Dead Things

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"Dead Things"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Dead Things.jpg
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 13
Directed by James A. Contner
Written by Steven S. DeKnight
Production code 6ABB13
Original air date February 5, 2002
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Doublemeat Palace"
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"Older and Far Away"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (season 6)
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Dead Things" is the 13th episode of season 6 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis

After having sex on the floor of Spike's crypt, Buffy and Spike discuss Buffy's feelings for Spike; she acknowledges "sometimes" liking him at best, but "never" trusting him. (Nevertheless, it is implied that she then allow him to handcuff her.) Later, Buffy talks privately with Tara about the fact that Spike can now hurt her despite his chip continuing to function; she fears Willow's spell brought her back "wrong," and Tara agrees to research the possibility. That evening, Xander and Anya teach Dawn to waltz, in preparation for the wedding. Dawn leaves to stay with a friend, not having anticipated Buffy's uncharacteristic desire to spend the evening with her, so Buffy joins the others at the Bronze. There, Buffy and Willow discuss the latter's recovery; Willow then joins Xander and Anya on the dance floor while Buffy wanders to the balcony. Spike joins her there and they have sex while he forces her to watch her friends dance; he encourages her to think of her life with him as separate from theirs.

Meanwhile, the Trio create a "cerebral dampener," which can turn any woman into their sex slave. Warren browses a bar for attractive women while Andrew and Jonathan watch through a camera in Warren's tie, pointing out various women they would like to have as slaves. Irritated by the suggestions, Warren removes his earpiece and approaches someone familiar: his ex-girlfriend, Katrina. Katrina rejects Warren, but he uses the dampener on her and she addresses him as "Master." The trio bring her to the house they have rented since fleeing their lair, and dress her as a maid. After she serves them champagne, Warren brings her to a bedroom for sex, but the dampener's control fades. Enraged, she accuses the Trio of planning to rape her, shocking Jonathan and Andrew, who are also disturbed to learn that she is Warren's ex-girlfriend. Katrina declares she will go to the police; to stop her from leaving, Warren hits her in the head with the champagne bottle, accidentally killing her.

The next day, Willow encounters Tara outside the Magic Box and they discuss Willow's success at staying away from magic for over a month; Tara wishes her well.

That night, Buffy goes to Spike's crypt but leaves before he comes to the door. On patrol, she follows a woman's screams and is attacked by demons. The timeline of the fight seemingly flows out of order. Spike attacks the demons, while a disoriented Buffy accidentally strikes the female victim, apparently causing her to fall to her death; the woman was actually Jonathan magically disguised as Katrina, whom Buffy did not recognize, and the Trio then planted Katrina's real corpse at the scene. Spike pulls a distraught Buffy away from the scene. She goes to sleep and has a disturbing dream about Spike and Katrina. Waking, she tells Dawn that she has to go the police over her involvement in a woman's death; assuming Buffy will be taken away from her as a result, Dawn accuses Buffy of being emotionally absent and actively looking for a way to be separated from her.

Outside the police station, Spike tries to prevent Buffy from turning herself in. He claims to have taken care of the body, but they overhear that it washed up by the river. Spike tells Buffy that, having saved thousands of lives, she shouldn't have to pay for accidentally taking one. As Spike vamps out and attempts to physically restrain her from going to the police, Buffy takes out her frustration and anger on Spike; he stops defending himself and encourages her to attack him. She beats him senseless, calling him evil and soulless, Buffy is shocked by what she had just done, and walks dazedly away from Spike. She enters the police station and overhears that the girl in the woods was Katrina Silber, whom she now recognizes as Warren's ex-girlfriend. Immediately guessing the truth, Buffy leaves without discussing the incident with the police. The Scooby Gang research and find that the demons Buffy encountered in the woods caused the time shifting, concluding that Katrina was dead before Buffy even encountered her. Buffy is certain of Warren's involvement and wants The Trio found and dealt with. The Sunnydale Police rule Katrina's death to be suicide or accidental drowning; Andrew is enthused by Warren's pronouncement that they got away with murder, while Jonathan seems disturbed.

After researching the resurrection spell, Tara tells Buffy that the spell changed Buffy on a molecular level, just enough to confuse Spike's chip, but didn't make her in any way "wrong." Buffy is distraught, because she felt this was the only way to explain her recent behavior. She admits that she and Spike have a sexual relationship. Though surprised, Tara is supportive and says that it's okay if Buffy loves Spike because Spike loves her—to which Buffy doesn't respond—and it's also okay if she doesn't; Buffy characterizes the latter as "using" Spike, which disgusts her as much as loving him. Buffy breaks down crying with her head in Tara's lap, begging to be told there's something "wrong" with her.

Production details

Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy, disliked the way her character was treated in this episode, telling Entertainment Weekly, "I had trouble with the one where Buffy had sex with Spike on the balcony while watching their friends. I really thought that was out of character. And I didn't like what it stood for. That was the moment that I had the most problems with."[1] Writer Steven S. DeKnight says, "I totally understand why that part made her uncomfortable... I wish that I could say it was my idea but it's something Joss Whedon had in the back of his head for a year. It just so happened that it happened in my episode." Despite Gellar's dislike, this episode is DeKnight's personal favorite because "it had humor at the beginning and then it had that great twist where [the nerds] accidentally killed Katrina and then it got dark, dark, dark, dark. We really wanted to highlight how unhappy Buffy was with herself and really show why she was mistreating Spike because she hated herself."[2]

Pop Culture References

  • Buffy comments that time went 'all David Lynch' when the demons disrupted time and reality in the woods, referring to Lynch's characteristic strange and nonlinear narratives in his films.


  • Tara finds out about Spike and Buffy's relationship

Arc significance

  • During their post-coital conversation, Spike jokingly suggests that he acquired decorating knowledge from a decorator he once fed upon. Instead of being disgusted by Spike's flippant confession to murder, Buffy laughs at the joke, indicating her growing estrangement from human emotion.
  • Buffy beating up Spike is similar to Faith's fight with Buffy in the episode "Who Are You", where they let out their anger and disgust at their own inadequacies on others. Faith sees herself from Buffy's point of view (and also in Buffy's body) that she is a "murderer"; Buffy beats up Spike in a proxy of herself because she feels "dead inside" as though she is a soul-less vampire.
  • It is revealed why Spike is able to hurt Buffy without his head bursting into severe pain from the chip implant. The inference is that Spike's senses relay sensory data to the chip (i.e. the shift in her molecular level) that not even Spike himself can detect, inasmuch as his first assumption was that the chip had malfunctioned, not that Buffy had undergone a physical change (on a molecular level or otherwise). Similarly, in "Spiral," Spike attacked a Knight of Byzantium under the assumption that the Knight was a demon or other non-human, only for the chip to "recognize" the Knight as human and inflict pain upon Spike accordingly.
  • The Trio commit murder for the first time, and get away with it.
  • Upon Buffy seeing Xander and Dawn dancing in practice for Xander and Anya's wedding Buffy asks in surprise, "Is there singing?! Are we singing again?". This is a reference to the musical episode "Once More, with Feeling", as Buffy is wondering if Sweet, the musical demon, has been called again.
  • When Willow and Tara are talking outside of the Magic Box, Willow is wearing the same jacket that Dark Willow wears in Villains, Two to Go, and Grave.
  • In "Consequences," it was revealed that previous Slayers have caused collateral deaths through accidents in the past, and that the Watchers have a procedure to investigate them and determine guilt. Buffy disregards this, despite the fact that she has rejoined the Council, and instead attempts to go to the police.
  • While in an argument, Spike says "I love you," to which Buffy replies "No, you don't," foreshadowing their last words to each other in Chosen.
  • When Buffy thinks she killed the girl, her similarities are similar to Faith murdering a man in Bad Girls (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Tara's relatively easy acceptance of Buffy's relationship with Spike is a reminder that, unlike the other Scoobies, Tara met Spike only after the Initiative had rendered him harmless to humans, and her interactions with him have mostly ranged from neutral to positive. She and Spike also share a near-parental love for Dawn, and she is the only Scooby who has consistently believed that Spike's love for Buffy is genuine.
  • Buffy admits to using Spike.


  1. ^ Jensen, Jeff (March 7, 2003), The Goodbye Girl, Entertainment Weekly
  2. ^ DiLullo, Tara, Inside Out: An Exclusive Interview with Writer Steven S. DeKnight, archived from the original on 2007-11-06

External links

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