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 (as Emma Caulfield) (credit only)
Hank Summers
Lorraine Ross
Tara Maclay
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

Plot Keywords:

bound and gagged | See All (1) »


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 March 2002 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This episode marks the fifth and final appearance of Hank Summers (albeit as a hallucination). See more »


When Buffy locks the cellar door, she inserts the key into the keyhole upside down (the key she uses is clearly too small to properly fit the lock). See more »


Spike: Oh, balls! You didn't say it was a Glarghk Guhl Kashmas'nik.
Xander Harris: 'Cause I can't say Glarba...
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References Supergirl (1984) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Performed by Nerf Herder
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Dawn is selfish, yet again!
22 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I know other people have made comments about this, but I want to vent about it as well. =)

Buffy is in a lot of trouble in this episode! She is literally freaking out and going back and forth between reality and fiction. Dawn obviously understands this because she makes comments about how those people in her mind aren't real and that they're going to make her better, or that she is feverish...then why in the world does she constantly have to talk about how Buffy doesn't want her around, how she isn't really her sister, etc? Dawn, you KNOW Buffy is going crazy, so obviously what is coming out of her mouth is also crazy. You can't blame it on her age, any 15 year old would understand that. I've never been a fan of Dawn's character, even when the show first aired. She is just an annoying, obnoxious little girl who thinks everything revolves around her! There are a ton of other characters in the show that also matter, not just her. What a little brat.

OK, I feel better! =) Sorry for the rant.

I do not believe that Buffy is really in a mental institution. The viewers saw Buffy get hit by that demon and the geeks talk about her freaking out over the hallucinations. It's all a big mind game - for Buffy and the viewers. Everyone has made great points that if Buffy was in an institution, it would be really hard to explain how everything else that takes place in the Buffy and Angelverse happened. This was a very well written episode, but could have been better without Dawn's selfishness.

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