|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||James A. Contner|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Original air date||October 10, 2000|
|List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes|
"The Replacement" is the third episode of season 5 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Xander and Anya watch a movie with Buffy and Riley while listening to the background noise of Xander's drunken parents fighting and yelling upstairs. The next day, the gang looks at a prospective apartment for Xander. He doesn't think he can afford it and this upsets Anya. Giles receives a visit from a demon searching for the Slayer. He later identifies the demon as Toth, only survivor of the Tothric Clan.
The gang checks out the city dump in search of the demon and find Spike collecting. The demon hits Xander with light from a rod and knocks him to the ground. He gets to his feet and walks off with the rest of the gang, but then we see that there is another Xander still lying in a pile of trash. The next morning, one Xander awakens at the city dump and then discovers his double upon returning to his house. Spike has put together a Buffy doll from mannequin parts which he uses to practice beating up on.
One of the Xanders is very ambitious and gets a promotion at work, signs a lease for the apartment, and sets up a date with Anya. The unconfident Xander watches as all this happens and finally confronts his double. After the two Xanders see each other, the confident Xander talks to Buffy and she makes this a matter of Slayer business. Soaked by the rain, weak Xander goes to Willow and tries to explain that this double is taking over his life. He tells Willow that the double is doing a better job of living his life but then suddenly realizes that his double is going after Anya and that is one thing he won't allow.
Anya and the Xander double discuss their future and Anya expresses her fears about not living forever. Giles discovers that the rod Toth used split Xander into two real Xanders, one with weak qualities and the other with strong qualities. He intended to use the rod to split Buffy into two beings. In addition, as the two beings are real and technically one being, the death of one will kill them both. The weak Xander crashes the date between strong Xander and Anya. Both think that the other is a demon and the weak Xander pulls out a handgun he got from Anya's apartment.
Buffy tells the doubles the truth about their situation and tries to convince them not to kill each other. Toth appears at the apartment then Buffy and Riley fight and kill him. They eventually begin to get along, and their actions become so similar to each other that Giles says Xander is a "bad influence" on himself. Giles and Willow research and come up with a way to reunite the two Xanders but Anya expresses disappointment over this as she wants both to stick around for a 'sandwich' maneuver, much to the disturbance of the others. Willow ends the spell on the Xanders and makes them one again. While moving Xander into his new apartment, Xander and Riley talk. Riley confesses that despite how much he loves Buffy, he realizes that she doesn't feel the same.
- "Weak" Xander brushes off Willow's attempts to calm him down by asking how she would deal with having an evil twin. Willow responds by referencing "Doppelgangland", saying "I handled it fine."
- While the viewpoint generally follows the "weak" Xander, the episode (like "The Zeppo") establishes that Xander is neither completely helpless nor useless. While it is first believed that "strong" Xander is using mind control to obtain the promotion and the new apartment, in fact these things were earned by Xander already.
- When he goes to Willow for help, Xander is distressed about his double taking over his life. It is only towards the end of his speech, he realises that the double will try to take Anya from him. Willow points out that he has only just thought about her despite him saying that he needs her. This alludes to the fact that Xander may not be as involved in the relationship as Anya is, which foreshadows events in season 6.
- Riley reveals to Xander that he knows Buffy doesn't love him back, which serves as the first solid indication of trouble in their relationship and a prelude to their break-up in the coming episodes.
- When Buffy and Dawn argue, Joyce grabs her head and refers to her "two teenage girls in the house" headache, all the while looking visibly distressed. While it is implied that she is being sarcastic, this exchange is a prelude to the brain tumor she will develop, beginning in the next episode.
- When Anya asks what to do if the spell breaking doesn't work, both Xanders respond simultaneously "Kill us both, Spock!", a reference to the line "... you must shoot both of us!" by Captain Kirk in the Star Trek episode Whom Gods Destroy, in which Spock has to decide who is Kirk and who is the shape shifter. Remarkably, the idea of the separation of character traits into two copies of Kirk is employed in another Star Trek episode called The Enemy Within.
- Xander responds to Anya's question about presents, "Not unless you want my collection of Babylon 5 commemorative plates. Which you cannot have."
- "The Replacement" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Replacement" at TV.com
- "The Replacement" at BuffyGuide.com