As You Were (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"As You Were"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Riley returns to Sunnydale on a mission, and asks for Buffy's help
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 15
Directed by Doug Petrie
Written by Doug Petrie
Production code 6ABB15
Original air date February 26, 2002
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Older and Far Away"
Next →
"Hell's Bells"
List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"As You Were" is the fifteenth episode of season 6 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Plot synopsis[edit]

On the way home from work, Buffy is attacked by a vampire, but the smell of Doublemeat Palace makes him lose his appetite; Buffy stakes him all the same. At home, Buffy finds Spike waiting in front of her house. She knows what he's there for, but with Dawn waiting inside, she refuses to let him follow her into the house. He persuades her to stay outside with him instead.

Later, Buffy apologetically presents a squashed Doublemeat burger to Dawn for dinner. Dawn, hating the thought of another Doublemeat Palace meal, is relieved when Willow arrives to take Dawn to the Bronze. Tired and a bit depressed, Buffy allows her sister to go, but doesn't join them.

At the Bronze, Anya and Xander snack on chips while agonizing over the seating arrangements for the wedding reception. Dawn and Willow have drinks while discussing the wedding and Willow's evolving relationship with Tara. Though they are not back together, there's communication.

The next day, Buffy learns that her application to re-enroll in UC Sunnydale has been rejected because she missed the deadline. At work, Buffy tends to the grill like a depressed robot, and so is sent up to the counter. Her first customer is unexpected: Riley.

Buffy leaves her job to help Riley. They fight a monster on the streets of Sunnydale, but it escapes. Riley and Buffy pursue in his car. A brief interlude shows Xander and Anya having a spat while sitting in traffic. At a dam, Riley and Buffy have further battles and lose the demon yet again. Buffy meets Riley's wife, Sam.

Sam quickly jumps into a fight with the Suvolte demon. Buffy recovers from the shock of Riley being married and Riley catches her up on his life since he left. The demon strikes Sam and Riley rushes to help her as Buffy approaches the demon from behind and snaps its neck. Riley's shocked that she killed it and Buffy soon finds out from Sam that they weren't trying to kill it. Improvising, Sam takes a knife from Riley and cuts into the demon's gut as Buffy watches on, still confused. Sam observes that they're too late and the three head for Buffy's home where it should be safe. Riley mentions that Sam's cutting skills are good because she's a doctor and promises Buffy that he'll take the time to fill her in on everything.

At the house, almost everyone greets Riley with open arms; Dawn is still angry over his sudden departure a year ago. Sam and Riley begin to describe the gory details of the demon and the mission; although Riley is concerned about letting Dawn hear about it, Sam sticks up for the teen and she gets to stay with the "grownups". Sam explains that the Suvolte demon, which multiplies quickly and can destroy towns full of people in no time, has come to the Hellmouth to lay a nest full of its offspring. A demonic dealer in Sunnydale by the name of "The Doctor" is suspected of holding the eggs for a fee.

Riley directs Sam and Buffy to search for the nest while he investigates the dealer. In the kitchen, Sam tells Willow about a couple of shamans she knew that got addicted to magic and didn't survive it. Buffy and Sam patrol and talk about Buffy's honorable reputation as the Slayer and, of course, about Riley.

Buffy suggests they split up and as Sam heads off to find Riley, Buffy aims directly for Spike's crypt. Upon arrival, she questions him about "The Doctor," but when he has no immediate answers, she changes the subject to his feelings for her and eventually pulls him to her for some physical comfort. Later that evening, Buffy and Spike sleep under a blanket together and Spike wakes to find Riley has walked in on them. Riley then identifies Spike as "The Doctor" and demands to know where the eggs are.

Spike denies knowing anything, but Riley is confident in his information and finds that the eggs are indeed there. Spike and Buffy exchange harsh words and as Spike leaves, the eggs begin to hatch. Little demons crawl out and begin to attack Buffy and Riley. The two escape and Buffy throws a beltful of grenades back into the lower level, destroying the demons and wrecking much of Spike's lair.

With family and friends causing mayhem in the apartment, Anya and Xander huddle together in the bathroom. Xander reassures her that while he's scared of the wedding, he's confident that the marriage will be great and last forever. Buffy and Riley talk privately and Riley asks her if she wants "The Doctor" to be taken out. Buffy declines his offer and accepts the fact that her life sucks and her ex-boyfriend is there to see it.

The whole gang gathers to say goodbye to Sam and Riley. While Riley describes to Xander where and how his wedding took place, Sam and Willow confirm that they have each other's e-mail addresses for future contact. A helicopter arrives and carries the couple off into the night. The next day, Buffy finds Spike at his crypt. She tells Spike that she is not going to go into the wrongness of dealing with the Suvolte eggs because, as he said, that's just who he is. Instead she has come to tell him that although she wants him, she can never love him so it would be wrong to keep using him the way she has been, so it is over. Spike thinks that this is her usual routine of playing hard to get, but Buffy is serious and walks out with a final goodbye.[1]

Critical reaction[edit]

The AV Club called this "one of the most entertaining—and unexpectedly emotional—Buffy episodes in a good long while". Their reviewer noted that the show finds Buffy at a low ebb, and similarly Spike is particularly creepy, her attraction for him reflecting her low self-esteem.[2] noted that it succeeded to hit the emotional points it was aiming for, and particularly praised Riley's speech about how great Buffy is.[3]

Production details[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Buffy references the tribble creature from Star Trek when Riley is explaining to her that the demon they are facing is a breeder. Tribbles were a harmless creature that multiplied at an alarming rate, nearly threatening to overrun the USS Enterprise completely.[4]
  • Xander calls Riley and Sam "Nick and Nora Fury", a double reference to both Marvel Comics character Nick Fury (whom Xander references himself in Season Eight) and husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles from the 1930s/40s film series The Thin Man.
  • Riley says "love the hair" referencing Gone episode 11, season 6 when everybody seemed more interested in the fact that Buffy cut her hair rather than the fact that she was invisible.


  • When Buffy breaks up with Spike, she calls him "William" for the second and last time, the first time having been in "No Place Like Home", when she finds Spike lurking outside her house.
  • When Riley catches Buffy in bed with Spike, Spike quips, "What can I say? The girl just needs a little monster in her man." This is almost the same thing Spike said to him in "Into the Woods": "The girl needs some monster in her man, and that's not in your nature."
  • Riley and Sam refer to their target as a "demon", a term that The Initiative avoided using, preferring term "hostile". Both in "Buffy" and especially "Angel", demons are often not hostile at all.
  • Buffy says her house is a safe house and that "Sometimes, you can't even leave!", a reference to the previous episode, "Older and Far Away"

Arc significance[edit]

  • Riley is married. His marriage helps steady Xander's resolve to get married.
  • Buffy ends her affair with Spike.
  • This episode is Riley Finn's last appearance.
  • In this episode Buffy decides not to reveal to Riley outright that she actually did rush to the landing platform to keep him from leaving but failed to arrive in time, in "Into the Woods". Instead, she simply tells him that she was sorry for how things ended between them; earlier, she had vaguely revealed to Sam that she wished things had turned out differently between her and Riley.


  1. ^ "That Old Spud of Mine (episode recap)". Television Without Pity. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Murray, Noel (February 18, 2011). "As You Were/Loyalty". AV Club. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "As You Were". Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  4. ^ "As You Were - trivia". BBC Cult. September 2005. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 

External links[edit]