Help (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Rick Rosenthal|
|Written by||Rebecca Rand Kirshner|
|Original air date||October 15, 2002|
"Help" is the fourth episode of the seventh and final season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Once the lights are turned out at a funeral home, Buffy, Xander and Dawn climb out of caskets. They chat about Buffy's nervousness about her new job and the struggle she may face while trying to balance her Slayer job with her duties as a school counselor. In one of the caskets, the three find a deceased woman that they suspect of being a vampire, and rightfully so, as the woman comes to life and is promptly staked. At the high school the next day, Buffy talks with various students who all have their own problems, including trouble with bullies and violence, anxiety, homosexuality and plain boredom. Willow and Xander walk together and talk about Buffy's struggles and Willow's worries about her role in dealing with the impending Hellmouth danger. With Xander's support, Willow walks towards Tara's grave.
Buffy talks with more students, including her own sister, but one girl Cassie Newton stuns Buffy when she confesses that she's going to die next Friday and that there will be lots of coins. As she leaves for class, Cassie compliments Buffy's shirt and warns her against spilling something on it. Buffy reports Cassie to Principal Wood, but he's not as helpful as she'd like. After spilling coffee onto her white shirt, Buffy is apprehensive and sends Dawn to befriend Cassie. Dawn catches up with Cassie and they talk about Cassie's friend Mike who has continuously asked Cassie to an upcoming dance and been rejected every time.
Willow investigates Cassie on the computer, and finds Cassie's website filled with sad, morbid poetry. Though Buffy is convinced that Cassie has a precognitive ability, Xander and Willow are both skeptical despite their experience with the paranormal. Dawn returns home from school and thinks the reason for Cassie's problem is Mike, but Buffy and the others don't pay much attention. Willow finds a website on Cassie's father that shows his troubled past with the law and alcohol. Buffy and Xander visit Cassie's father and confront him with their suspicion that he may get drunk and hurt his daughter. Mr. Newton confidently denies the accusation after he goes on about how his ex-wife only allows him to spend one weekend a month with his daughter. Buffy then finds out that Mr. Newton's weekend with Cassie was the previous one, therefore not only does he not have the chance to hurt Cassie but if Cassie's prediction is true then he will not see her again before her death. Satisfied that Mr. Newton is not involved, Buffy and Xander leave and bump into Cassie. She had been waiting for them outside of her father's house, and although she appreciates Buffy's efforts to find the cause, she knows there's nothing Buffy can do. Xander asks her if she's planning to kill herself, but Cassie denies it. She talks about all the things she wishes she could do and makes it clear that she doesn't want to die; it's just what is going to happen on Friday.
Meanwhile, a group of guys in red cloaks walk around a circle and burn pictures of Cassie on a tray in the middle. Still motivated to help Cassie, Buffy reads poetry from Cassie's site and continues to investigate with the rest of the gang despite their skepticism, and Dawn become closed with Cassie and Mike. Buffy goes to the school basement and asks a still insane Spike if he knows anything about Cassie. He doesn't. As Buffy turns to leave, Spike asks her to stay, but she tells him that her presence seems to worsen his condition and leaves.
Upstairs, Principal Wood and another administrator search through student lockers for anything suspicious. Buffy catches Mike in the halls and stops him to see if he may have intentions of hurting Cassie because she rejected him. He makes it clear he doesn't mind and is thinking about asking Dawn instead. Coins fall from one of the lockers, drawing Buffy's attention. Buffy takes one of the coins and the number of the locker where they came from and talks to the student the locker belongs to. The student confesses that some of his friends want to hurt Cassie.
Dawn and Cassie walk away from the school as Cassie reveals how she knows Buffy sent Dawn to befriend Cassie. However, Cassie then states that it doesn't matter as the two are now clearly real friends. Just then a student named Peter approaches, and Cassie, knowing she won't see Dawn again, tells Dawn that nothing that is about to happen is her fault. Peter asks Dawn about the dance but not to ask her to go with him. When an irritated Dawn turns back toward Cassie, she is gone. At the school that night, the cloaked group gathers again around a circle of coins and one of the boys reveals to be Peter. He checks with the others to make sure the school is secure and that no one can get in or out. Then, he pulls a bound, blindfolded and gagged Cassie out to the circle and holds a meat cleaver to her neck. She is to be sacrificed to a demon that will provide the boys with "infinite riches".
As Peter starts the ritual, Buffy reveals herself as one of the cloaked people. She doesn't think the ritual was a success but a large demon appears behind her, proving her wrong. Buffy fights the demon and Spike shows up with a flaming torch to help, having temporarily regained his sanity. Buffy uses the torch to burn the demon while Spike cuts Cassie free from her bonds. After he rips her gag off, Cassie says to him, "Someday she'll tell you." Desperately, Peter drags himself toward the fried demon, demanding his money. The burned demon leans up and bites Peter on the shoulder once before exploding into dust.
Buffy and Cassie walk away together, leaving Peter on his own. A crossbow booby trap set by one of the cloaked boys nearly kills Cassie but Buffy stops the bolt. Buffy tells Cassie that one person can make a difference, to which Cassie responds, "And you will," before gasping and falling to the ground, dead. The next day, the Scooby Gang gathers at Revello Drive and solemnly talks about how Cassie died because of a congenital heart defect. She was always going to die, no matter what happened, and Cassie knew that Buffy would be at her side when her prediction came true. Buffy feels that she has failed, but a devastated Dawn corrects her, saying Buffy didn't fail since she tried to save Cassie; it was because of her that Dawn and Cassie were friends. The gang are now convinced as Buffy of Cassie's unique gift, all sadly realize that even though they may be able to avert outcomes, but unable to alter fate. Buffy returns to work, knowing that while she will always try her best, sometimes she just can't help people.
When Buffy says that heavy metal music is the key to "raising lame demons", she means to refer to Blue Öyster Cult instead of "Blue Clam Cult".
Cassie is often short for "Cassandra". In Greek mythology, Cassandra was doomed to foresee the future, the fall of Troy and her own death too, but never to be believed.
When Willow is talking about the kind of things teenagers do on the internet she refers to posting love poems and creating Doogie Howser fan fiction. The star of Doogie Howser is Neil Patrick Harris who would later star alongside Alyson Hannigan in How I Met Your Mother, and alongside future potential slayer Felicia Day in Joss Whedon's Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.
- The First Evil uses the form of Cassie in the episode "Conversations with Dead People".
- Willow once more shows her Jewish heritage, putting stones over Tara's grave instead of flowers.
- When Buffy says that she usually does not get a warning beforehand when someone is about die during a conversation with Principal Wood, Buffy nearly makes reference to the episode "Prophecy Girl," when she discovered a prophecy that she would die at the hands of The Master.
- All of Cassie's predictions that don't come to pass in this episode do so later in the season.
- Amanda is seen for the first time in this episode talking to Buffy after beating up a student. She will eventually be revealed as a Potential Slayer.
- When Cassie tells Spike, "Someday she'll tell you", it alludes to the finale when Buffy says to Spike that she loves him.
- Arthur, Charles (2012). Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet. Kogan Page Publishers. p. 48. Retrieved January 2, 2013.