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|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Buffy in her Doublemeat Palace work uniform
|Episode no.||Season 6
|Directed by||Nick Marck|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Original air date||January 29, 2002|
"Doublemeat Palace" is the 12th episode of season 6 of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Willow reports to Xander and Anya that the supervillains seem to have abandoned their basement lair. Meanwhile, Buffy, having found out that she is deeply in debt, gets a new job working at a fast food restaurant called Doublemeat Palace. She soon believes something strange is going on.
Buffy is offered the Doublemeat Medley, a burger consisting of typical ingredients and layers of beef and chicken. She reluctantly takes a bite, then questions what the secret ingredient in the meat is, but gets no clear answer ("It's a meat process."). Buffy watches as a coworker, Gary, waits on a woman wearing a wig who is a regular at the Palace. After his demonstration, Buffy takes the next customer, but is lost quickly in the process as the family's order is too complex for her to follow.
During her break, Buffy sneaks around in the back rooms, searching for the truth behind the secret ingredient, but is caught by Manny. At the counter, Buffy finds her friends have come by to visit her and she treats Xander to a Doublemeat Medley. Anya goes on a rant about how behind the wedding plans are, partially blaming Willow for the complications. Later, Buffy receives a surprise visit from Spike at the restaurant. He teases her and tries to persuade her to leave the job and be with him, warning her that this job could kill her. He offers to do everything in his power to take care of her and help her with her money problems. She remains determined and turns away. Gary goes out to the alley behind the restaurant and encounters someone/something that he recognizes; then that someone or something attacks him.
The next day, with Gary not there to work, Buffy is assigned to the grill. As Timothy demonstrates the process, Buffy asks again about the secret ingredient, but still can't get an answer from anyone. Manny then assigns Buffy to a double shift because of the reduction of employees.
At the apartment, a vengeance demon appears suddenly before Xander, threatening to tear him into pieces. Fortunately, Anya enters the room and recognizes the vengeance demon as her old friend Halfrek, and the girls greet each other gleefully. Anya clears up the confusion, explaining that she invited Halfrek to the wedding, not to seek vengeance on Xander. Xander quickly gets out of their way.
At the Doublemeat Palace, Buffy spots Spike outside through a window and they look at each other wistfully. She spends her break having sex with him in the alleyway out behind the restaurant.
Amy pays Willow a visit, wanting her rat cage as a souvenir, and talks with Willow about her progress with avoiding magic, something which Amy isn't very encouraging about. Wishing to get Willow back on to magic, Amy gives her an unasked-for gift that provides Willow with uncontrollable magical powers.
Buffy watches the grinder grind meat, but discovers a human finger in the processed meat. Appalled at the idea of human meat being the secret ingredient, Buffy confronts Manny about it, but he doesn't agree with her suspicions. Buffy charges out into the dining area, attempting to stop all the patrons from eating while shouting that the meat is made of humans. The outburst gets her fired.
Over drinks, Anya and Halfrek talk about Anya's relationship with Xander and Anya begins to reevaluate her situation with Xander after Halfrek repeatedly insists on addressing the issue.
Buffy brings the severed finger and a Doublemeat Medley to The Magic Box, but Xander eats the burger before Buffy explains her concerns. Willow arrives late, ready to begin researching, although she's still under Amy's gift spell and lacks control over her use of magic. Buffy leaves to investigate Doublemeat Palace after hours, while Willow uses chemistry to test a leftover piece of meat from the Doublemeat Medley.
Buffy breaks into the Palace and finds clues: blood and Manny's severed foot.
Willow struggles to avoid using magic while Dawn and Xander talk about the kind of future life Buffy will have because she's the Slayer. Anya shows up late, after Halfrek's departure, and a tense argument develops between her and Xander over the less-than-attractive appearance of a vengeance demon. Willow's analysis reveals that the "meat" is mostly cellulose (vegetables treated with beef fat).
While continuing to snoop, Buffy encounters the regular customer, "Wig Lady", without her wig. A demonic lamprey emerges from the lady's head and sprays a paralyzing liquid at Buffy. The lady advances on Buffy and talks about eating Doublemeat employees as the Slayer struggles to escape.
Willow shows up and tries to inform Buffy of the Doublemeat Medley which is not made of humans, but processed vegetables, then begins to confess to her about Amy's magical gift. Buffy is unable to respond to the information as she continues to try to get away from the lamprey, which manages to latch onto her shoulder and start to feed. Inside, Willow tries to stop the woman/lamprey and uses a large blade to cut the lamprey from the woman's body. That doesn't immediately kill the lamprey and Willow quickly shoves it into the meat grinder. The next day at the Summers' house, Amy pays Willow a visit, needing to borrow a few necessities. Willow denies her entrance into the house and angrily suggests that Amy stay away from her before shutting the door in her former friend's face.
Buffy returns to the DMP to return her uniform to the new manager, Lorraine. After revealing her knowledge of the Doublemeat Medley's composition, she is sworn to secrecy. She gets her job back and resigns herself to working there, at least for now.
During the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion that occurred between seasons six and seven, Joss Whedon revealed that this episode was the first episode that caused sponsors to threaten to pull support due to the portrayal of the fast food industry. Buffy working at Doublemeat Palace "made the advertisers very twitchy"; as Whedon joked, "the most controversial thing we ever had on Buffy was a hamburger and chicken sandwich."
- Willow tells Xander and Anya that there were "pictures of the Vulcan woman on Enterprise" in the Trio's lair.
- Buffy freaking out and yelling that the "Double Meat Medley is people!" is an homage to the film Soylent Green, which was previously referenced in the Angel Season Three episode "Carpe Noctem".
- In Andy Barker, P.I. episode "Fairway, My Lovely," also co-written by Jane Espenson, the character Guy Helverson owns a business named Doublemeat Enterprise.
- This episode marks the beginning of Buffy's employment at Doublemeat Palace, a place which will remain a fixture for the rest of the season.
- Buffy mentions this is not the first time she worked as a waitress, having previously worked in a diner in Los Angeles when she ran away from home in "Anne".
- Technically this is not the first appearance of Halfrek, but it is the first time she appears undisguised, as a vengeance demon. Cecily, Spike's pre-vampire love interest in "Fool for Love", was actually Halfrek, at least according to the comic Spike: Old Times and the episode "Older and Far Away" where Halfrek recognizes Spike as William, and Spike has an unspoken recognition.
- Taken together with "Provider" (aired a week earlier), this explores both Buffy and Angel dealing with the suddenly critical issue of money.
- In a recurring motif throughout the season, the friendship between Buffy and Willow is hampered by circumstances preventing them from confiding in each other. In "Smashed", a serious conversation was interrupted by Amy's intrusion. The disturbing element for this episode was the "wig lady" demon that was eating while Buffy and Willow are talking through the drive-thru microphone. Willow doesn't try again to talk to Buffy about what Amy did to her.
- "10 Questions for Joss Whedon". New York Times. 2003-05-16. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
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