Written by Jane Espenson and David Fury
Directed by Alan Levi

Dawn's Review | Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Dawn's Review

"Sleeper" seemed to roll along at a slow pace... before you realized what was happening. Overall - an excellent episode that moved the season arc along nicely.

It's 4:30 am, and Buffy arrives at Xander's place. Spike wasn't there when Xander came home, so he just went to bed. Xander figures that Spike's just doing "creature of the night" stuff... and he was. Xander wants to know if Spike's in trouble, and Buffy says she hopes she isn't.

Flash to Spike digging a shallow hole and humming a tune familiar to Canadian children who watched The Friendly Giant (as one of those Canadian children - it was kinda creepy). He dumped the girl we saw him meet up with in "Conversations with Dead People" and starts dumping dirt on top of her.

Meanwhile, somewhere in London, England we get to see... someone who we don't know come into his apartment, see a knocked over vase, and start shouting for Nora. He turns a corner, and we see a young, athletic looking brunette lying on the floor. He goes over and we see blood on the floor. Of course, he then get attacked by two knife wielding robed dudes and stabbed in the back.

Back to Sunnydale, Willow charges into the Summer's house. It's pretty wrecked, and Dawn is sitting down amidst the chaos of the living room. Dawn is cut but more shaken up emotionally than physically. She blurts out that she saw her mother. That her mother was there and she talked to her. Willow tries to tell her that it might not have been Joyce. That she saw someone too. Dawn tries to convince her that it really was her mother. That Joyce was trying to warn them. Willow doesn't know one way or the other.

At Xander's place, Buffy and Xander are talking about Spike. The revelation of the potential Spike-sire'ing-vamps has already happened. We missed it. I'm sure it's been fanfic'ed already. Let's move on. They are - in fact, Xander's having coffee. Buffy's body language is all defensive and she's hesitant about accusing Spike right off. There's the pain chip, the soul thing, etc. Xander is taking the view that maybe he is doing it. Buffy is, again, not sure. If Spike is fooling them, he's doing an Oscar worthy job.

Aside: Xander is actually not slam, bam blame-Spike-for-everything. He is suggesting facts such as the chip no longer working and such, but he's not frothing at the mouth about it. I'm just wondering if actually living with a re-souled Spike is that different from sharing an apartment with a recently chipped, but soulless Spike. How much has he unconsciously noticed? I want to read Xander and Spike fic. I really do. Non-slash stuff. Please? Anyone out there taking requests?

Then... Spike just casually wanders in. Wants to know if there's trouble, but Buffy brushes him off. Buffy asks Spike how his night is. Spike, seemingly pleasantly surprised that she's engaging him in conversation, says it was ok and wants to know if she killed any baddies. One, she replies. Vampire. Someone she used to know. "Holden Webster"

Spike doesn't react to the name. He just seems concerned that she had to kill someone that she used to know. He says he's going to turn in (and you know, it looks a LOT bigger than a closet!!!). Even Xander recognizes that Spike didn't react to the Webster reference. Buffy needs to get back and she wants Xander to watch Spike.

And it's Anya!!! She's all concerned that she's going to be watching a Spike that might be, concerned to be actually killing people lately. But, Xander's got a big meeting and can't do it. Anya suggests looking in his room for objects that Spike might be collecting from his victims. He reassures her that she doesn't have to stop Spike, just phone Buffy and let her know that he's on the move. After some amusing by-play, he leaves.

Buffy arrives home and is very concerned about the wreck downstairs. Willow reveals that they both saw people they know. She reveals that this evil, whatever it is, knows them and that its lies were very convincing. She lets Willow that that a vamp she dusted fingered Spike for his sire. She tells her that she has to find out the truth, and, if necessary, deal with him.

Later that day, Anya is very, very bored. And curious. And... I won't go so far as to say foolish, but rather foolhardy. She decides to go check out Spike's room for clues while he's asleep. Armed with a stake, she goes in. (Nice shot of a shirtless Spike sleeping.) Through the chest of drawers, his pants pockets, and then she starts going through the pile of clothes beside the bed. Spike turns over. She continues. Spike grabs her arm. He wants to know exactly what she's doing.

Then, inspired by a fear for her life, Anya puts on one of the best scenes of the episode. "Well... Spike. I'm... here, obviously... for... sex." She puts the moves on. Spike is more taken aback than going for the idea. The stake? She has that because she's kinky. "I can't help it." She climbs onto the bed and tells him she can't forget about the brief fling they had together. "It's not like I'm snooping around for proof that you're some wacked out serial killer."

Spike is very confused. But not responsive.

It's not that he's not tempted... but. Anya gets upset that he's not all over and tells him he was a lot more fun without a soul. Spike just wants his pants.

A little while later, Anya is reading in the living room when Spike wanders out of his room still buttoning his shirt. He apologizes to Anya. She tells him not to stick around on her account. When he does leave, she phones Buffy.

We see Spike wandering down a street with a lot of people. An older man is playing a harmonica at the corner. As Spike passes him, he switches to the "Friendly Giant" theme song. Spike's attitude... changes. Then we see that Buffy's following him.

There's lots of people. Spike's checking things out. Buffy, from far away, sees him pick up a girl. She tries to follow, but there's too many people.

Spike and the girl move into an alleyway. She's being very flirtatious, and he starts kissing her. Guess who shows up? It's Buffy. But it's the First Evil Buffy encouraging him to kill the girl. He vamps out and kills her. "That's my Guy."

He finishes up and looks up to see the First Evil/Buffy. There's confusion, pain, worry, etc. on his face. Blood dripping down his face, Spike bolts. As he's leaving, the First Evil morphs into evil-Spike (you can tell by the attitude). "How could you use a poor maiden so?"

The next thing we know, Buffy has just pushed Spike out of his bed and out of his sleep. She's demanding to know whether he killed the girl he picked up. She's being very confrontational, and he's just confused. "What girl? What are you talking about?" He admits to talking to her but nothing else. He's upset that she's accusing him. Tells her he couldn't hurt anyone anymore.

Buffy says sure. The chip. Spike responds that it's not the chip, it's the soul. He wouldn't go to the end of the underworld to get his soul back and then start killing again. He tells her that he can barely take the guilt of all the people he's already killed - he's not adding more. When she accuses him again, he goes on the offensive. Accuses her of being jealous. Spike says he goes out to talk to women because he can't talk to her. The chip he had imposed on him, but the soul he got on his own, for her.

She tells him of the vamp she killed the night before. Of his claim. Says he looked like he was on the prowl. Spike looks confused for a moment but says he just talked to the girl the night before. That's all he remembers.

Buffy lais into him with the crazy bit. How can he be sure of his memories? Spike responds that he'd remember human blood. That she's got an accusation from a pile of dust and no proof.

So she looks for proof. It's Scoobie-gang time! Buffy's looking for proof one way or the other. Willow brings up the uncomfortable fact that just because the First Evil is evil, doesn't mean it wasn't telling the truth. Anya confirms that evil beings, including her, tell the truth all the time.

There hasn't been an increase in neck wound deaths, but there's been a definite increase in missing people, mostly women. Dawn's worried about the possibility that the First Evil was telling people the truth.

Back in Xander and Spike's apartment, Spike finds a pack of cigarettes in his pocket and it gives him a few memories of the blond he'd met the night before. The one where she's lying on the dirt seems particularly upsetting. He decides to leave, and Xander stops him. Spike wants to go out and prove his innocence. Xander starts talking again... so Spike hits him. Xander drops like a stone, and Spike grabs his head in pain. The chip is, when he's not First Evil influenced, still working.

Spike prowls through the Bronze desperately looking for anyone who might have seen the blonde he'd been with the night before. He ends up at the top, drinking out his flask. A woman comes up to him, starts coming on to him. He tells her he's looking for another woman, not her. She slips into her vamp-face. Spike stands up startled. She wants to join up, kill some people in the bar. She figures since Spike's the one who created her, he'll be up for it. Spike is upset and they start fighting. He manages to stake her and she turns to dust as she falls from the top section to the bottom dance floor.

Buffy, tipped off by Xander that Spike was on the loose, questions the bounces at the Bronze about Spike. He let's her know that Spike goes with a different girl every night. Chicks like Billy Idol.

Spike's at a pay phone, and he phones Buffy. Tells her that he's starting to remember things and that he'll meet her at a particular place. As he turns away, we see the First Evil/Spike in the background. It's not time for Buffy to be involved.

In a nice, brick house, Spike leads Buffy into the basement. She's hesitant. The First Evil/Spike is at the bottom of the stairs and taunts him. Spike tells Buffy that he's started to remember things. That he's killed all sorts of people. That he buried them in the basement. Buffy asks him why, how... he can't figure it out himself. The chip shouldn't let him kill people.

The First Evil/Spike starts humming the "Friendly Giant" theme song... except now it's got lyrics. Pretty cool. I've never heard them before. Spike stops, startled. His face goes blank. Buffy asks him what's wrong... and he vamps out and starts to attack her. He grabs a piece of glass and takes a swing at her, cutting her slightly. Buffy hits him, but... all the people buried in the basement wake up and start attacking her.

The First Evil/Spike encourages the enspelled Spike. It wants him to "taste her", to make her weak. Spike starts to drink the blood on Buffy's upper shoulder where he cut her. As he does, there's a barrage of images as he remembers everything he's done while under the First Evil's influence. He starts back, startled. "I remember." And Spike jerks back and is out of the fight.

Buffy quickly dispatches all the new vampires in a very business-like way. Spike is cringing in a corner while the First Evil/Spike leans over him and tells him that Buffy will surely kill him now.

Buffy goes over to Spike. He leans back, opens his coat, and waits for her to kill him. "He said you'd do it."

Buffy wants to know who told him she'd kill him. "Me." Spike starts to babble. He's all confused now. Memories are all jumbled up inside him. He tells the First Evil, that Buffy can't see, to take away his memories again. Buffy finally clues in that there's something there that she's can't see.

Spike wants her to kill him. Buffy drops the stake. She finally clues in that there's something playing with them. Spike asks her to help him. Buffy agrees.

We see a shot of a very disgusted looking First Evil.

Ending... everyone's around. Spike's wrapped in a blanket, not saying anything. Willow, Xander and Dawn are negative about the take-care-of-serial-killer Spike, but Buffy's adamant. It's not just for Spike. She has to know more about the evil that's trying to get to them, and Spike's been under it's influence the longest.

Back in London, it's night time, and Giles goes into the apartment of the Englishman and Nora. The Englishman, Robson, has managed to cling to life and revives when Giles crouches down besides him. He tells Giles to "Gather them" and that "it's started".

Of course there's a robed figure of a guy with a very big ax in the background and Giles doesn't see him. Giles just calmly tries to calm Robson, the guy takes a swing at Giles' neck, and...

Cut to credits. ARGH!!!!!!

The episode starts up exactly where "Conversations With Dead People" left off. Everyone is in the same clothes, we get to see after First Evil contact reactions, and we find out the reason Xander wasn't in the last episode is that he actually sleeps at night - at least occasionally.

Buffy has to go to Xander's place because Spike is, supposedly, staying with him.

Anya and Spike both refer to their one-table stand. Anya is, as always, concerned about her own self-preservation, but still willing to go on Spike watch.

Oh. Well. Um. Everything's messed up. Dawn has doubts about Buffy. Buffy has doubts about Spike. Spike has doubts about the inside of his head.

Best Moments:
Xander's face as he's leaving for the day and Anya stays to Spike-sit. That comment about "wouldn't be the first time"... heh heh heh.

Anya trying to convince Spike that she came to visit him for sex.

When Buffy hurries up to Spike and the girl in the alleyway and we don't know what's happening until she starts to speak. This whole imposter scheme is being done extremely well.

Questions and Comments:
What do you THINK?????? Is Giles dead?????????

Rating: Very, very good. I'd rate this at least a 4 out of 5. Maybe more, but it's more of a "slow, but good" rather than a kick-ass good. Well written, acted and directed.

Perri's Review

Coming after I rewatch the episode.


"It isn't physically possible to crawl through the back of your couch and the living room wall behind it. I know. I tried." -- Lizbet

"First off: Loved Aimee Mann. Hated that they spoiled her best joke of the evening by putting it in the commercials and teaser. But that had to be the best dusting ever. *POOF!* < stare > ( Music starts again ) Now I want her album. " -- Chris

"Secondly: Hands up, everyone who thinks Giles might really be dead. Now please tell me we're all paranoid. Please? Please?"
"I'm not paranoid; I'm in denial!!! Lalalalalahe'sjustfinelala!!! " -- Chris and Jennie

Thirdish: James has a gorgeous voice, and that was a damn creepy little appropriate song for him to be singing. And how much fun is it to see two Spikes at once? He should only be twins, like Nick Brendan. < g >" -- Chris

"I'm with Lizbet on trying to crawl backwards through the wall. I think the First has managed to deliver the most consistent creeps of any villain we've ever seen on the show. Yeeeeeeeeeeeee." -- Chris

"And they traumatized all the Canadians who grew up with that song as the theme to a kid's show, nice going. :>"
"*blink* *blink* What kids' show? And did they listen to it first? Or at least write their own lyrics? 'Cause, yeah, pretty, but in its usual form *not* something I'd use for that purpose..."
"The Quiet Giant? The Gentle Giant? Something like that. Ran across this tidbit in someone's blog, after they were trying to rework their childhood memories around the FIrst singing that song. :> Meep, I'd say. And no, it isn't much of a kid's song, being about an abandoned girl dying/killing herself for the love of a faithless man (very appropriate for Spike) but there you go. The weirdest stuff gets picked as kid's show song themes."
"The Friendly Giant. "Look up, look waaaay up." He's playing on a recorder so there are no words. I knew I recognised the tune, but until someone mentioned it, I couldn't for the life of me remember where. And this was no more traumatising than my Mom explaining that the guy playing the Friendly Giant was only about Dad's height and they built things so the giraffe puppet was looking him in the eyes. It was crushing I tell you." -- Chris, Val, Chris, Kimberley

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