Buffy vs. Dracula
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|"Buffy vs. Dracula"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Buffy stakes Dracula again after he comes back from dust
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||David Solomon|
|Written by||Marti Noxon|
|Original air date||September 26, 2000|
"Buffy vs. Dracula" is the fifth season premiere of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy faces the infamous Count Dracula, who has come to Sunnydale to make her one of his concubines. In the process, he turns Xander into a Renfield of sorts, and Giles becomes enthralled with the three sisters, much like Jonathan Harker in the novel. However, after a brief spell during which Buffy is mesmerized by the Count, she regains her usual composure and defeats him.
Unable to sleep, Buffy goes out to patrol the cemetery and after staking a vampire, she returns to bed with Riley. The next day, Buffy and Riley play around at the beach, until Willow magically ignites the barbecue, and a sudden storm forces them all to seek shelter from the rain.
Elsewhere, two men deliver a large crate to a residence, but when they drop it, a clawed hand breaks through the wood and attacks one of the men.
Giles has Willow start scanning books into a computer so that they can be resources for the gang to use. He then tells her that he's going back to England because it seems he's no longer needed by Buffy or the Scoobies.
While patrolling, Buffy is confronted by a vampire who condenses from mist: he introduces himself as Count Dracula. When she tries to stake the legendary vampire, he disappears. Xander and Willow arrive to see Dracula before he turns into a bat and flies away. The women discuss how amazing Dracula is, and Riley and Xander both express their jealousy towards the infamous Dark Prince. Willow makes a lame attempt to attract attention to Giles and his usefulness, but the gang seems oblivious.
As Xander is walking home alone, he encounters Dracula. Using his mysterious charms, the vampire persuades Xander to be his aide and lure the Slayer to him. Riley asks Spike about Dracula, but the former commando is warned that Dracula is too dangerous for him to take on alone. Buffy awakens to find Dracula in her bedroom. (Joyce had earlier invited him into their home.) She is helpless against his powers and unable to stop him from biting her. When she wakes the next morning, she hides the puncture marks in her neck with a scarf.
Later, the gang discusses their plan of attack. Buffy seems distracted and after hearing about the truths of Dracula, she leaves abruptly. Riley follows her and forces her to take off the scarf to show the puncture marks on her neck. Everyone is shocked to see that she has been under the control of Dracula. Since Xander is under Dracula's power, he has a strange hunger for spiders and attempts to defend the powerful vampire to his friends. Xander volunteers to have Buffy stay safely at his place, Willow and Tara use magic to protect the Summers's home, and Giles and Riley go after Dracula.
Anya complains about not going after Dracula herself, until Xander locks her in the closet. Xander takes the willing Slayer to his "Master" in hopes of getting immortality in return. After being left alone with Dracula, Buffy tries to take control and stake him, but he is easily able to make her put the stake down. Riley and Giles discover Dracula's castle, remarking how they've never noticed it before, and enter carefully. Dracula talks to Buffy of all the things he will do for her while she struggles to regain control of herself.
Xander tries to stop Riley from going after Dracula, but Riley knocks him out with one punch. Giles finds himself victim to the Three Sisters who effectively keep him distracted. Dracula offers his blood to Buffy, and she hesitantly takes a drink. A flash of memories allows Buffy to break his control over her. Riley rescues Giles from the sister vampires, and they go to save Buffy. Buffy and Dracula fight in a vicious battle, and finally Buffy stakes him. After they leave, Dracula comes back from the dust. Buffy is there and stakes him again, knowing he would come back. Dracula attempts to re-form again but is reminded by Buffy that she is "standing right here". He slips away in his mist-form.
Buffy talks to Giles, telling him that she wants to be the Slayer again, to learn about her duties and her future. She asks Giles to be her Watcher again, and Giles is pleased. Buffy comes home and announces to her mom that she's going out with Riley. As she enters her room, she finds a girl there going through her stuff. Joyce tells Buffy that she should take her sister with her if she goes out, to which both girls immediately complain, "Mom!"
- Riley has a visible scar on his chest from where he cut out a chip in "Primeval".
- Before biting Buffy, Dracula notices on her neck the scar of Angel's bite ("Graduation Day, Part 2").
- Dracula calls Buffy a killer, her power being rooted in darkness. The truth of this is revealed in "Get It Done" (season 7), in which Buffy learns how the First Slayer was created and the source of her power.
- Spike says to Riley: 'Tough talk, cowboy,' a possible reference to the previous episode Restless in which Riley is dressed up as a cowboy.
- This is the third time Buffy is bitten by a vampire since Prophecy Girl (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Graduation Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Buffy's sister Dawn is introduced. Her arrival was foreshadowed in cryptic dream scenes in both the Season Three finale "Graduation Day Part 2" and the Season Four episode "This Year's Girl", in which a still-comatose Faith says, "Little sis coming, I know." Buffy replies, "So much to do before she gets here" (the first appearance of Dawn is in Buffy's room). In the season four finale, "Restless", Tara warns Buffy to "be back before Dawn." Dawn's arrival by creating an alternate reality occurs during the events of this episode, as Buffy's mother remarks that her house gets very quiet without Buffy present when Buffy announces she has to leave to go on patrol, indicating Dawn does not yet exist until the end of episode.
The vampire who was going to show Buffy a darker side of herself was originally envisioned as "just another vampire who rode a horse and was all cool", says writer Marti Noxon. "I kept saying, 'Like Dracula'" - until Joss Whedon said, "Why not Dracula? He's public domain."
Noxon says the scene in which Dracula implies that Buffy would "make an amazing vampire" thematically resonates with the questions of identity with which Buffy struggles throughout Season 5.
When questioning Dracula's identity, Buffy mentions having encountered "pimply and overweight" vampires who named themselves after Anne Rice's vampire character Lestat de Lioncourt. This is the first indication that some vampires appreciate Rice's perspective on vampirism; in contrast, "School Hard" and "Darla" depicted some vampires as having contempt for Rice's concepts.
- Dracula calls Buffy a "Killer" instead of the "Slayer" while they are fighting inside his castle. Buffy quickly dismisses that description and says Killer sounds more like someone who paints clowns. This would be a reference to John Wayne Gacy who was also known as the "Killer Clown" and while on death row painted pictures of clowns.
- "Interview with Marti Noxon", BBC, retrieved 2007-09-14
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