Primer for Buffy,

This episode is from Season 4 (#10 of 22), and, so, precedes "Restless" (#22). I will not repeat the character run-down, etc. from last week's Primer, but remember that the head of the secret government Directive, Maggie Walsh, is also Buffy's Psychology professor. Riley, Buffy's current romantic interest, is Buffy's T.A. in the class. Note that at this point the two characters have not yet made love; also, neither character knows the truth about the other (that Riley is really a government agent working for the Directive, that Buffy is the Vampire Slayer). This is the first episode in which they kiss. Note that Buffy has recently illustrated the ability to foresee the future. Remember also that Anya was once a demon and has trouble understanding human interaction; Xander is trying to make sense of being romantically attached to a former demon. Note that this is also the first episode in which Willow gets to know Tara, with whom she would later form a romantic relationship. Remember also that Spike, a vampire, is not able to hurt humans because of a chip implanted in his brain by the Directive.

Olivia, who made a brief appearance in "Restless," is Giles' own romantic interest (his “orgasm friend,” as Anya puts it), although she lives in England. She comes to visit during this episode, and we meet her for the second time in this episode

For those of you wondering, the episode has approximately 28 minutes without dialogue (not counting commercials), which is to say more than half the episode. Dialogue and (mis)communication, as well as the failures of language, are therefore especially important in the episode, so pay attention to that even before the characters actually lose their voices. Also, note the relationship between language and sex in the episode.




Cultural References

  Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.
  "Blessed be" is a common Wiccan term, basically a wish of goodwill toward someone or something.
  A henna tattoo is a temporary tattoo done with the natural dye from the leaves of the henna shrub.
  The song Giles plays during his transparency lecture is “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saëns.
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