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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Dark Age

Cordelia: "This is what happens when you have school on Saturday."

There comes a time when every child realizes that their parent is a person, and Buffy finally experiences that moment with Giles. Giles and Buffy do some serious bonding; they've been getting progressively closer, and now she knows that he's not just a stodgy grown-up. Sexy fuddy-duddy Giles not only has a wicked past, he even has a demonic tattoo.

Ethan Rayne, Giles' chaos-worshiping former friend from "Halloween," is back in town fleeing from the demon Eyghon – and trying to divert it from himself toward Giles, and then toward Buffy. Unfortunately, it manages to get Jenny. It's a shame, too, because it looked like Giles and Jenny were about to hit the sheets (their next date was a "staying-in" date). Jenny was a tad upset about the whole possession thing, and who could blame her?

Eyghon jumps to an unconscious or dead person, which is how it takes Jenny. Willow figures out that Eyghon will jump to a dead person, Angel, and Angel volunteers to take it on. What if the vampire demon in Angel wasn't able to fight off Eyghon?

Was Eyghon trying to seduce Giles before killing him?

Bits and pieces:

— Giles says that when he was 21, he was studying history at Oxford by day and the occult by night.

— Giles' list has the following names: Thomas [?], Ethan Rayne, Deirdre Page, Philip Henry, and Rupert Giles.

— Cordelia is now a Scooby. In this episode she not only asks for and receives a research assignment, she also knocks Ethan down. Go, Cordelia.

— I enjoyed the "anywhere but here" game: John Cusack, Gavin Rossdale, Amy Yip.

— Jenny loves to tease Giles; the book thing with the dog-eared pages, underlining and coffee spills was absolutely guaranteed to make a librarian cringe.

— This is the first time we see Giles' apartment.

— This time, possession is indicated by a short gleam of yellow in the eyes.

— Obligatory dog reference: Do dog-eared pages count?

— How did a dead Dierdre Page get all the way from London to Sunnydale?


Xander: "Ooh, gang, did you hear that? A bonus day of class, plus Cordelia. Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever."

Xander: "Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades."
Buffy: "He probably sat in math class thinking, 'There should be more math. This could be mathier.'
Willow: "C'mon, you don't think he ever got restless as a kid?"
Buffy: "Are you kidding? His diapers were tweed."

Buffy: "I know you. You ran that costume shop."
Ethan: "Oh, I'm pleased you remember."
Buffy: "You sold me that dress for Halloween, and nearly got us all killed."
Ethan: "But you looked great."

Giles: "Yes, well, I trust I gave good squirm."

Three out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. This one reminds me of the Hellblazer story 'Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come'. Both Giles and John Constantine have similar backstories; magic, puck rock, demons, dead friends. But while Constantine's experience made him more of cynical, chain-smoking bastard, Giles' changed him into the tweed wearing librarian of awesome we all know and love.

  2. As Billie points out, one of the biggest bumps in the road between childhood and adulthood is figuring out that (1) your parents are people and (2) they are far from perfect. It is a difficult time for all of us, not to mention our parents.

    This episode captures that moment perfectly. Buffy's fear when she doesn't understand why Giles didn't show up, the concern about the drinking, the over-reaction to the drinking ("lost weekending") and the inevitable acceptance of it all.

    Of course, once parents and children move beyond this stage, a real relationship can begin to develop. And, here again, we saw that beautifully portrayed: "Who knew we had so much in common?"

    The writers absolutely nailed this one.

  3. Another great episode! I like this one more every time I see it. Like you pointed out, Billie, it's all about the realization that parents are people and that they make mistakes. It's so Buffy to take on a rite of passage moment like that and throw in a demon.

    Ethan is one of my favorite Buffyverse villains (R.I.P. Robin Sachs). I wish he’d gotten more play. I love him hiding behind Buffy. Grown man using a sixteen year old girl as a shield: hilarious. (provided she’s the slayer, if she weren’t it would be creepy) "Honesty is one of my virtues. Not really."

    One of my favorite Buffyverse relationships is the father/daughter dynamic between Giles and Buffy. We're almost all the way there with them. For instance, while Giles is upset about Jenny being possessed, it’s the thought of Buffy being on the chopping block that really kicks him into gear. Good daddies choose their kids over their girlfriends every time.

    Willow takes on her leadership role again and yells. I love when Willow yells. It's so freaking cute. It's as cute as...well, as Alyson Hannigan doing virtually anything else, actually.

    Seeing “Buffy” fighting Eyghon/Phillip in that tiny tank top really illustrates why a lot of the stunts on this show look, well, terrible. SMG is teeny. Her stunt double, on the other hand, has the muscles stunt people need. Thus, they look nothing alike. It sort of looks like she’s Hulked out. It’s unavoidable, I suppose. But they really should’ve done a better job with the hair. “Buffy” is always tossing hers around to cover her non SMG face, but when they cut back to actually Buffy, there’s nary a hair out of place.

    But you know, it's Buffy. I love the show anyway. Now time for some random sarcasm:

    What was the doctor Eyghon assaulted doing? He would open a door, check the body was there and write it down on his clipboard. Was he specfically checking the bodies to make sure none of them turned into demons and escaped? It’s Sunnydale, so you never know.

    I like the way Buffy says “he might’ve been drinking.” It’s the way normal people say, “I think he might be injecting heroin into his gums.”

    This episode features another case of the sometimes impenetrable book cage.

    It's very sweet that Ethan thought to put the mark of Eyghon on Buffy in a place where it could be easily concealed. His thoughtfulness is especially surprising as he didn’t expect Buffy to live out the night.

    Sunnydale: where tattoo removal is 100% effective and costs the same as shoes. If only.

    Oh and Billie, you forgot a word! This is the first time we see Giles' GORGEOUS apartment.

  4. Ooh, one of my favorites, for sure! Possibly because Giles is one of my favorite characters (I have a thing for the librarian type, what can I say?), so it's always fantastic to see his past. I think, ultimately, it makes him a more well-rounded character, too, since it would be too easy to just make him the perfect little watcher. I think it also helps his dynamic with Buffy, her knowing that there's a past to his father figure.

    It also helps that Ethan is a very interesting villain. I love it when the bad guys are humans, since it brings the moral greyness of the villain much more into play, what with it not being some demon acting out of instict. (I'm actually a little sad they never took this character to Angel. It seems he should have been on W&H's payroll, no?).

    Also, it's very obvious the show has found it's place by this point, so yey!

  5. Love the Scoobies (more and more actually). Their reaction thinking about Giles and Jenny getting together is also priceless.

    "What's the hint ?" Oh Cordy. Jenny's "decaf land" probably another
    shout out to Nescafé (cute).

    Poor Billie, still plenty of books in Giles' library that have the
    sticker up. (I visited a "real" library yesterday : all the stickers
    were....at the right place. Yay.)

    Another "be seing you". Ah, these Brits. Angry Willow is...impressive.
    Very good ep.

  6. I enjoyed this episode even with the small, easily/cheaply removed/covered up tattoo. I mean, it would be crazy for Buffy to have to wear a shirt with a collar!

    I liked getting to know more about Giles but hated that the demon pushed Jenny away. I guess the slaying "just got real" for her.

    So now that the gang knows that Giles is a better fighter, will the training scenes get better? Or is Buffy so good that even when Giles gives it his all--you know, the all that can kick Ethan's ass--Buffy still wins?

    No Oz or Spike/Dru but still an enjoyable episode.

  7. Charlie here- All these creepy british antagonists are reminding me of Benedict Cumberpatch in the most recent Star Trek movie. You'd think all the characters would have to go to some sort of therapy after having their minds ravaged by being possessed over and over again. My favorite quote was Xanders quip on Jennydoing Buffy-"dont think of naked buffy, dont think of naked buffy". Oh wait is that a spoiler? Sorry. Anyways cool intro-to-giles-backstory episode. Glad i could join the rewatch.

  8. Another fantastic episode, its great to see more of Giles' backstory and seeing the relationship develop with between Giles and Buffy with her seeing him as a normal flawed person is nice.

    Ethan is brilliant here, he has great lines, is funny, and is certainly a favourite of mine.

    I really felt for Giles when Jenny pushed him away, I wonder what her experience of being possessed was like? It must have been very traumatic for her to be so cold. I guess it wasn't just a black out.

    Yes, at this point Buffy is in its stride and I'm really enjoying taking part in this re-watch.

  9. Yay, I liked an episode that everyone else liked! I've been struggling with the fact that I like episodes that everyone else hates and then people love an episode and it leaves me lukewarm. I haven't been able to figure out why I am so odd but at least for this episode I loved it as much as everyone else. What's not to love ?- it is a showcase of one of the strengths of Buffy - character and relationship development. And I agree @sunbunny Willow is adorable even when she is yelling at people.

  10. Newbie report:

    I'm loving that sleeves-rolled-up, stubble-faced, Scotch-drinking tatooed Giles!

    At the beginning of the episode, the kids are talking about Giles as if he is someone outside their ring of familiarity - loves math, wears tweed, very proper and then they are squicked out by the idea that the adults may be sexual beings. We get a peek into the real Giles when we see him drinking at home.

    The Scoobies are coming into their own with Willow firmly in charge when Buffy isn't around. I liked that a lot, too. Cordelia's "What about me, boss?" was so cute!

    Angel was the Deux ex machina of the episode. Again, they really only gave him a couple of cameos to remind us there are supposed to be vampires in this show. And no, I never count the vamps that show up before the opening credits. Those are just like the previews of coming attractions - irrelevant to the story.

    I liked this episode. It was all warm fuzzy. With Scotch.

  11. Sunbunny said: "What was the doctor Eyghon assaulted doing? He would open a door, check the body was there and write it down on his clipboard. Was he specfically checking the bodies to make sure none of them turned into demons and escaped? It’s Sunnydale, so you never know."

    Yes, I think that's exactly what he was doing. It must be one of the highest-risk profession in Sunnydale, too.

    I love the way the end of this episode--with Buffy encouraging Giles to resume his fuddy-duddy role--parallels the end of "Lie to Me": together, the two scenes really show the lovely complexity of their relationship. Way to go with the three-dimensionality, Joss!

  12. The thing that jumped out at me during this watch was the final moments with Buffy attempting to cheer Giles up by teasing him about the music. A small, but wonderful, character beat in how their relationship is maturing.

  13. Flip side of the music banter at the very end:
    Assuming that the old photo of Giles is typical of his youth (looking decidedly more Ramones-y), and given what later will be seen and heard of Giles' record collection (I'm assuming that is vague enough to not be too spoiler-y for these comments.) ......
    The bit about the Bay City Rollers just had to be Giles' way of teasing Buffy.

  14. I think that the demon in Angel (Angelus) was even more evil than Eyghon was. Remember what the Master said, "He was the most vicious creature he ever met".


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