Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 6 Episode 13

Dead Things

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 05, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
458 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Troika's latest scheme, a new device which will make women their mindless slaves, goes horribly wrong when Warren's ex-girlfriend Katrina is accidentally killed. The trio use magick to make Buffy think that she has killed Katrina - and it works. Between finding out the truth about her resurrection and believing that she has killed an innocent girl, Buffy's world begins to fall apart.moreless

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  • What we have here is an episode that takes the last four episodes, sheds them of all their bad material, but retains their admirable qualities.

    Wow! "Dead Things" is an incredibly ambitious episode that ends on an admission of sorrowful guilt, but thankfully offers absolutely no reprieve, easy solutions, or light at the end of the tunnel. It's true to the troubles of real life in a way few TV shows are capable of providing. The episode ends in an emotional mess that's been spilled all over the floor and can only be cleaned up with a lot of gradual hard work and, most importantly, time. This is one of the most intellectually and emotionally gripping episodes of television I've ever witnessed due to its uncompromising ability to show the righteous hero largely in the wrong, the evil soulless demon largely in the right, and an utterly messy, complicated, and gripping conclusion that leaves aboslutely no hope in sight. We care about everything that's happening, too, because we know and love the characters and the episode is completely built off of fabulous continuity. If I had to sum up this episode in a couple words, I'd proclaim "unbelievably superb!"moreless
  • The turning point


    The Good;

    The tearful, incredibly intimate scene between Buffy and Dawn in bed. Also am I the only one who is charmed by Buffy confiding in Tara who seems to have blossomed once she split up from Willow? LOVE the Buffy/Tara scene at the end, how many times have you seen a character crying on her knees begging NOT to be forgiven?

    The Bad;

    Even with the 'happy' ending hugely depressing.

    Best line;

    Willow; "Shimmy on out when you're done lubricating"

    Women good/men bad;

    The Geeks show their horrid misogyny. Especially awful when they refer to Katrina's body as 'it'. We see the fault lines develop in the Troika as Andrew sides with Warren and Joanthon starts to pull away from them.


    The killing of Katrina is just awful beyond belief

    Kinky dinky; Where to begin? I've heard that SMG was no fan of the Spike/Buffy relationship, she found it demeaning and it's probably because of eps like this. SO packed full of sex and sexual metaphor with the scene at the Bronze astonishingly graphic (actually that's not true, we see absolutely NOTHING but Buffy and Spike's expressions convey so much you think you've discovered free cable porn by accident) .

    Altogether now, "BAZOMBAS!" The Geeks voyeurism at the bar and enslavement of Katrina, making her wear her ridiculously sexy French Maid outfit is funny, creepy, pathetic and sexy all at the same time. But overall just CREEPY! Her flat monotone voice is especially upsetting she really does come across as a human robot (how could anyone find that attractive?). I fast forwarded through this bit on my rewatch as it just makes me cringe. As Katrina says it is rape (although you'd wonder exactly what the Sunnydale Police would do with her allegation, it's not like she has any proof? There may be a test for rohypnol but not for the influence of Magic Orbs) Obviously we're supposed to think they're going to hypnotise Buffy and make her their 'willing sex bunny' and it's been the subject of much fanfic not least because Buffy would have cleaned their clocks once the effects wore off, Katrina would still be alive and in some ways meaningless sex with them would still have been healthier than Spike? (read one very clever one where the effects of the orbs wears off but Buffy keeps playing along anyway, turning the tables on the Geeks by exploiting them as an occasional guilt-free booty call).

    Katrina refers to April the sexbot as Warren's 'wind up slut'.

    Buffy and Spike on the crypt floor is full of mixed messages. They missed the bed, again. Spike says Buffy 'Makes it hurt in all the wrong places' and says she's an 'animal' (which Buffy denies, her Buffy side struggling against her Slayer essence?) and Spike asks if she'd like to see the bitemarks? "You're amazing" and "You get the job done yourself". However Buffy seems to draw the line at handcuff sex, she sometimes likes Spike but she NEVER trusts him (and events will prove her right). We later see in her dream sequence that Spike is the one wearing the cuffs BUT she flinches guiltily later when Anya remarks that she's been 'all tied up' so I think it's open to debate as to whether she wore them or not. Anya also refers to Buffy 'pounding the big evil'. Their sex is so powerful Buffy loses the ability to use her legs for a while afterwards.

    Exactly what sort of sex do Buffy and Spike have at the Bronze? Exhibitionist certainly but what of Spike's goes where in Buffy precisiely ? I've heard one of the writers has previously stated it's conventional sex but it doesn't look like that to me, it looks like something much more kinky, intimate and taboo (Buffy even remarks beforehand that she needs 'More lubrication'!?)

    A LOT more importantly this is the ep the Spike-defenders always refer to in regard to the later rape scene, she goes 'Don't' but he presses on saying 'Stop me' and she succumbs and melts into bliss like they're Rhett and Scarlet on the staircase or something. I don't buy it, when Buffy says "Don't" she doesn't necessarily want him to stop. When she starts crying, struggling, shaking and begging him 'Please! Stop! No!" on the bathroom floor she WANTS him to stop!

    Captain Subtext;

    Buffy imagines herself having sex with Katrina. Katrina tells the Geeks they'll be homosexually raped in prison. If ever there was a time for Buffy and Tara to hook up it would be between the end of this ep and the next. Warren tells a struggling Andrew and Jonathon 'You girls stop touching each other'.

    Buffy just wants to curl up on the sofa for the night with Dawn but there's a distance between them. Joyce's illness and death brought them closer but Buffy's detachment since her ressurection has forced them apart again.

    Apocalypses; 6

    Scoobies in bondage: Buffy imagines herself in handcuffs (wants to be punished? Is that why she wants to go to jail?) but only in a dream sequence as far as we know for sure.

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 1

    Dawn; 3

    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 17

    Giles: 12

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 11

    Will: 8

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1


    Dawn; 2

    Kills: 1 demon for Buffy and 2 for Spike

    Buffy: 103 vamps, 42 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 werewolf, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 8 vamps, 2 demon, 1 human, 1 god.

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 6 vamps + 3 demons +1 fawn.

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 6 vamps, 2 zombies, 1 a demon,

    Anya: 1 vamp and 1 a demon

    Riley; 18 vamps + 7 demons

    Spike; 8 vamps and 4 demons

    Buffybot; 2 vamps

    Tara; 1 demon

    Dawn; 1 vamp

    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 4

    Anya; 1

    Dawn; 1

    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 7

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 4

    Tara; 1


    Spike; 1

    Recurring characters killed: 11, poor Katrina

    Jesse, Flutie, Jenny, Kendra, Larry, Snyder, Professor Walsh, Forrest, McNamara, Joyce, Katrina

    Sunnydale deaths;


    Total number of scoobies:

    Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Spike,

    Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)

    Preying Mantis Lady, Inca Mummy Girl, Drusilla, VampWillow, Anya (arguably Buffy & Faith with their demon essences?), Dracula?

    Scoobies shot:

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Riley; 1

    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

    Giles: 2; Joyce & Olivia, possibly Jenny and 3xDraccy babes?

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 4 confirmed; Angel, Parker, Riley, Spike. 1 possible, Dracula(?)

    Angel: 1;Buffy

    Joyce: 1;Giles, 2 possible, Ted and Dracula(?)

    Oz: 3; Groupie, Willow & Verucca

    Faith:2 ;Xander, Riley

    Xander: 2; Faith, Anya

    Willow: 2;Oz and Tara

    Riley; 3; Buffy, Sandy and unnamed vampwhore

    Spike; 1 Buffy

    Spike; good or bad?

    A pivotal episode in this genre. Spike cares for Buffy so he helps her cover up the murder. But he doesn't care for Katrina, he truly doesn't understand why Buffy is so upset at killing her (even Faith and Warren show remorse). Not his fault, he doesn't have a soul. Spike makes many of the arguments that Faith made when she killed Finch but the difference is that Faith was in denial and making excuses whilst Spike actually believes what he's saying, he has no guilt as Faith had. He also comments that he once ate a decorator.

    Dawn in peril; 8

    Dawn the bashful virgin; 6

    Questions and observations;

    Once again we see the difference in Faith and Buffy, how Buffy reacts to having killed someone and how Faith did (at least how she did in the past). Why doesn't Buffy just go to the Watcher's Council and ask them for their judgement? Willow has had no spells for 32 days, making this ep a full month after DMP. Note Buffy's little 'Thank you' to God/PTB when Katrina's scream interrupts her lusty feelings for Spike. Please note that when Buffy tells Dawn what's happened and what she intends to do Dawn never goes "What's going to happen to me?", she only expresses concern for her sister not herself. "You always hurt the one you love" is featured again just like in the Angel ep RM w/a Vu. Some great acting from Danny Strong when Warren and Andrew are euphoric at getting away with murder, you can just see Jonathon knows he's got in way over his head.

    Marks out of 10; 5/10 good episode but not much fun for anyone

  • Gives You That Sick Feeling...In A Good Way

    Dead Things-The Troika's latest scheme, a new device which will make women their mindless slaves, goes horribly wrong when Warren's ex-girlfriend Katrina is accidentally killed. The trio use magic to make Buffy think that she has killed Katrina - and it works. Between finding out the truth about her resurrection and believing that she has killed an innocent girl, Buffy's world begins to fall apart.

    It's not even the end of the season yet Season 6 up to this point is probably the darkest season of Buffy, but of any other TV season I've ever seen. Yes, darker than any season of Angel, darker than Supernatural, even True Blood, because despite all the blood and sex that spews from that series, it's pretty campy about it. Yet this season of Buffy goes beyond anything I've ever seen, especially when we know how the series started out. The writers are seriously putting the characters through the Ringer this season to the point where even Sarah Michelle Gellar admitted years ago she was kinda put off by Season 6 at times and uncomfortable with the material, but who can blame her? That witty, light-hearted supernatural high school drama we once knew is gone, now we see as series with very surreal, mature themes about love, sex, drugs, abuse, obsession, loneliness and ultimately...life. During the course of Season 6, some of these themes were illustrated beautifully (Bargaining, After Life, Life Serial) or pretty sloppy with a disastrous outcome (Gone, Doublemeant Palace), here, the writers once again find that great balance ofsolidcharacter development and riveting dark drama. I honestly had written off his episode previous, but after just-rewatching it, I was thoroughly impressed. When the writers really go for the psychological aspects of the characters, it's amazing.

    One thing that was desperately needed at this point was for the Trio to develop, at this point, they've been childish nerds trying to live out a fantasy about being super-villains having absolutely no idea what being a "villain" truly means. When they turn Katrina, Warren's ex, into a sex slave as the latest part of their plan, things really start to hit home. Katrina makes sums it perfectly by telling them that it's rape and it leads to a horrifying moment where Warren accidentally kills her. It's a shocking moment with very convincing acting from those three actors. From Andrew's "Oh Gods" to Jonathan's anger to Warren taking charge and planning a way to cover up the body, now this is where the Trio really shines. This is not only a pivotal moment for Trio but a lot more for Warren, as he descends to an even darker place by season's ends. But here, when the Trio plan to pin the murder of Katrina on Buffy, it's probably the most sinister plan they've thought of and not some supernatural prank. The time whammy they put on Buffy is really well done, SFX wise, not to mention continues this season's trend of disturbing sequences. Buffy's reaction to killing Katrina and Spike's desperation to protect Buffy by getting rid of the body is very reminiscent of "Bad Girls" and "Consequences" with Faith's committing her first murder. I also love how Buffy's guilt-ridden dream with allusions to her despair over her relationship with Spike. I really liked all the Buffy/Spike scenes this episode. Essentially, Buffy is in an abusive relationship, especially during the scene at the Bronze where Buffy is looking down at her friends while Spike comes from behind her...and well....you know. It's a creepy moment where Spike whispers into ear and tells her she doesn't belong with them but in the shadow in him. Then there's that haunting moment where they are on each side of his crypt door, sensing each other. The scene where Buffy beats Spike to death is one of the most heart-wrenching moments from the series as Buffy beats Spike's face in until he is brutally deformed. The moment where he calls out for Buffy as walks away was especially chilling. Once again, Sarah and James are doing remarkable work here, I was left speechless after that scene.

    They are other great character moments spread throughout the episode. For one, it was great having Tara back. Tara and Willow re-unting outside the Magic Box was a touching moment between them. You can tell how happy Tara was to see Willow's progression and Willow was happy to see Tara actually speaking to her. Also, Tara's sub-plot with researching Spike's sudden ability to hurt her shows how Buffy and Tara's friendship has grown, leading to a devastating breakdown from Buffy when Tara reveals that nothing is wrong with her. It's a truly complex and tragic moment for Buffy as she truly wants something to be wrong with her to find an excuse for her unhealthy relationship with Spike. You once again feel for Buffy here as she continues to spiral downhill not knowing why she's doing the things she's done and fearing what will happen when the truth gets out. Sarah is masterful and Amber is wonderful as well when Tara finds out about Buffy and Spike. I loved how she just knew, but didn't judge Buffy and knew she was just hurting, showing Tara has grown to be a good support system for the Scooby Gang. All and All, "Dead Things" is atremendouslydisturbing yet profoundly moving hour.moreless
  • "You always hurt the one you love" – Spike

    We start with a customary Buffy fight. No, she's having sex again. She's a lover not a fighter. And this isn't just an in-between shifts shag: for a few moments she even engages in post-coital conversation, until Spike ruins it by comparing her to an animal. As we know, Buffy is scared of not having real feelings, of being hard, being inhuman. Spike knows how to push the wrong, as well as the right, buttons. In this scene, he is the 'feminine' one, living only for her, asking if she likes him, does she trust him, and Buffy the hard hearted mannish one, wanting only sex and distraction from her dull job. As she turned to Spike, the outsider, with her coming-back-from-the-dead problems, she now turns to another person outside of the gang to help with the Spike problem: Tara, whom she wants to investigate Willow's resurrection spell. "I think I came back wrong," she tells her. Is her predilection for rough sex with Spike due to the Urn of Osiris being broken before the spell was complete?

    Meanwhile, the geeks have found a new lair – Andrew's house – and a new toy, a cerebral dampener. The name is important, it dampens down cerebral activity. It doesn't make the holder devilishly attractive to women as with Xander and Amy's spell in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, it takes away free will. This is the trio's revenge on women (Jonathan wishes he'd had one in high school). But while Jonathan and Andrew are interested in "bazumas" and short skirts, Warren is far more single-minded. He wants his ex-girlfriend, Katrina, but he doesn't just want her to be his girl again, he wants her passive, objectified and under control, much like April, his robot girlfriend. Spike was compared to April in I Was Made To Love You, here we see Buffy using Spike for sex without considering his feelings, just as the boys want to use Katrina for their sexual plaything; the difference being of course that Spike is a willing victim. The boys compare women to "candy" and dolls – Warren says: "You can play with her when I've finished with her". This, to the guys, is not gang rape, it's similar to teenage films such as Weird Science where boys want to make their own women for fun. Andrew wants to live in a fantasy, Jonathan wants to be someone other than himself, but Warren is turning out to be evil. When Katrina comes out of the spell and points out what they're doing: "A bunch of little boys, playing at being men. This is not a game, you bunch of freaks: it's rape!", Warren hits her over the head. It's not an accident as they tussle, it's quite plainly murder. Warren even wants to cerebrally dampen her again after he has attacked her. The boys want to go to the police, not because they have a moral compass, but because they're scared of what Buffy will do to them. However, Warren has other ideas: "We have to get rid of it," he says, denying that Katrina was even a person. "It's her problem now," he claims after Buffy is tricked into thinking that she killed Katrina – responsibility is abdicated absolutely. In framing Buffy, the three fail again to see her as a person with a life and people who rely on her, and in the end, although Jonathan seems unsure, we see Andrew too turning to the dark side as he realises that the troika literally got away with murder – they are super-villains after all - not a bunch of little boys.

    Buffy's reaction is quite different. Despite having "killed" Katrina accidentally, she is determined to confess her sins to the police. But is it more than a martyr complex making Buffy do this? Dawn, after understanding last week that Buffy will always have lowly jobs, has gone into in an adolescent strop once more: "I didn't think you'd care, you're never here", she tells Buffy and, in her solipsism, she believes that Buffy wants to turn herself in because she can't bear to be near Dawn. There is a grain of truth in her egotism, Buffy does want to relinquish responsibility, forget her job and her life and Spike by being taken into custody. Spike has other ideas though, he makes her leave the scene of the crime, hides the body and invokes the spirit of Faith when he asks what one accidental death is compared to all of those lives she's saved. But killing someone is the icing on Buffy's feeling-like-a-demon cake. Her determination to sacrifice herself is fuelled by her guilt over the way she treats Spike; he and Katrina become one person in her dream. When she beats up Spike, she is beating on herself: "There is nothing good or clean in you, you are dead inside. You can't feel anything real"; again this is similar to when Faith in Buffy's body hit "herself" in the face. Buffy can strike Spike until his vamp face is smacked off because he is a vampire, this kind of domestic violence with a human would be awful. She can sleep with him without treating him well because he is an "evil blood-sucking fiend." But this makes her feel guilty, not because she secretly loves Spike, but because of the person it makes her. This is why she is so resolved to determine that she has come back wrong.

    But Spike brings it on himself. Not content with sex, he wants Buffy to himself, wanting her to distance herself from her friends by telling her they'd think badly of her if they knew she was sleeping with him. On top of the sex is the murder – their shared secret (until, even in her distress, her slayer instincts kick in and Buffy realises that Warren is behind Katrina's death). He wants her alone, just as he wanted Dru to himself without the involvement of Angel or Darla. Like Warren, he too wants control. His insistence that she "belong[s] in the shadows" is an attempt to make her his partner, rather than his f*ck-buddy but he also trying to invoke the emotional connection they had in Afterlife when she confessed to him alone that she was in heaven and not hell. He doesn't realise that reminding her of a) her detachment from her friends and b) her shadowy side does not endear him to her, much less forge a connection. Just as Riley didn't understand Buffy's dark side, even visiting vamptitutes to try and get it, Spike does not comprehend her light, human side, because it conflicts with her desires for him. Tara, Buffy's spirit guide in Restless, tells Buffy that she didn't come back wrong and Spike's ability to hurt her is only due to a bit of mystical physics. Tara shows herself more forgiving of Buffy's dark addiction than Willow's as she tells Buffy it's ok to have sex with Spike. But Buffy doesn't want forgiveness: "Tell me that I'm wrong, please don't forgive me" – she can't accept herself and doesn't want Tara to do so, she doesn't want her feelings towards Spike to be normal: sex should be about love and flowers, not dark desires: "He's everything I hate, he's everything I'm supposed to be against." Like many twenty-somethings, she is having an identity crisis as she says: "This can't be me. It isn't me; why do I feel like this?"moreless
  • It's the "OMG I killed a Human!" plot line.

    Wow, I totally agree with Sarah Gellar with the whole disliking of the balcony scene with Spike. That was totally disgusting. When Buffy and Spike were fighting those demons, I thought for sure that it was Warren and his Merry Band who were messing up with the whole time sequence.

    You know, I wanna say, I hope those three learned their lesson, but I somehow doubt that. Getting girls to become their mindless sex slaves? That's super un-evil genius and just goes to prove how pathetic they are that they need to mess with the forces to get laid. Ick.moreless
Marion Calvert

Marion Calvert


Guest Star

Rock Reiser

Rock Reiser

Desk Sergeant

Guest Star

Bernard K. Addison

Bernard K. Addison

Cop #1

Guest Star

Danny Strong

Danny Strong


Recurring Role

Adam Busch

Adam Busch


Recurring Role

Tom Lenk

Tom Lenk


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

    • In the scene where Willow and Tara have the awkward conversation in front of the Magic Box, Willow is seen wearing the EXACT outfit she wears during the climax of the season (Last three episodes) Black jacket with studded buttons and black jeans.

    • The one vinyl LP which is clearly visible during the first scene with the Troika is Frampton Comes Alive. Released in early 1976, the album eventually sold over six million copies, spent 10 weeks at #1, and 96 weeks on the billboard top 200 albums.This album became the top selling album of 1976, and, at the time, it was the top selling live album of all time. Now, more than 30 years later, it is still the fourth best-selling live album of all time.

    • Near the end of the final scene between Buffy and Tara, Buffy puts her head down on Tara's legs. Tara then leans forward and puts her hands on Buffy's head (Buffy is out of the shot here). The shot changes to a side view and Tara leans forward and places her hands on Buffy's head for a second time.

    • Katrina, Warren's ex-girlfriend from I Was Made To Love You (5x15), marks Warren's first kill.

    • In the scene when Buffy is fighting the demons in the woods, and accidentally hits Katrina. Watch Katrina closely as she falls on the top of the hill, just below her you can see the cardboard pop up.

    • When Warren is talking at the start about the Cerebral Dampener, there is a bang hanging down on his forehead. Then while he is still talking it cuts to a close up shot of him, and his bang is up with the rest of his hair, and he clearly didn't touch his forehead because the camera was on his face the whole time.

    • It's weird how Buffy and Spike can fight beside the police building and yet haven't been caught for violence!

  • QUOTES (9)

  • NOTES (5)

    • Sarah Michelle Gellar, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly shortly after she announced quitting the show, said that this episode was her least favorite. The reasons she gives are that in her opinion, the whole sixth season put across an overtly different Buffy Summers and strayed from the original message of the show. She mentions Buffy's balcony scene with Spike as being her least favorite scene from the show's run.

    • This is the second time during the run of Buffy that we see Buffy think she's "killed" a "human." The first time is in Ted, where she "kills" the robot Ted, and this time, when Buffy is tricked into thinking she killed Katrina. This is perhaps a nod to the strength of Buffy's character, as even after having been in heaven she still feels just as guilty as she had the previous time.

    • According to the date on Warren's computer, the events of this episode occur around February 5, 2002 which is also the day this episode aired.

    • Amelinda Embry's husband Ethan Embry co-starred with Nicholas Brendon in the 2004 TV movie Celeste in the City as well as Can't Hardly Wait with Amber Benson, Seth Green, and season 1 guest star Clea DuVall.

    • The music playing when Buffy and Spike are on opposite sides of the crypt is "Out Of This World" by Bush.


    • Buffy: Is There Singing? Are we singing again?
      When she sees Dawn and Xander dancing she is worried that Sweet, the demon from Once More With Feeling (6x07) who had the power to make people sing and dance, has been called again.

    • Buffy: So that's why time went all David Lynch?
      David Lynch is the creator of the outstanding yet confusing drama Twin Peaks. The show was filmed at times very similarly to the fight scene in which Buffy "kills Katrina." Anya explained that the presence of the demons in this dimension caused a sort of temporal imbalance in time and space, causing the distortion.