The Scoobies use a spell to transport Buffy into a shadow world, where she meets the men who created the first slayer. However, in order for her to return home, the gang must find and slay a ferocious demon



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Clara Bryant ...
Principal Robin Wood (as DB Woodside)


Principal Wood gives Buffy a bag of items that used to belong to his mother, who was also a slayer. The bag contains various items including weapons, a book, and a strange sealed box. Opening the box leads to a chance for Buffy to gain incredible power. Now she must decide whether the power is worth the price. Meanwhile, a small tragedy rocks the Potentials. Written by Alex

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




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Release Date:

18 February 2003 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The 'Sumerian' Dawn is supposed to be reading is actually English words written in Greek characters. In fact, it's how the text would appear if one wanted to write a phrase in English, but left the keyboard switched to Greek. See more »


When Spike tells Principal Wood that his soul is a work "in progress," he pronounces it as a Californian would, "Prah-gress," rather than as a Londoner would, "Proh-gress." See more »


Dawn Summers: Willow, how would you get Buffy back?
Willow: That's what I'm saying. I don't even know.
Dawn Summers: Okay, but if another witch was to do it, where would she start?
Willow: Uh, physics, principles, basic laws...
Dawn Summers: Such as?
Willow: Uh, conservation of energies. You can't really create or destroy anything, just transfer.
[Anya scoffs]
Dawn Summers: I'm sorry, are you helping?
Anya: No. But at least I'm not galloping off in the wrong direction.
Willow: Magic works off physics.
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References An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Performed by Nerf Herder
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User Reviews

Revelations and ravishment
15 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Good; Buffy's trip to see the Shadowmen finally answers a lot of the questions. Plus bad boy Spike is finally back! The Shadowcasting scene is surprisingly creepy.

The Bad; How convenient Buffy is wearing a skirt for the first it in ages when 'knocked up' by the Shadowmen's pet demon?

Women good/men bad; So the Slayer, the symbol of female empowerment is actually based on the subjugation of women? If it was anyone but Joss you'd think this was misogynistic but here Buffy once more shows that the modern Slayer has overcome the need for patriarchal domination, she chooses to be the Slayer and will only work WITH them to save humanity. Is her breaking the staff a phallic symbol? One theory is that vamps are undead and are therefore a travesty of life. Women are the lifegivers so the Slayer's vamp sense is based upon that, that they are almost allergic to something that is against nature? Also possible that women are the Slayers as they can accept the demon within them just as they conceive a child.

Kinky dinky; How long have you got? Buffy is multiply penetrated by the demon and refers to herself being 'knocked up' and 'violated' which is normally CC's job. We discover why Buffy and Faith (and it's hinted a couple of the Potentials) have this dark and kinky sexual side to them, that the Slayer was created in a whirlwind of rape, bondage, impregnation, dark magic and female enslavement. We now know why Buffy and Faith have a thing for older men (the Shadowmen/Watchers) with 'a little demon in them' like Angel, The Master, Spike, the Mayor, Dracula, Slayer's son Wood, the Immortal. You wonder if Dawn will be the same, she share's Buffy's blood and she's already had a crush on Spike and Justin? This is the last time Buffy gets sexually assaulted in the series, that makes seven (Xander in The Pack, twice by Larry in Halloween, by Cam and then the entire mutated swimteam in Go Fish, by Spike in Seeing Red) Not counting The Master and presuming Drac was consensual. Borders on Got-fic.

Captain Subtext; Buffy is actually made stronger by the Shadowmen forcing themselves upon her, a metaphor for the power of female sexuality? Note the gentle, intimate gesture of the third Shadowman stroking his hand down Buffy's cheek even after their violent conquest of her that preceded it (repeated between Boyd and Echo on Dollhouse and Buffy/Faith in Graduation Day pt2). And Buffy actually let's him do it, it's almost a fatherly moment of affection between them. (Her Slayer side born of the Shadowmen, her Buffy side born of Hank and Joyce?).Interestingly after her girlfriend rejects her Willow goes to Buffy's bed and suggests she use 'kisses' (and Twinkies) to motivate her.

Guantanamo Bay; The Shadowmen/Watchers are supremely ruthless, Buffy's almost callous treatment of Chloe shows her going the same way. After this she wakes up to her behaviour and is much more human from now on.

Some people say that this is Buffy at her nastiest but I sympathise with her, when you see the scene with her walking around at the start guarding over the sleeping potentials she just looks so concerned and loving.

Scoobies in bondage: Buffy in chains as she's ravished by the demon.

Scoobies knocked out: Buffy by the Shadowmen, Will and Spike by the demon, Dawn and Kennedy by Willow

Kills: one demon for Spike, the big bad is back!

Notches on Scooby bedpost: do we count Buffy and the Shadowmen's pet demon as sex? It's definitely metaphorical rape but is it actual? Her reaction is like a porn star faking it, moaning, groaning, shuddering, writhing, straining against her chains. Shiver me timbers? However this is Joss and the power she gains allows her to break free, the First Slayer saying the Slayer derives power from pain, the 'women experience pain differently' concept coming to the fore again.

Buffy: 4 confirmed; Angel, Parker, Riley, Spike. 3 possible, Dracula+RJ+Shadowman's demon(?)

What the fanficcers thought; One in particular where the Shadowmen keep Buffy as their slave but in the follow up we find she's been faking all along in order to give herself a mini-break from the responsibilities of Sunnydale 'Gotta Get It Done'. Another where she travels back through time Quantum Leap style, inhabiting the body of every Slayer through history and gaining power by enjoying their greatest sexual experience (and meeting Faith doing the same along the way)

Questions and observations; Dawn more and more starting to take on the role of junior Watcher and helps organise the Scoobs with Buffy gone. Buffy asks Anya what she actually does, she later shows us when she helps Willow figure out the spell to bring Buffy back. When Buffy says she wants the old Spike back is she voicing the opinion of many fans? Here we finally understand what Dracula meant when he referred to the darkness within Buffy and what Adam was referring to in Restless when Buffy says "I'm not a demon" and he replies "Is that a fact?"

Note that the bag which Woods' gives her is the same one she get's the mud from in 'Restless' after which she gives her 'primitive' (or stripper?)leer after giving herself an impromptu facial. According to the Shadowmen Buffy is the Hellmouth's last guardian which indeed she is. Will mentions 'Bring it on'. Willow says that she sucked power from the most powerful person nearby which was Kennedy. Note that Dawn takes a lot longer to recover consciousness than Kennedy, maybe Slayer healing?

So if Wood's bag wasn't passed down does that explain why Buffy was never found until she was 15?

Marks out of 10; 8/10 certainly LOTS to write about

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