Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Conversations with Dead People

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Conversations with Dead People
Conversations with Dead People
Season 7, Episode 7
Airdate November 12, 2002
Production Number 7ABB07
Written by Jane Espenson &
Drew Goddard
Directed by Nick Marck
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Sleeper
Buffy the Vampire SlayerSeason Seven

Conversations with Dead People is the seventh episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the one-hundred and twenty-ninth episode overall. The Scoobies are haunted by ghosts of people from their past, including Joyce, Warren, and Tara speaking through Cassie.

Starring: Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris) (credit only), Emma Caulfield (Anya) (credit only), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), James Marsters (Spike)

and Alyson Hannigan (Willow)

Guest Starring: Danny Strong (Jonathan Levinson), Adam Busch (Warren Meers), Tom Lenk (Andrew Wells), Jonathan M. Woodward (Holden "Webs" Webster)

with Azura Skye (Cassie Newton)

and Kristine Sutherland (Joyce)

Co-Starring: Stacey Scowley (Young Woman)

Contents

Plot Overview

On the night of November 12, 2002, some of the Scoobies are visited by various different incarnations of the dead:

Buffy is psychoanalysed by a vampire.
Willow is given a message from Tara.
Dawn believes her mother is trying to communicate to her.
At the urging of Warren, Andrew has Jonathan help him unearth something unholy in the school basement.

Notes

Monster of the Week

  • There is no monster of the week in this episode, as this episode deals mainly with The First.

Body Count

# Whom By Whom How Where
1 Demon Dawn Magicked to Death Buffy's home
2 Random Woman Spike Bitten Outside her home
3 Jonathan Andrew Impaled School basement
4 Holden Webster Buffy Staked Graveyard

Arc Advancement

Happenings

  • From Beneath You: The First appears to Dawn, Willow and Andrew. Andrew kills Jonathan in this episode, which presumably begins the start of whatever is to come.
  • Compelled by the apparition of Warren, Andrew unearths and opens the Seal of Danzalthar in the school basement through a blood sacrifice.

Characters

  • Spike: This is the first human Spike has killed on screen since getting his soul back.
  • Andrew and Jonathan return to Sunnydale. Warren convinces Andrew to kill Jonathan whose blood opens the seal.

Referbacks

  • 5x09 - Listening to Fear: The Spanish mariachi music Dawn listens to in the house is similar to the music Buffy is absently listening to in "Listening to Fear".
  • 5x16 - The Body: The talk about being "strong like an amazon" comes entirely from "The Body" when Tara is comforting Willow after Buffy's mother's death.
  • 6x07 - Once More, With Feeling: Cassie mentions Tara still singing in the afterlife and references the time when they sang on the bridge during the musical episode.

Trivia

The Show

  • Clarification: According to an interview with Jane Espenson, the figure of Joyce that appears in this episode is The First impersonating her, not Joyce herself.
  • Music: The song that plays in the episode is "Blue" by Angie Hart and Joss Whedon.
  • Title Card: This is the second episode in the series that displays the name of the episode at the beginning, the first being "Once More, With Feeling".
  • Jonathan M. Woodward, in addition to being part of the Joss Whedon hat-trick after having appeared in Firefly, he would also go on to appear as Knox on Angel.

Behind the Scenes

  • Where Are You?: This is the only episode in which Xander does not appear. Also, although Spike does appear in this episode, he has no dialogue.
  • Original Design: It was originally intended to get Amber Benson to appear as The First, disguised as Tara. However a deal with Benson could not be agreed. Instead Cassie Newton, from the episode "Help", was brought back.
  • Rumors: The original plan for this episode was not only to have Amber Benson be present as Tara, but also for Eric Balfour to reprise his role as Jesse and for Kali Rocha to reprise her role as Halfrek. Although Eric Balfour never panned out, Kali Rocha originally wanted to guest star but was unable to due to previous commitments. Had both Jesse and Halfrek appeared on the show, it is not known how Xander and Anya would be written into the plot and still fit into a single episode. Additional rumors persist that this was meant to be a 90-minute episode.
  • Non-Credited Writers: Although Drew Goddard and Jane Espenson are credited as writers for this episode, Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon wrote two of the four scenes. Goddard wrote the Trio's scene, Espenson wrote Dawn's scene, Noxon wrote Willow's scene, and Whedon wrote Buffy's scene.
  • Anchovies: The brief song that Dawn sings while eating pizza, Anchovies, anchovies, you're so delicious!, comes from Jane Espenson's anger at a local pizza company who stopped selling anchovies as a topping on their pizza.
  • Playing Favorites: This episode is Joss Whedon's ninth favorite episode according to the Last Sundown featurette.

Allusions and References

  • Václav Havel: Václav Havel was the last president of Czechoslovakia before it became the Czech Republic. He was also the first president of this new republic. Beyond being the president, Havel was well known as a playwright.
Holden: I let you crib off my Václav Havel essay that time.
  • Marty McFly: Marty McFly was the main character of the film trilogy, Back to the Future. Whenever Biff Tannen talked to George or Marty, he referred to them by their last name. "Think, McFly!" implies that Andrew is berating Jonathan.
Andrew: Think, McFly.
  • Short Round: Short Round is the nickname for Indiana Jones' Asian street urchin sidekick in Temple of Doom. He was played by Jonathan Ke Quan.
Warren: If Short Round pulls off his end of the bargain, we'll both become gods.
  • Hellraiser: Hellraiser is a series of horror movies starring Pinhead, a sadomasochistic villain who finds joy in torturing his victims in Hell. Pinhead is notable as a villain who can be bargained with.
Andrew: Everything's shifting around. I feel like we're in Hellraiser. I hate Pinhead.

Memorable Moments

  • Buffy being psychoanalyzed by Webs, a vampire who was a former classmate of hers.
  • Jonathan being stabbed by Andrew, under the sway of the First imitating Warren.

Goofs

  • When Jonathan and Andrew are talking on the walkie-talkies (as "Echo 1" and "Echo 2"), a flashlight is obviously shining on Jonathan, yet Andrew never even remotely points his flashlight toward Jonathan.

Quotes

  • Andrew: You're just scared.
Jonathan: Of course I'm scared. Last time we were here, 33.3 bar percent of us were flayed alive.
  • Jonathan: We should have stayed in Mexico.
Andrew: Uh, I didn't like it there. Everybody spoke Mexicoian.
Jonathan: You could've learned it. You learned the entire Klingon dictionary in two and a half weeks.
Andrew: That had much clearer transitive and intransitive rules, okay? Besides, I can't keep having those nightmares.
Jonathan: Me neither. Desde abajo te debora.
Andrew: "It eats you starting with your bottom."
  • Andrew: We're outlaws with hearts of gold.
  • Buffy: So what have you been up to?
Holden: Well, apparently dying. Uh, no, but other stuff. Uh, you know, majoring in Psych. Really liking that. Uh, took a year off to do an internship at the Sunnydale Mental Hospital.
Buffy: Wow. That's gotta be a... popular joint.
Holden: I keep telling them we ought to get a velvet rope and a bouncer.
  • Holden: Oh, so I'm a vampire. How weird is that?
Buffy: Sorry.
Holden: No, no. Feels great. Strong. Like I'm connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that's gonna suck the world into a fiery oblivion. How 'bout you?
  • Buffy: Yeah, what I really need is emotional therapy from the evil dead.
  • Andrew: We find it. We alert the Slayer. We help her destroy it. We save Sunnydale. Then we join her gang and possibly hang out at her house.
  • Andrew: (to Warren) You keep leaving me. I hate it when you leave me. One time you died and I ended up a Mexican.
  • Andrew: "That boy is our last hope."
Warren: "No, there is another."
Andrew: Wait, really? Who's our last hope?
Warren: No, I was just going with it. It was a thing. I - No, he's our last hope.
  • Holden: Come on, isn't this insane? I mean, I was afraid to talk to you in high school, and now we're, like, mortal enemies. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we became nemeses?
Buffy: Is that how you say the word?
Holden: We're gonna have to fight to the death, aren't we?
Buffy: It's the time-honoured custom.
  • Buffy: Okay, you know, this is beyond evil. This is insane troll logic.
  • Holden: Buffy, I'm here to kill you, not to judge you.
  • Holden: Oh, my God!
Buffy: Oh, your God what?
Holden: Oh, well, you know, not my God, because I defy him and all of his works, but—Does he exist? Is there word on that, by the way?
Buffy: Nothing solid.
  • Willow: I am the power. It's in me. Did I mention the random destruction of property? The Magic Box is not so much a box now.
  • Andrew: Dude, I spent the last few years trying to forget about high school. Why are you trying so hard to remember it?
Jonathan: I don't know. I guess I miss it. Don't you?
Andrew: Yeah, I really miss it.
Jonathan: No, I'm serious. I really miss it. Time goes by and everything drops away. All the cruelty, all the pain, all that humiliation. It all washes away. I miss my friends. I miss my enemies. I miss the people I talked to every day. I miss the people who never knew I existed. I miss 'em all. I want to talk to them, you know. I want to find out how they're doing. I want to know what's going on in their lives.
Andrew: You know what? They don't wanna talk to you - all those people you just mentioned. Not one of them is sitting around going, "I wonder what Jonathan's up to right now." Not one of them cares about you.
Jonathan: Well, I still care about them. That's why I'm here.
  • Holden: You do have a superiority complex and you've got an inferiority complex about it. Kudos.
  • Joyce: Things are coming, Dawn. Listen, things are on their way. I love you and I love Buffy, but she won't be there for you.
Dawn: What? Why are you...
Joyce: When it's bad, Buffy won't choose you. She'll be against you.
  • Cassie: You don't know hurt. This last year's gonna seem like cake after what I put you and your friends through and I am not a fan of easy death. Fact is, the whole good-versus-evil, balancing the scales thing - I'm over it. I'm done with the mortal coil. But believe me, I'm going for a big finish.
Willow: From beneath you, it devours.
Cassie: Oh, not it. Me.

Reviews

  • Overall Grade: A with 1 review
  • Review Breakdown: A+: 0 A: 1 A-: 0 B+: 0 B: 0 B-: 0 C+: 0 C: 0 C-: 0 D: 0 F: 0
  1. As soon as you see the episode title flash on-screen, you know that this episode is going to be different. The haunting song that starts off the episode is very reminiscent of the next 42 minutes that transpire on-screen, most of which is high-quality Buffy reminiscent of seasons past. In a way, it almost humiliates how hamfisted and clunky the "dark" writing was in season six because it's done very well here, with awkward humorous moments [Check. Check check. Check. Check.] and some of the most frightening scenes to ever pop up on the show [Mother's Milk Is Red Today]. My only real gripe with the episode is that some of the Buffy/Holden scenes came off as very exposition-happy, especially the 5-minute segment in the middle with nothing but talking and Buffy lying down on an oh-so-clever coffin shaped to resemble a couch. It also probably marks the last truly outstanding Buffy episode in the entire series, which is a shame, because there's still 15 episodes left to go. Grade: A --Wizardryo | 18:31, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)