Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5, Episode 3

The Replacement (10 Oct. 2000)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Action, Drama, Fantasy
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 913 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 1 critic

When a demon creates a Xander double, the real Xander must convince his friends of his true identity.



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Title: The Replacement (10 Oct 2000)

The Replacement (10 Oct 2000) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Episode cast overview:
Rupert Giles (as Anthony Stewart Head)
Building Manager (as Cathy Cohen)
Fritz Greve ...
Construction Worker


Xander is not satisfied living in the basement of his parent's house and is looking for an apartment of his own to live with Anya. Meanwhile, a demon called Toth chases Buffy at the Magic Box, and his smell guides Giles to the city dump. When Buffy and the Scoobies see Toth in the garbage landfill, he uses a rod device called Ferrula-Gemina blasting a ray against Buffy but hitting Xander instead. Toth vanishes and the group leaves the place with a confident Xander. Later the insecure Xander awakes in a pile of trash, follows his double and meets Willow to tell about his clone. Giles finds that the ray discloses one person into half, distilling personality traits into two separate bodies. Further, if one part is destroyed, the other will die. While trying to find a mean to unite Xander, they have to face the evil Toth. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama | Fantasy


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

10 October 2000 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Xander's double is played by Nicholas Brendon's identical twin brother, Kelly Donovan. See more »


[Anya wants to keep the two Xanders apart to have a threesome together]
Anya: It's not like it'd be cheating. They're both Xander.
See more »


References Star Trek: The Enemy Within (1966) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Double the Xanders
29 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Xander is a surprisingly complex character. Of all the Scoobies, he is the only "normal" one, a fact that weighs on him through the series. He has a terrible family life and is scared of turning into his parents. So, he often uses jokes to cover up his insecurities and deeper feelings. He always underestimates himself and, of all the Scoobies, he has the hardest time feeling like a grown up. But in reality, he's the only Scoobie to hold down a real job and stand on his own in the adult world. "The Replacement" deals with Xander's conflicted personality. It's not the best Xander-sode (In my opinion, that would be "The Zeppo" in season three.) But it does give us some added insight into Xander's character. The issues that he confronts in "The Replacement" will have an even greater effect on him next season, so you shouldn't skip this episode if you're planning to watch season six.

"The Replacement" revolves around Xander getting zapped with a magical demon ray. A big blue robe-y creature named Toth is after Buffy. The Scoobies track it to the Sunnydale dump, where Toth tries to hit Buffy with a bolt of lightning from his staff. He accidentally hits Xander instead, knocking Xan into a pile of trash. Xander seems okay, though, and the Scoobies walk him home. Little do they know that there is another Xander still lying in the trash pile. Toth's ray has split him in two. One Xander has all the confident, adult qualities. The other his nervousness and insecurities. When the Xanders meet up, both of them are sure the other is a demon. (Or possibly an evil robot.) The confident Xander enlists Buffys' help, while the insecure one winds up at Willows dorm. Both Willow and Buffy promise to help their Xander.

Xander has been trying to move out of his parents' basement and get an apartment of his own. Anya, after being injured by Harmony's goons last week in "The Real Me," is struggling with the idea of death. After 1122 years as a vengeance demon, she's scared at having as "few as 50 years left" to live. She wants Xander to make a real commitment to her. When the confident Xander signs a lease on a new apartment, he and Anya celebrate. Suddenly, the insecure Xander shows up waving a gun and trying to rescue Anya from the Xander that he's sure is a demon. Luckily, Buffy has figured out what Toth's ray really did and she and Riley get to the apartment in time to stop the Xanders from killing each other. When Toth attacks, though, Buffy has to stop him once and for all. The episode ends with Xander moving into his new place and Riley realizing that Buffy's feelings for him aren't as deep as he'd like.

There are some good parts to "The Replacement." Ironically, I think that it's Riley's best episode. I really like his reaction to the two Xander's. "Doesn't it make you wanna lock them up in separate rooms and do experiments on them?" And then at the end of the episode, he shows heretofore unknown depths by calmly declaring that Buffy is his dream woman. "But she doesn't love me." When I watch this episode, it's like I can see the character that Riley COULD be if they just stopped trying to push him as the tough guy, super cool, ultra commando, nothing-but-a-boyfriend role. If the show let him have some quirks and develop real personality, I think that the character could have worked. I also enjoy Giles confrontation with Toth. Smashing him with a statue of Offta, the goddess of childbirth, until Toth turns and "sweeps out majestically." And, I like that Anya, given the choice between the Xander's, thinks that the "adult" one is her real boyfriend. It shows that she really does see Xander in an admirable and positive light. Still, she'd like to try sleeping with both Xanders before Giles and Willow do the "reconnecting" mojo, because after all, "It's not like it would be cheating." Finally, I love the two Xander's interacting. They're both him. But, they're so different that you can easily tell them apart. It's not until the end of the episode that they start acting alike. (Laughing at "Star Trek" jokes, etc...) Giles is right, Xander really is a bad influence on himself.

On the down side, I wish Spike had been in this episode more. Also, I'm not sure why Toth was after Buffy in the first place. Just 'cause she's the Slayer or did he have some deeper plan that I just missed?

My favorite part of the episode: Willow and Xander's conversation, which references the season three episode, "Dopplegangland." Xander: "Wait 'til you have an evil twin. See how well you handle it." Willow: (pouty) "I handled it fine."

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