Killed by Death (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

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"Killed by Death"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Killed by Death (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).jpg
Buffy sees the Kindestod.
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 18
Directed by Deran Serafian
Written by Rob Des Hotel
Dean Batali
Production code 5V18
Original air date March 3, 1998
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

"Killed by Death" is episode 18 of season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

After flu lands Buffy in the hospital, she rescues fevered children from Der Kindestod, a demon that turns out to have killed her cousin when she was younger and which gave her a phobia of hospitals.

Plot synopsis[edit]

Weak with flu but reluctant to stay at home, Buffy patrols the cemetery. Xander, Willow, and Cordelia surprise her and she nearly stakes Xander. They urge her to go home, but the damage that Angelus has done so far continues to fuel her fire. Angelus appears behind her and attacks Cordelia. Buffy and Angelus fight until Angelus pins Buffy down. Willow throws a coat over his head and he is scared off by crosses that they all carry. Buffy collapses and the gang rushes her to the hospital. After being stabilized, she is admitted to the hospital for a few days against her will. Her mother reveals that Buffy has always hated hospitals ever since she saw her beloved cousin, Celia, die in one when she was eight years old.

That night, Buffy dreams of seeing a strange man follow after a young child. As she follows the man down the hall, flashbacks of her cousin's time in the hospital bring nightmares to mind. She awakes suddenly in the middle of the night and takes a walk down the hall. Two men exit the children's ward with a child that died that night. At the door, Buffy overhears an argument between Dr. Backer and Dr. Wilkinson about the doctors' experimental treatments on the kids. As she begins to leave, she encounters two children, who tell her that "Death" comes at night.

Angelus comes to visit Buffy, with flowers; but Xander defies him, pointing out that Angelus might not be able to kill him and the armed guards. Rather than fight, Angelus gives the flowers to Xander and leaves.

The next morning, Buffy tells her friends about the conversation she overheard. The doctor was trying experimental treatments on the kids in the children's ward that Dr. Wilkinson didn't exactly agree with. Since she is forced to stay at the hospital, she plans to find out what the doctor is up to and Xander volunteers everyone's help.

That night, Cordelia and Xander sneak into the hospital's record room and search for records on the girl who died in the night. Meanwhile, Giles and Willow search for information at the school library. Cordelia flirts with a security guard to distract him while Xander escapes with the records. Once outside, Xander expresses jealousy about the flirting, while Cordelia retorts with jealousy about Xander's loyalty to Buffy.

Buffy takes a walk and finds the little boy. He is drawing a picture of the man she saw in her dream. Willow digs up information on Dr. Backer at the library with Giles. She finds that he has a long history of controversial experimental treatments and investigations into his practices.

Dr. Backer goes to the children's ward with his latest experimental treatment. Before he can do anything, the evil creature invisibly kills him. Buffy tries to stop him, but is thrown aside.

In the morning, Buffy informs everyone that Dr. Backer is not the suspect and shows them the drawing that Ryan drew of the creature. Giles and Cordelia head back to the library while Xander remains on guard against Angelus. At the library, Cordelia finds a picture of Ryan's monster on the cover of a book; they learn that it is called Der Kindestod (German: 'the child's death'), a demon that absorbs the life force of sickly children, making it seem that they died of their illness. They report to Buffy by telephone, and she realises that Backer was murdered because he was curing the children and depriving the monster of food. Buffy also recognizes to her horror that this monster is what invisibly killed her cousin, whilst Buffy watched helplessly.

Buffy and Willow go to Dr. Backer's office, where they find that he was giving the children injections of the virus they already have, to stimulate their immune response. Buffy realizes that only sick people can see the demon, so she decides to infect herself with the vials of virus that the doctor was using on the children. Willow stops her, warning her that the vials are 100% pure and would kill Buffy instantly if she drinks them. Willow then dilutes the pathogen in some water so Buffy can drink it "safely". Buffy's fever rises sharply.

She stumbles to the children's ward but finds all the children are gone. They have gone to the basement to hide from Der Kindestod. After a few moments, Buffy sees Der Kindestod in the room and watches as he heads down to the basement. The door is locked, so Buffy and Willow rush to find access to the basement. Dr. Wilkinson summons guards to stop them; Willow feigns insanity so that they seize her rather than Buffy, who escapes. Buffy finds Xander and he helps her down to the basement. The children hide quietly, but Der Kindestod finds them and attacks Ryan. Buffy arrives just in time and fights off Der Kindestod. Just as he is about to kill her, she snaps his neck and she leaves, leaning on Xander.

Buffy finishes her rehabilitation at home with her friends. Her mother reluctantly waits on them all. Buffy receives mail from Ryan — a drawing of Buffy triumphing over a dead Kindestod.

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