Primer for Buffy,

(Last episode of Season 4, after the defeat of that season's primal evil, Adam). In the previous episode, “Primeval,” Buffy accessed the essence of the slayer's power (from last to Ancient First slayer) through a mystical union among her friends (her "Watcher," Giles; her witch friend, Willow; and her power-less friend, Xander Harris). In the spell, Giles represented the brain, Xander represented the heart, Willow represented spirit. Because of the spell, Buffy acquired even more amazing superpowers, allowing her to manipulate physical laws, in a scene reminiscent of the Matrix. Buffy used her powers to defeat her enemy of the season, Adam, a Frankenstein's-monster-sort-of-creation, combining cybernetics, human wetworks, and demon parts. Adam appears without his make-up (as a human) during Buffy's dream sequence.





  Sunnydale, the location for the action is somewhere in California (relatively near Los Angeles). Having received my doctorate from UCSB, I like to think of it as Santa Barbara. Anyway, the reason why there are so many monsters in town is that the city is situated over a hell mouth. “Restless” appears during the freshman year of UC Sunnydale, which is being attended by Willow, Buffy, and Tara.



Primary Characters

  Buffy Summers is a vampire slayer. One is born to each generation and is charged with fighting evil. She has a sacred birthright to protect mankind. Every time a slayer dies, a new one is born. During this season, Buffy is a student at UC Sunnydale and is going out with Riley, who is also her T.A. in a course on Psychology. Note that in her dream sequence Buffy says that she and Faith just made the bed. This is actually a reference to Faith's dream in "This Year's Girl," in which the two make the bed with crisp white sheets.
  Riley is an operative for a secret government agency, the Initiative, that has been analyzing the confluence of mystical phenemena and monsters in Sunnydale. The Initiative had been keeping any creatures they captured in high-tech cells. A secret room within the Initiative was secretly run by the director of the agency, Professor Walsh, who was in fact trying to create a super-weapon, named Adam (a hybrid made up of technology, human DNA, and demon DNA).
  Prof. Walsh is the Director of the secret agency, also a Psychology teacher at the university. Buffy and Willow are currently enrolled in her Psych class; Riley is their T.A..
  Willow is a witch and old childhood friend of Xander. She is currently in a lesbian relationship with Tara. In this episode, Willow is concerned that she's going to have to perform Madame Butterfly because she was forced to perform from the opera in a nightmare sequence in the earlier episode, "Nightmares." When Willow is stripped in her dream, she finds herself wearing the same outfit she wore in the very first episode of the show, “Welcome to the Hellmouth.”
  “Xander” has no superpowers. Note that in an earlier episode, Xander was made to assume the identity of a soldier, thus acquiring knowledge about weapons and warfare.
  Joyce Summers is Buffy’s mom. We have hardly ever seen Buffy’s father, who divorced Joyce before Buffy came to Sunnydale.
  Anya is Xander's girlfriend at this point in the show. She had been a vengeance demon for 1124 years before being forced to become human in Season Three. She has trouble understanding human etiquette (and such common human activities as joke-making) because of her long past as a demon.
  Principal Snyder, the principle of Sunnydale High, was in a previous episode, eaten by a massive snake (actually, the transformed Mayor of Sunnydale). He appears in this episode as Kurtz (both Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now, the latter of which is based on Conrad's story).
  Giles is a "Watcher" and member of the Watcher's Council. The Council, based in England, seeks out the Slayer and charges one watcher with training her (in Buffy’s case, Giles). Giles is the brains of the operation and has an impressive library about mystical phenomena. He is a father figure for Buffy.
  Spike (formerly William) has been a vampire since the 1880s; however, he cannot attack humans since the middle of this season because the Initiative implanted a chip that causes pain every time he tries to harm a human. (He can still fight demons.)
  Tara, Willow's lesbian lover, is also a witch in her own right, though not so powerful.

Cultural References


The poem Willow is painting on Tara’s back is by Sappho and is in the original Greek:

Deathless Aphrodite on your lavish throne,
Enchantress, daughter of Zeus: I beg you, queen,
Do not overpower my soul with heartaches
and hard troubles,
But come here, if ever at another time
Having heard my voice you paid me attention
And leaving the golden house of your father
you came to me,
Yoking your horse and chariot: gorgeous swift
Sparrows carried you over the coal-black earth,
Thickly whirling their feathers through the midst of
heaven's ether.
Swiftly they arrived, and you, O blessed one,
Smiling with your immortal face, you asked for
What I suffered, and why again I call you
And what in my maddened soul I desire most
To happen to me: what dearest one shall I now
Persuade to lead you back to her — who, O Sappho,
wronged you this time?
For even if she flees, swiftly she will pursue;
And if she does not receive my gifts, she will give;
And if she does not love me, swiftly she will love,
Even against her will. So come to my aid now,
Release me from my grievous cares, fulfill as much
As my heart yearns to be fulfilled: come, be my


Here’s a translation of the French dialogue:

GILES (in English)
The others have all gone ahead. Now listen carefully. Your life may depend on what I am about to tell you. You need to get to --
(switch to French)
the house where we're all sleeping. All your friends are there having a wonderful time and getting on with their lives. The creature can't hurt you there.

What? Go Where? I don't understand.

GILES (still dubbed in French)
Oh for God's sake, this is no time for your idiotic games!
Anya rushes to them, worried. And dubbed.

ANYA (dubbed in French)
Xander! You have to come with us now! Everybody's waiting for you!

GILES (still dubbed in French)
That's what I've been trying to tell him.

Honey, I don't -- I can't hear you...
[Anya grabs his arm, starts dragging him.]

ANYA (dubbed in French)
It's not important. I'll take you there.

Well, wait. Where are we going?

  Apocalypse Now is the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola movie starring Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. Captain Willard (Sheen), whose mission is "terminate with extreme prejudice," receives orders to seek out a renegade military outpost led by a mysterious Colonel Kurtz (Brando) during the Vietnam War. This movie was based on a novella by Joseph Conrad named Heart of Darkness.
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