Triangle (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Christopher Hibler|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Original air date||January 9, 2001|
"Triangle" is the eleventh episode of season 5 of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Giles visits England, leaving Anya in charge of the Magic Box. Willow accidentally unleashes a troll, who used to be Anya's boyfriend. Eventually, Anya and Willow manage to send him to the land of trolls, not before he wreaks havoc at the Bronze. Throughout the episode, Anya and Willow fight over Xander.
Xander and Anya lie in bed together and talk about Buffy's bad luck with men. They wonder if Buffy might be the problem. At a convent, Buffy protects a young nun from a vampire then asks questions about the life of a nun.
Buffy trains while talking to Giles about his plans to ask the Watchers' Council for help with Glory. While Giles prepares for a trip to England, he leaves the shop in the hands of Anya and Willow, whose constant bickering worries Giles and places Xander and Tara in uncomfortable positions.
Dawn notices that Buffy has removed all the pictures of Riley from her room. Buffy and Dawn talk about how Buffy is recuperating after Riley's departure. Dawn tries to be supportive, and Buffy appreciates her efforts and discusses her emotions openly with her sister. Dawn expresses sadness that Riley left so suddenly, and Buffy admits that everyone except Buffy had seen it come on gradually. Dawn seems surprised, and Buffy mentions her hope that Riley might return one day for another try, so that Buffy would be able to say all the things that she hadn't been able to say before.
Box of chocolates in hand, Spike uses his Buffy mannequin to rehearse a conversation he plans to have with Buffy. He wants to explain his motivations for showing her Riley's extracurricular vampire activities, but his temper gets in the way. He begins to argue with the mannequin and ends by beating the mannequin with the box of chocolates and shouting, only to set it back up and start over.
Back at the Magic Shop, Anya protests Willow's use of the shop products for magic spells, calling it stealing. Willow tries to tempt Anya by offering to show her some magic tricks, but Anya decides that Willow is using peer pressure and refuses to participate. Willow and Anya's argument escalates, and since Xander and Tara don't want to be in the middle of the arguments, they both leave.
Willow starts a spell, but Anya interrupts with questions and the two begin arguing again. Accidentally, the spell calls forth a giant troll. The store and much of Sunnydale is seriously damaged as the troll puts his large war hammer and great strength to good use.
On the university campus, Buffy and Tara talk about their new semester classes and then about the events at the magic shop. Buffy overreacts when Tara mentions possible trouble between Anya and Xander because of Willow and Anya's constant fighting. Buffy cries and buries her head in Tara's shoulder, declaring that Anya and Xander have a "miraculous love".
Anya drives a car for the first time wildly through the streets while Willow, in the passenger seat, searches for a spell to stop the troll, who proceeds to wreak havoc in Sunnydale, bashing trash cans, swinging his hammer, and declaring to the people running in the opposite direction: "You do well to flee, townspeople. I will pillage your lands and dwellings. I will burn your crops, and make merry sport with your more attractive daughters, mark my words" before smelling "ale" and heading toward the Bronze.
Xander mopes at the Bronze and runs into Spike. As Xander seethes hostility at his presence, Spike fishes for information on Buffy, to no avail. The two eventually begin to play pool and talk about women trouble. Back at the Magic Shop, Buffy and Tara fear the worst as they view the destruction left by the troll, and take off to try to track it. The troll arrives at the Bronze, declaring his desire to drink ale and eat babies. Xander suggests that Spike fight the troll, but Spike is "paralyzed by not caring very much." The troll asks Spike and Xander where to find babies to eat. Spike suggests the troll try the hospital, and Xander ineffectually attempts to talk sense into the troll, suggesting that he sit down in one of the more sturdy chairs to have a calm talk. However, the troll is unsatisfied with their suggestions of stags, strong grog, and onion blossoms. While the troll drinks beer straight from a keg, the whole gang gathers at the Bronze. When Buffy arrives, Spike cautiously greets her, but she ignores him and he steps back, disappointed.
The troll, Olaf, reveals that he used to date Anya and (after his unfaithful dalliance with a wench) she turned him into a troll, earning her the job of a Vengeance demon. Buffy attacks Olaf and Spike jumps in a moment later to back her up (triumphantly copping a feel in the process). Buffy and Spike are unsuccessful, and Olaf uses his hammer to knock down the second floor of the Bronze and injure many innocent people. As Buffy takes stock of the damage, she notices Spike comforting a bleeding victim. In an accusatory manner Buffy asks Spike what he is doing. He protests that he is only helping, and that would not dream of sampling any blood ("not a taste for Spike, not a lick"), because he knows she wouldn't like it, but she refuses to give him credit for his intentions ("You want credit for not feeding on bleeding disaster victims?"), declaring him to be disgusting. Spike is disappointed and says "What's it take?" after Buffy leaves. Buffy sends Willow and Anya back to the Magic Shop to find a spell that would actually be effective against Olaf.
At the shop, Willow and Anya finally address the root of their issues: their fear of each other's potential to hurt Xander and pull him away from the other. Anya makes it clear that she has no intention of hurting Xander in any way, and Willow assures Anya that she has no intention of poisoning his mind against Anya, or luring him away with her lips: "Hello, gay now!" Olaf storms into the shop and intends to hurt the girls, but Xander arrives before two of the most important women in his life are seriously wounded. The troll beats Xander up badly then tells Xander to choose whether Anya or Willow will die. Xander refuses to choose, proving his loyalty to both girls.
Buffy arrives and fights with the troll while Willow works on a spell and Anya distracts Olaf with insults. When Olaf says that Anya and Xander won't last, Buffy gets incredibly angry and beats the troll into unconsciousness. The troll is sent off into an alternate universe (probably the land of trolls, but possibly the world without shrimp). Giles talks to Buffy about the damage to the shop. Joyce joins them and they discuss the non-existent information about Glory and the Key that Giles received from the Council. Dawn overhears part of this discussion and is very concerned.
Unlike most episodes, in which everything magical is fictional, during the fight which takes place in The Magic Box, in the background is a rack filled entirely with copies of the real-world Neo-Pagan magazine Green Egg, published by the Church of All Worlds.
The actor who plays Olaf, Abraham Benrubi, has appeared in a number of TV shows, two of which involved ex-Buffy cast members: Robot Chicken created by and starring Seth Green, and Bones starring David Boreanaz.
- This is the first appearance of Olaf the troll, who later appears (in human form) in a flashback in the Season 7 episode "Selfless".
- Olaf's hammer will prove to be a crucial weapon against Glory in the season finale.
- During Willow and Anya's argument while looking for a reversal spell, they both allude to future plot paths involving Anya returning to demon form, and Willow turning evil. In both instances it involves Xander, as Anya turns evil again because of Xander, and Willow returns from being evil due to Xander.
- Willow foreshadows Amy becoming evil, mentioning that she thinks she made Amy smart and that she's "planning something."
- Olaf accurately predicts that Xander and Anya will not last as a couple which will happen in the next season in "Hell's Bells".
- This is the first time Spike mentions his love of blooming onions. This is later mentioned in Season 7 when Spike is on a motorbike with Andrew.
- As of this episode, Marc Blucas is no longer credited as a series regular, he does however return for one more episode in season 6, "As You Were".
- Anya mentions an alternate universe where there is entirely no shrimp, which she mentioned earlier in the season 4 episode "Superstar".
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