Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 7, Episode 5

Selfless (22 Oct. 2002)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 1,022 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 2 critic

Anya grants a young woman's wish, and the violent and deadly act of vengeance leaves everyone stunned. Buffy must put aside her feelings for her friend and take action before more people ... See full summary »



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Title: Selfless (22 Oct 2002)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joyce Guy ...
Professor Hawkins
Jennifer Shon ...
Villager #1
MaryBeth Scherr ...
Villager #2
Alessandro Mastrobuono ...
Villager #3
Daniel Spanton ...
Viking #1


Anya grants a young woman's wish, and the violent and deadly act of vengeance leaves everyone stunned. Buffy must put aside her feelings for her friend and take action before more people die. Meanwhile, flashbacks depict how Anya became a vengeance demon, and Willow returns to college. Written by Alex

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

22 October 2002 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sarah Michelle Gellar got married while she was shooting this episode. See more »


In the episode "Older and Far Away" (#6.14), Anya states that only a vengeance demon can undo their own spell. In this episode, D'Hoffryn states that the only way to "restore the balance" and bring the 12 boys back from the dead is to take the life and soul of a vengeance demon, indicating that there are some spells even a vengeance demon can't take back on their own. See more »


Anya: [singing] I've boned a troll I've wreaked some wrath, but on the whole I've had no path, I like to bowl I'm good with math but who am I? Now I reply that- I'm the missus.
See more »


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

Anya's take
10 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Good; Lovely to see Anya singing in her gorgeous wedding dress again. Great scenes between Anya and Halfrek, wonderful Swedish scenes and a terrific ending. Also like Buffy's busy school day.

The Bad; ?

Best line; Villager; "Pelt him with fruits and various meats!"

Women good/men bad; D'Hoffryn kills Halfrek to spite Anya, almost like killing one of his daughters. What the Frat boys do to the girl is horrible but doesn't warrant having your heart torn out.

Jeez!; Frat boys with their hearts ripped out! Not the ep for you if you're arachnophobic (we know Willow is from 'Nightmares' but she appears to keep it in check)

Kinky dinky; Love Will's miniskirt and booties, you forget what a hot momma-yomma she can be sometimes! Buffy comments that Anya 'boned a troll' whilst Anya refers to the 'sweaty' part of a relationship.

Captain Subtext; Xander refers to himself as 'giddy' which even Willow comments isn't a very masculine term.

Guantanamo Bay; Buffy is prepared to kill Anya for the greater good, Xander doesn't want to. Buffy makes a good point that Spike, Angelus, The Master etc never chose to be evil, Anya chose to become a vengeance demon once again and poses an ongoing threat to humanity. Also do we doubt that Xander and certainly Giles would have killed Angelus in season 2 if they could have?

Missing scenes; I would love to have seen the scene where D'Hoffryn looks at the slaughtered frat boys and says someone should phone Maxim and cancel 12 subscriptions, perhaps a comment on the Buffy/Angel girl's tendency to strip off and pose for that particular magazine seemingly at the drop of a hat (or a large cheque/free publicity for their upcoming projects?). Also interesting on the commentary is that they wanted Halfrek to appear to Anya in 'Conversations with Dead People'.

Scoobies knocked out: yep, Xander

Kills: demon spider for Buffy

Scoobies go evil: Anya does although she's not technically a Scooby at this point

Recurring characters killed: Halfrek but she's evil so she doesn't count-12

Sunnydale deaths; 12 frat boys dead but alive again by the end of the ep 99

What the fanficcers thought; Read a bizarre one once called Web of Desire where Buffy and Xander are captured by the demon spider and Buffy get's impregnated by it (which is normally Cordy's job?). But in the follow up story they both escape after Buffy beguiles the spider with her feminine wiles and strangles it with it's own web because SHE's the Black Widow, she mates and then she kills (she certainly did with Angel!). You know what they say about the female of the species?

Also a much funnier one is where Anyanka's bunny fear stems from her cursing an unfaithful man to 'Go like a bunny forever' whereupon he is turned into a killer rabbit which goes on to attack Gabrielle in the Xena ep 'In sickness and in hell' and takes on the Monty Python's Knights of the Round table before being finished off by the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch!

Questions and observations; Very little Dawn in this one (plenty of her next ep), she only has one scene but it's Anya's ep so that's OK. A wonderful tour de force showing us all how much we've learned to love and care about Anya who was introduced as a one-note character 4 years back but who is now a regular and so deserves to be! Especially love her little vengeful stare when she first meets D'Hoffryn.

Buffy still doesn't know about Xander's lie in Becoming pt2, another point against Normal Again being true but you wonder will he ever really pay for what he did? Dawn's advice to Willow about fitting in is reminiscent to that given to Bart by Homer Simpson. It never occurred to me until this ep but much like the end titles for season 6 having the Buffybot at the end this season actually has the First-as-Buffy.

Unfortunately the last we'll ever see of D'Hoffryn or Halfrek. Anya comments she's good with math which is weird as we heard that she was failing it in season 3 (maybe running the Magic Shop improved it?). Anya's invented surname is Jenkins, did we know that before? A vengeance demon's 'soul' is referred to? The final scene is very reminiscent of the final bit 'The Harsh Light of Day'.

Marks out of 10; 10/10 first of the season

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