After Buffy is stung by a demon, she begins to have vivid day-dreams about a mental asylum. She gradually begins to believe that she is a crazy girl back in L.A and that Sunnydale and all her friends are just a figment of her imagination.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Anya (credit only)
Lorraine Ross
Sarah Scivier ...


After being poisoned by a demon, Buffy comes to believe that she is confined to a mental hospital, her mother is alive, her parents are still together, and that her life as a Slayer has all been an hallucination for the past six years. Deciding that she prefers this "normal" life with her parents, Buffy attempts to destroy the things that tether her to the "fantasy" life of the Slayer: her friends. Written by Alex

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 March 2002 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Buffy's pre-Sunnydale experience in an asylum was later told in the comic book "Slayer, Interrupted", a title reference to Girl, Interrupted (1999) which co-starred Clea DuVall who appeared in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Out of Mind, Out of Sight (1997). See more »


When Buffy punches the demon, her fist is clean when she pulls it back, but when next we see her a couple of seconds later, her hand is dripping goo. See more »


Warren Meers: [looking at vault schematics] Ah. There's the vault.
Andrew Wells: I still say we're gonna need eight other guys to pull this off.
Warren Meers: I never should have let you see that movie.
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References Ocean's Eleven (2001) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
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User Reviews

To Be The Slayer Or Not To Be The Slayer...
14 December 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm a sucker for What If? stories but this one felt very different. This episode toyed with the notion that the reality that Buffy was infected with by the demon in the beginning of the episode might actually be the real one. I know when this first aired it rubbed people the wrong way but I find it to be an interesting concept which led to an intriguing question for Buffy. Which reality did she want to be a part of? In one reality she is a bona fide superhero with friends who are beloved to her, but as of late she has been going through some crises of life. Another being institutionalized with the opportunity of getting better and being with her still living mother and even her father. At the end of the day she chose the former and saved her friends and all is well but that final scene kept you guessing...

Pros: Great What If? concept

Buffy choosing her friends

Joyce returns

Xander still wants to be with Anya

Cons: Dawn making it all about her

Overall Score: 9.0/10

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