The Killer in Me
|"The Killer in Me"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Warren taking over Willow's body relives the moment where Tara was shot by pointing the gun at Kennedy
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||David Solomon|
|Written by||Drew Z. Greenberg|
|Original air date||February 4, 2003|
"The Killer in Me" is the 13th episode of the seventh and final season of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
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Giles prepares to take all of the Potentials – except Kennedy, who's sick with the flu – on a trip to the desert to meet the First Slayer. Buffy goes to check on Spike, who's chained in the basement. They chat about the girls being gone and Spike's decision to stay chained up until they know the First Evil is through with him. Suddenly, Spike begins to writhe in pain as his chip fires without provocation.
Buffy talks with Willow in the kitchen about Spike's chip and what little they actually know about it. Willow then goes upstairs to bring Kennedy some tea. When Willow walks into the room, she finds that Kennedy is not actually sick, and is instead dressed for a "mission" which she says requires Willow's assistance. The mission turns out to be drinks at The Bronze. Back in the basement, Buffy checks on Spike again and they talk about the potential causes of the chip's glitches. Buffy realizes that she is going to have to contact the people who implanted the chip in the first place: The Initiative. Buffy tries, but fails, to reach Riley Finn on the telephone; Spike's chip continues to fire at random intervals.
Willow and Kennedy finish their drinks and then return to Revello Drive. Back in their room, Kennedy gives Willow an end-of-date kiss, with a surprising effect: Willow takes on the appearance of Warren Mears. Panicking, Willow rushes downstairs; on seeing her, the others recoil, partly because they know that the First Evil has appeared to Andrew as Warren. Buffy hits "Warren", showing that "he" cannot be the First (who is incorporeal). When Willow threatens to tell some embarrassing old stories about Xander, the gang provisionally accept her claim.
Willow goes off to try to break the spell; Kennedy tags along. Spike's chip fires again. Buffy and Spike go to the Initiative's abandoned base to look for the painkilling drugs that were used on Spike during his captivity there three years before, when the chip was implanted, and for documentation on the chip.
Robson, a Watcher, telephones Buffy's house from England and reports that Giles may have been killed by a Bringer (as seen in the ending of "Sleeper"). The Scoobies become alarmed when none of them can remember seeing Giles touch anything since his return; no one has hugged him, nor seen him carry anything, and he is not driving the car to the desert. Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Andrew all go to the desert to find Giles and, in the case of danger, stop him from hurting the Potentials.
Willow and Kennedy go to meet with the Wiccan group at the University of California-Sunnydale, which now includes an apologetic and repentant Amy. Amy and Willow work together to break the glamour, but the spell brings forth another surprise: a burst of Warren from inside of Willow. Willow tries to run away as she realizes she's not just looking like Warren, she's becoming him. Kennedy tries to follow, but Willow puts up a magical barrier to keep her away. Buffy and Spike wander through the remains of the Initiative, finding many dead soldiers and demons ("Primeval").
Inside the Initiative, Buffy and Spike are attacked by a demon. During the fray, Buffy is wounded by the demon and when Spike tries to help, his chip fires and renders him ineffectual. The demon grabs Spike and drags him off into the darkness. Kennedy returns to the lecture hall to find Amy packing up supplies; the rest of the group is gone. Amy comments on Kennedy's concern for Willow, and draws Kennedy's suspicion when she mentions that Kennedy is a Potential, a fact that neither Kennedy or Willow had mentioned.
Willow, increasingly dominated by the Warren persona, goes to buy a gun, of the same model that killed Tara and wounded Buffy ("Seeing Red"). Out in the desert, Giles is tackled to the ground by Xander and the others. They are all pleased to find that he has a solid form and thus is not the First Evil – nor dead.
Back at the abandoned Initiative facility, Buffy battles with and finally kills the demon that attacked her and Spike. As she crouches down by Spike to see if he is okay, lights turn on, revealing a group of soldiers. Their leader explains that Riley received Buffy's message, and they are there to help Spike. An examination confirms that Spike's chip is killing him. It is up to Buffy to decide whether to repair the chip or remove it.
Kennedy confronts Amy, accusing her of causing the "Warren" problem. Amy reveals that she put a hex on Willow, whose effect is determined by the victim's subconscious. She did it because Willow murdered a man and remained beloved – crowning Amy's envy of Willow's relatively easy successes in magic. Amy then teleports Kennedy to the backyard of Buffy's house, where Willow/Warren starts to reenact his attack on Buffy that resulted in Tara's death, saying, "You killed her, you bitch!" Kennedy talks Willow down, and Willow tearfully explains that when Kennedy kissed her she let go of Tara's memory for a moment, making her truly dead. Kennedy tells Willow that it is just magic and that she finally understands. Kennedy kisses Willow again and the spell ends. The two go into the house together.
Each scene with Willow/Warren was filmed twice - once with Alyson Hannigan playing Willow and again with Adam Busch as Warren. Which actor performed the scene first depended upon how "Willow" Warren was supposed to be. That is, when Willow first changes into Warren she acts more or less like Willow; in these early scenes Hannigan would act first so that Busch could somewhat mimic her performance. In later scenes when Warren's personality is more prominent Busch would act first. Because of this decision to use both actors, filming the Willow scenes took much longer than usual.
In an interview with the BBC, Elizabeth Anne Allen says, "everything had to be so exact." She explains that if Alyson or Adam "gestured or moved their head differently from the other person, they had to do the take over again. So that one scene took us a day and a half to shoot." Anthony Stewart Head was not allowed to touch anything while onscreen for several episodes prior to this one, in order to set up the suspicion that Giles might actually be the First. According to the DVD commentary for this episode, this was apparently quite a pain for all involved. When asked why he set up this misdirection, Joss Whedon says it was "to make people wonder. Just to have a little fun in the sense of pulling a mystery... an exercise, something to spice things up." Whedon wanted to play off the "creepy" idea that "we don't know where the bad guy is, we don't know where he's coming from. Our trusted mentor could be the bad guy." In the DVD commentary, director David Solomon notes that Iyari Limon had to do a lot of kissing in this episode. He says she joked that her lips hurt after having to do long kisses with both Alyson Hannigan and Adam Busch.
- When Kennedy is teleported into Buffy's backyard she says to herself "that was a hell of a thing," a reference to Galaxy Quest, mimicking Tony Shalhoub's understated attitude to being teleported for the first time.
- When Buffy and Spike are discussing a solution to Spike's chip's malfunctions, Spike says "Who you gonna call?" making a knowing reference to Ghostbusters.
- What Willow says when she first enters Buffy's backyard with the gun is similar to, though not exactly what Warren says before he shoots Buffy in "Seeing Red". Willow says, "You think you could just do that to me? That I'd let you get away with it?" while Warren says, "You think you could just do that to me? You think I'd let you get away with that?"
- The largely unseen vision quest is implied to be the same as Buffy underwent in "Intervention."
- In this episode the issue of Willow grieving for Tara is directly addressed. It also helps progress the Kennedy/Willow relationship by featuring their first kiss.
- This episode marks the final appearance of The Initiative, and the removal of Spike's chip.
- This is the last episode where Tara is mentioned.
- This episode marks the eighth and final appearance of Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy.
- Later, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight's "The Long Way Home, Part 4", it is revealed that Amy and Warren (who had survived through Amy) concocted this revenge plan together.
- Warren's switching powers to Willow relates to Faith switching bodies with Buffy in Season 4 in This Year's Girl.
- In the penultimate episode of Season 4, the government overseers rule that the former Initiative base would be filled with cement to hide evidence of its existence, but in this episode Buffy and Spike find they had not done so.
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