Dead Things

Dead Things
"Dead Things"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
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 stars
Episode chronology
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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 a wild round of sex on the bottom floor of Spike's crypt, Buffy and Spike carry on a real conversation about decorating and Buffy's feelings for Spike. Spike asks Buffy if she even likes him, to which she replies, "Sometimes." Pulling out a pair of handcuffs, Spike then asks Buffy if she trusts him to which she replies, "Never." Meanwhile, The Trio, now hiding in a rented house after being forced to flee their lair, have put the finishing touches on a new gadget, the Cerebral Dampener, which will turn any woman of their choice into their pseudo-willing sex slave.

Buffy takes a break at her job to talk in private with Tara. While nervously rubbing at her handcuff burned wrists, Buffy reveals that Spike is now able to hurt her, but not other humans. Suspecting that the resurrection spell brought her to life "wrong", Buffy asks Tara to do some research to see if she can find out just what is "wrong" with her.

Warren Mears browses a bar for attractive women while Andrew Wells and Jonathan Levinson 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 wants nothing to do with Warren, but after he uses the Cerebral Dampener she addresses him as "Master".

Buffy returns home after a long, hard, dirty day at work to find her friends preparing for Xander and Anya's wedding by teaching Dawn to waltz. Buffy becomes upset when she learns that Dawn is spending the night at her friend Janice's house, but she decides it is better for her to go to the Bronze with her friends than to stay at home and brood.

The Trio enjoy champagne served by Katrina, who has been dressed in a maid's outfit, and admire Warren's selection. Warren takes Katrina to another room for sex, but the Dampener's control fades. In her fury, Katrina reveals to Jonathan and Andrew that she is Warren's ex-girlfriend; they think that is messed up. Katrina goes on to tell The Trio that what they were planning to do to her constitutes rape, a revelation that shocks Jonathan and Andrew. Katrina then tries to leave the confines of the basement, but Warren hits Katrina with a champagne bottle and she falls to the stairs, dead. Warren formulates a plan to get rid of the body, though Andrew and Jonathan are not eager to take part in covering up the accidental murder.

At the Bronze, Buffy and Willow talk about Willow's recovery while watching Xander and Anya dance jubilantly together. Willow joins the couple on the dance floor, but Buffy wanders up to the balcony, where Spike soon joins her. Hidden away, Spike and Buffy have sex while he speculates on how her friends would react to the truth about the two of them. Buffy closes her eyes at the thought, but Spike tells her to open them, to watch her friends while she gets away with it right under their noses. He urges her to remain in the shadows with him.

The next day, Willow and Xander are on their way to The Magic Box when they meet Tara, leaving the shop with a book. Willow and Tara talk about the magic book Tara holds, and about Willow's success with staying away from magic. They part ways.

That night, Buffy is supposed to be on patrol, but she finds herself in front of Spike's crypt instead. He senses her arrival, but when he opens the door, she has already bolted.

As she resumes her patrolling duties, Buffy hears a woman screaming and follows the sound. She is soon disoriented as time seems to jump between the crying woman, an attack by several demons, and Spike finding Buffy in the woods. In the end, Buffy strikes out at something and instead of hitting one of the demons, she hits the woman whom the viewer recognizes as Katrina. Katrina's body rolls down the hill as Buffy rushes behind trying to catch her. When Buffy finally does catch up, she realizes that Katrina is dead and assumes that the blow she dealt killed her. Behind a tree, another Katrina watches.

Spike escorts Buffy away from the scene and back to her house.

Warren is pleased with the success of their scheme. The Katrina double returns to the van and shifts appearance to reveal a very bitter Jonathan.

That same night, Buffy dreams of Spike joining her and comforting her in her bed. Her dream shifts and they're in his crypt with her on top and Spike bound by the handcuffs. With Buffy still on top, Spike becomes Katrina and the crypt becomes the woods. Her dream shifts again and Buffy lowers a stake to Spike's chest. When Spike becomes Katrina again, Buffy asks her, "Do you trust me?" Katrina's eyes open wide as the stake is shoved into her chest. Her eyes are cloudy, as though she's been dead for several hours.

Shaken by her dream, Buffy wakes and dresses and then goes to Dawn's room. She professes her love to her sister and then admits that she was involved in an incident earlier that night and that she has to go to the police about it. Dawn is alarmed at the possibility of losing her sister and lashes out, accusing Buffy of running away and deserting her loved ones.

Spike catches Buffy outside the police station and tries to stand in the way of her turning herself in to the police. He says that he took care of the body, but then two cops passing by reveal that the body was found washed up by the river. Despite the failure of his attempt at a cover-up, Spike is still determined to stop her from admitting guilt. He 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, and he does not retaliate, saying that she should "put it all on him". She punches Spike repeatedly in the face, declaring that he is evil and soulless, and that there is "nothing clean in (him)". After beating him senseless, 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 for at least a day before Buffy even encountered her. Buffy knows Warren is connected to the incident, and wants The Trio found and dealt with.

The Sunnydale Police rule Katrina's death to be suicide by drowning. Warren and Andrew are pleased with their overall success, disappointed only that Buffy didn't actually take the fall for Warren's crime. However, Jonathan is not pleased at all.

After researching the resurrection spell, Tara reports to Buffy that the spell didn't bring Buffy back "wrong". Tara explains that the only effect the process of re-materializing had on Buffy's body and soul was something akin to a molecular suntan. This effect didn't make Buffy more or less human, she's as human as she ever was, but it was just enough of a change to "fool" Spike's chip into wrongly categorizing her as non-human. Buffy then confesses to Tara that more than just an exchange of punches has been going on between her and Spike. Tara is supportive, first asking Buffy if she loves Spike because if she does, it's okay, since Spike did a lot of good the previous summer, and Tara (unlike the other Scoobies) believes he truly loves Buffy. Buffy does not reply. Then Tara tells Buffy that if it isn't love that Buffy feels, that's okay too, but Buffy states that she does not agree with Tara on that point because that would mean that she is just using Spike. Caught between the unsavoriness of either loving Spike or using Spike, Buffy begins to desperately plead for something to be "wrong" with her so that she can blame her "wrongness" for how she feels about Spike, what she does with Spike, how she treats him and how she lets him treat her. She breaks down crying in Tara's lap, unable to accept that she's actively decided to love or to use Spike.

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]


Arc significance

  • 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.
  • Tara is the only person to know about Buffy and Spike's relationship until "Entropy" when it becomes more or less general knowledge.
  • It is revealed why Spike is able to hurt Buffy without his head bursting into severe pain.
  • 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 horror, "Is there singing?! Are we singing again?". This is a reference to the musical episode "Once More, with Feeling".
  • In "Becoming, Part One," Principal Snyder noted that the Sunnydale Police are "deeply stupid." Their classification of Katrina's death as suicide by drowning seems to confirm that; having been dead for perhaps a half hour or more before Spike put her in the river, Katrina could not have had any water in her lungs to support a diagnosis of drowning, and a coroner could probably have determined that she suffered the actual cause of death, a blunt blow to the head, prior to immersion. It cannot even be reasonably presumed that Spike took the precaution of filling her lungs with water, since he clearly did not expect her body to be found at all.


External links

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