesley argues that they can't surrender the box and that they must find another way to get Willow back. Buffy, who just last season killed Angel to save the world, no longer sees the world as strictly black and white. She won't even listen to Wesley's arguments. She doesn't want to see another side, she just wants Willow safe. Giles and Angel sort of agree with Wes. Angel, especially, looks down at the floor as the debate rages and you can tell that he thinks Wesley is right... He's just not going to say it because then he'll be the bad guy. Giles might agree with Wes in principle, but he loves Willow. He agrees to the trade pretty quickly.

In the future, situations like this will arise again and again, but the characters remain fairly consistent in their reactions. Buffy will never again sacrifice someone she loves. (Season five's "The Gift.") Angel will typically choose the greater good. ("Angel" season five's "Hole in the World.") Giles will argue with Buffy for a broader perspective. (Season seven's "Lies My Parents Told Me.") Xander would risk the world rather than Willow. (Season six's "Grave.") And Wes will always make the tough choices, according to his own moral code. ("Angel" season three's "Sleep Tight.") "Choices" is one of the first episodes that forces the characters to confront these issues and it doesn't really give us any clear-cut answers. Is Wes right or are the Scoobies right? I don't know.

On the downside, wasn't Buffy listening to the Mayor's speech? She claims that he doesn't know anything about immortal/human love. But, the Mayor clearly said that he had been married to a human woman for many years. The guy's a expert on the subject.

My favorite part of the episode: Oz smashing the mystical tripod-thing that could have destroyed the box. He doesn't even say anything, just stands up and knocks it over. It pretty much wins the "lets trade for Willow" argument.

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