Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 2, Episode 8

The Dark Age (10 Nov. 1997)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Drama | Fantasy
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Giles's past comes back to haunt him as a demon he and Ethan Rayne summoned in their wild youth seeks them out in Sunnydale.



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Episode cast overview:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Jenny Calendar (as Robia La Morte)
Philip Henry
Wendy Way ...
Michael Earl Reid ...
Daniel Murray ...
Creepy Cult Guy (as Daniel Henry Murray)
Detective Winslow
Morgue Attendant
John Bellucci ...


The secrets of Giles's dark past come back to haunt him when an old friend turns up dead in Sunnydale. As a troubled youth, Giles and his friends summoned a demon. Now it has returned and is hunting down the people who summoned it, and its quest for revenge may place the life of someone dear to Giles in extreme danger. Written by Alex

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Fantasy


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 November 1997 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This marks one of the first instances of Willow demonstrating leadership in the Scooby Gang in place of Buffy or Giles, something which will come into greater significance later in the series. See more »


In the end credits, character names are garbled. Diedre spelled Dierdre, and morgue attendant, spelled mourge attendent. See more »


Buffy: Xander, how do you feel about digging through some of Giles' personal files and seeing what you can find?
Xander Harris: I feel pretty good about it. Does that make me a sociopath?
See more »


References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Theme
Written by Nerf Herder
Performed by Brandon K. Verrett
See more »

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User Reviews

Giles' past comes back to haunt him...Literally
18 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Giles wasn't always a mild-mannered, tweed-clad librarian. Before he was a watcher, it seems that our Mr. Giles was something of a demon-raising rebel, who had a tattoo, belonged to a band and occasionally practiced the black arts. This is the episode where we first begin to explore Giles' dark side and the Scoobies are in for a surprise as they discover that he's a lot more than he seems. "The Dark Age" is important because it gives us a greater understanding of Gile's background and character. Throughout the series, he works hard to project a dignified image of maturity and stability. But, every now and then flashes of his former rough-edges come out (For instance, in season three's "Band Candy" and season five's "The Gift.") He might get knocked over the head a lot, but basically, Giles is tougher than he looks.

This episode is all about Giles trying to hide his past. Young Giles got into all sorts of trouble and, unfortunately, some of it comes back to haunt him. Ethan Rayne is still hanging around Sunnydale and pretty soon more of Giles old friend start popping up...Dead. Apparently, when they were younger, Giles, Ethan and their buddies, raised a demon that possesses people while they sleep. It also can infect the dead turning them into zombies. The demon has come to town looking to kill Ethan and Giles and anyone else that gets in its way. Giles is desperate to keep this a secret from his new friends. But, when Jenny Calander becomes possessed and Buffy is captured by Ethan, it's up to Giles, Angel and the Scoobies have to save them.

There are some good parts to this episode, Cordelia and Xander's annoyance over attending school on a Saturday is pretty funny. And I like the scenes of Giles complaining about Buffy's taste in music. "It's just meaningless sounds." Also, Ethan is a great character. He's just evil enough to be a bad guy, but just likable enough to make his cowardly, sneaky behavior funny. When the demon attacks and he hides behind Buffy you just have to laugh. And it's good to see an episode that focuses on Giles. His character will have a lot to do this season and "The Dark Age" gives us a better understanding of his motivations and background.

On the down side, why does Buffy want to stop the vampires from stealing the blood delivery? I understand that the blood's needed for sick people, but if the vampires are drinking pre-packaged meals, so to speak, doesn't that mean that they aren't off killing innocent victims? It seems to me that there are a lot worse things happening in Sunnydale that she could be trying to stop.

My favorite part of the episode: The "Anywhere But Here" game. I've played that myself from time to time, but I never had a name for it before. Thanks, BTVS!

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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