Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 4 Episode 11


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 18, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
502 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Now that Riley knows that Buffy is the Slayer, and she knows that he is one of the mysterious commandos, they are having a hard time redefining their relationship. Meanwhile, to distract Giles from focusing on the commandos, Buffy tries to convince him that the recent earthquake might be a prophecy of doom and should be investigated. Then, when a new group of demons shows up in town stealing items of a mystical nature, it appears that she may be right after all.moreless

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  • This is a really good episode with a terrible plot, which is quite possibly the most inept of the entire series.

    The plot itself is not funny, it's hokey, and it really tears apart the show's respect for the hard work other villains go through to try to end the world. Apparently all it takes nowadays is the blood of a man, the bones of a child, and a talisman. After watching this, how does the writer not expect us to beg the question, "how in the hell does this world even exist right now if that's all it takes to destroy it?" Even in the midst of great character continuity, I can't help but be disgusted by how insulting this plot is. This is a giant complaint which drastically pulls the score down. I can handle silly, sloppy, or useless plots, but not completely inept ones. While I'm at it, I'll just pass right over the fact that "we've already done this" before, many times.

    Anyway, lets move on to the good. First off, I've got to point out how much I respect Whedon and the writing team for letting us hear the conversation that was left open at the end of "Hush". Lesser shows would have taken the easier route and just given us little hints about what happened. Instead we get an interesting exchange between the two of them. Riley starts it off by commenting on her strength and speed. Her response, "Also passionate, artistic and inquisitive," goes to show that she is still bothered when defined completely by her Slayerness. Even though she's accepted her role as the Slayer she still, at least deep down, will forever want to be recognized as a human being. This theme goes back to the beginning of the series, but the most recent example of it is in "Homecoming".

    Riley shows up in the cemetary later and his presence and location likely bring back memories of Angel. Boyfriend who fights demons in the cemetary with her. She might have even remembered the final picnic her and Angel shared in the cemetary, the one in "Choices" when she said the Mayor didn't know what he was talking it. Her relationship with Riley is now looking pretty 'doomed' and she's terrified that she'll end up just being hurt again. Riley's response to all this skepticism is strong. He says, "Buffy, I'm thrown by this, I'm confused... But I can feel my skin humming, my hands, my every inch of me. I've never been this excited about anybody before. I'm not trying to scare you, and I'm not going to force myself on you. But I'm, by God, not going to walk away because I think it might not

    This Buffy and Riley conflict continues all throughout the episode. Later on Riley tells Buffy she's self-involved and has a "doom and gloom" outlook on life. To Riley it really is an adventure and he doesn't know what she's been through. Buffy has to be self-involved, to an extent, to do her job. I really sympathize with both of them though. Riley's just ignorant about what he's getting himself into and Buffy's genuinely worried about being hurt again -- she has every right to be. It's unfortunate that at the very end of the episode we see Buffy completely disregard everything she told Riley earlier. I don't fully understand why she would change her mind, and especially that quickly. Riley happened to help her out during the big fight, so that was enough to convince her they can successfully work together? I think that's the point they were trying to get across, but I'm not convinced at all. We find out later that even though Buffy decides to have a relationship with Riley, she never does fully open up her heart to him like she did with Angel. This way she can still have a relationship without risking that pain. The fact she's closed off her heart stems directly back to the events of "Becoming Pt. 2", which left a permanent scar on her heart that won't be fully healed by series end.

    Xander, on the other hand, has a new job as a pizza delivery guy. It's nice to get an update on his ever-changing stable-job search. This job obviously isn't going to last very long. The focus, though, is definitely on Willow and Spike here. While at a party Willow spots Percy and walks over for a chat. He is polite enough to her but when his girlfriend says he was checking her out, his defense is to put down Willow and call her a nerd behind her back. Of course she overhears this and is genuinely hurt. She's worked hard to create a new persona for herself in college with the new hair and her huge appetite for powerful magic.

    In a few words Percy was able to make Willow doubt the change in herself -- he makes her feel like a nerdy high school girl again, even though she isn't that person anymore. I know exactly how this can feel, though, as there's been times when I thought I knew my stuff when someone with more self-confidence came along and made me feel like I hadn't learned anything at all. When the group gathers to discuss the dead guy Willow found, we find out that she's more upset about Percy's comment than the fact she was trying to sleep next to a bled dead guy. I also love how she sounds like she's all upset about the murder. She says, "There was so much blood, and there - there was a symbol, and Percy said I was a nerd!" This is another wonderful BtVS moment of mixing drama with humor.

    There's a couple things happening with Spike here as well. On the surface it seems like the writers are using him purely for comic relief, and the character is suffering as a result. If you look a little further, though, there's a lot more going on. Early on we see Spike still stuck in Xander's basement. This is Hawaiian Spike, who's stuck wearing a Hawaiian shirt and looks completely pathetic. Xander tells him that he's not even worth beating up, and we can immediately tell that this severely hurts Spike. We see this through James Marsters' fantastic subtle face gestures which he's so good at. This is the moment Spike reaches the low point of his existence. He's so useless and frustrated that he tries to stake himself. This is entirely in character based on what we've seen of him earlier, especially in "Lover's Walk". When I first watched this episode I was beginning to get concerned that they were ruining Spike, but now that I know what's in store for him I realise all of this is just natural development based on what he's been through, and that he'll regain a lot his 'cool' early in S5.

    Once he's saved from staking himself he discovers he does have a weapon to hurt the Scoobies after all. His speech to Willow and Xander about how useless they are is simply wonderful. This plays off of Percy's nerd comment to Willow earlier, and Xander's lack of job stability. Plus, as is usual from Spike, there's just enough truth thrown in to get them thinking about it. Spike's huge grin after realising how successful he was at making Willow and Xander feel more worthless than him says it all. Anyway, this episode has a lot of good character development while unfortunately possessing, quite possibly, the most inept plot in the history of the series. The former barely saves it from the pit of despair.moreless
  • Suffers in comparison with what's gone before

    The Good;

    Some good fights and character advancement and some excellent comedy. Favourite bit off all has to be Spike's 'American' accent (all the more brilliant when you think that this is an American playing an English character playing an American)

    The Bad;

    Riley says the demon is 3 metres tall which would make it nearly ten feet and seems way too much (drug dealers aside americans never did learn to use the metric system). He estimates it at 120kgs. How exactly? Buffy's leap down the Hellmouth beggars belief but maybe the laws of physics work differently there.

    Best line;

    Giles; It's the end of the world

    Xander/Willow; Again!

    Character death;

    One dead guy at party

    Knocked out;

    Giles again

    Women good/men bad;

    Poor Willow, inadvertently wounded by Percy at the party.


    Willow lying in the guys blood and the symbol carved into his chest

    Kinky dinky;

    The partygoers want to play 'naked limbo'. Riley says his skin is 'humming'. He also says he's not going to 'force himself upon' Buffy.

    Calling Captain Subtext;

    Spike calls Xander a poof.

    Apocalypses; 5, the demons want to open the Hellmouth

    Questions and observations;

    Percy back, hooray. Last time we'll see him unfortunately. Xander is now a pizza delivery boy just as Cordy predicted. Interesting that just as Spike says, Willow and Xander at the end are still the High School Nerds watching TV in their basement. Oddly enough Giles tries to 'Scully' Buffy both in this ep and in Hush. Marc Blucas appears in the titles for the first time. In many ways this is making the point that Xander and Willow are still the geeks they were in High School, Willow is lost at the party, she doesn't have Oz any more and doesn't have Tara yet. Reputedly the scene where Buffy objects to Giles' drawing of her was actually improvised by the cast.

    Riley says they track demons by their phermones, very like how Adam Baldwin's MiB's track the alien in Predator 2. Buffy refers to Faith and says that Slayers don't live past 25 (she and Faith both have now, they're the most successful Slayers ever). It's actually Xander who figures out the demons are the sacrifices. Quite a long ep coming in at 42 minutes (Amends is the longest at nearly 43).

    Marks out of 10; 6/10, nothing wrong with it but it comes after a very strong couple of eps

  • Demons try to end the world by opening the Hellmouth? Cause that's never happened before.

    Doomed isn't a bad episode (no episode of Buffy is truly bad) but it isn't great. It just seems like a highly pointless, unmemorable episode. Of course any Buffy episode is generally better than most TV and it is still entertaining!

    The whole storyline of demons opening the Hellmouth has been done before. 3 times I believe. This episode just reeks of unoriginality and seems like the writers were out of ideas! Of course, they had their work set out for them making the outstanding "Hush" so I can forgive them for following up with this weak effort.

    The going back to high school was a neat idea. It was a good callback to the earlier seasons and it was nice to see the school again even if it was destroyed. The inclusion of Percy also was a nice callback. It would have been good to see more of the small characters who appeared in the earlier seasons but it was good enough to see Percy again.

    Spike was the best thing about the episode- him in Xander's clothes was hilarious and I loved him trying to stake himself saying goodbye to Dru. Also great was him making fun of Xander and Willow. Finally someone tells Xander some home truths! Being able to hurt demons was a good plot point for him also and furthers his inevitible turn to good in the later seasons.

    The Buffy/Riley drama just bored me all episode. It was so long and dull and annoying. Does anyone really want them to get together? NO. Riley's just boring and his speeches bored me. Less Riley! He's already gotten old by this stage.

    I don't have a lot to say on Doomed. It's a good episode but not great. It is very filler like and while it has some nice scenes, isn't remotely spectacular.moreless
  • Doomed

    Doomed was a great episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After Buffy and Riley learn about each other's double lives they start to have doubts about being together. In the mean time there is an order of Demons collecting relics and things needed for a ritual sacrafice to bring about the end of the world. The story in this episode was really good, and there was also a lot of character development. We are starting to see the begining of a long journey ahead of Spike. Buffy and the Gang find the demons at the last minute, but with 2 of them already succeeding in their mission the fate of the world is on the line when Riley shows up and helps Buffy thwart the last demon. Their relationship is back on track which is cool, and Spike has found a way to get his bad on.moreless
  • Season 4, Episode 11.

    Buffy and Riley know each other's secrets, and they are having a hard time redefining their relationship. Buffy tries to convince Giles that the recent earthquake might be a prophecy of doom and should be investigated so he doesn't look into the Commandos too much. However, she soon learns she may have been right.

    Riley: What are you?

    Buffy: A Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius. You?

    LMAO! I liked this episode. The first half of season four is officially done. I liked seeing sexy Percy again, and the shirtless guy mixing the drinks was SEXY! I don't think Riley should be allowed to wear clothes. But I like the storyline about the new Doomsday thing. Not a bad episode at all, I guess. It's about average for this season, but I didn't give it 100% attention.moreless
Anastasia Horne

Anastasia Horne


Guest Star

Anthony Anselmi

Anthony Anselmi


Guest Star

Leonard Roberts

Leonard Roberts

Forrest Gates

Recurring Role

Bailey Chase

Bailey Chase

Graham Miller

Recurring Role

Ethan Erickson

Ethan Erickson

Percy West

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • While Spike cannot bite or hurt humans, he can hit and hurt demons.

    • While Spike cannot bite or hurt humans, he can hit and hurt demons.

    • Goof: The picture of the Word of Valios is actually just pasted into a King James Version Bible, in Ezekiel 30, to be exact. You can see that the verses skip straight from 15 to 22 behind it. Not only that, but in several places, the first letter of either 'Lord' or 'God' has been altered (presumably to make the substitution less apparent).

    • Nitpick: Willow says: "...The dead guy, he was propped up, like whatever killed him wanted to drain the blood out of him..." However, when she turns the light on, he's flat on his back and remains that way.

    • Goof: When Xander picks up the unconscious Spike in the library you can see Spike give Xander an assist with his right arm, pushing up from the floor.

    • Nitpick: While there is a lot of damage, considering the sheer size of the explosion in "Graduation Day pt. 2", the library seems to be remarkably intact. Several bookshelves appear undamaged, though scattered, the return books cage is intact and the clock is still hanging on the wall.

    • Goof: In several shots after Spike gets tossed the bag of bones, they seem to disappear and then reappear again.

    • Nitpick: The student Willow finds in bed has his eyes open when the lights come on, his eyes are closed on the close-up, and when she jumps out of bed his eyes are open again. He must have faked the whole "bled to death" thing.

    • Nitpick: Spike was wearing 3/4 cargo shorts at Xander's and while they were walking to see Buffy, but in the school he is wearing jeans. It's possible that Giles loaned him some jeans while they were there, but that doesn't sound like Giles.

    • Nitpick: It is physically impossible for Buffy to have fallen fast enough to catch the demon who jumped into the Hellmouth.

    • Nitpick: When Riley is briefing the Initiative on the demon Buffy was fighting he says it was "three meters tall... based on my visual analysis." That would make the demon almost ten feet tall.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Giles: It's the end of the world.
      Buffy, Willow, Xander: Again?

    • Riley: No weapons. No backup. You don't go after a demon that size by yourself.
      Buffy: I do.

    • Buffy: Death. Pain. Apocalypse -- none of them fun. Do you know what the Hellmouth is? 'Cause I went to school on top of it. For three years. We don't have that much in common. This is a job for you.
      Riley: It's not just a job-
      Buffy: It's an adventure, great, but for me it's destiny.

    • Buffy: Why is he even here? It's not like he can fight.
      Willow: If we leave him alone he'll stake himself.
      Buffy: And that's bad because...?

    • Riley: Well, hey! Willow, and Xander, right? Jeez, what are the chances, huh? Yeah, I was just passing by, and I thought I heard people inside.
      Willow: You were just passing by, in your G.I. Joe outfit?
      Buffy: No offense, but you do look wicked conspicuous.
      Riley: I do? Paint-ball! Yeah, I was playing paint-ball, and then the aftershock.

    • Riley: This thing, this you-and-me thing, it's stupid.
      Buffy: I know. Which is why we can't do it, the you-and-me thing.
      Riley: No, I mean you're stupid. I mean... I don't mean that. No. I think maybe I do.
      Buffy: Well, with sweet talk like that, you'll definitely melt my reservations.

    • Spike: I mean, am I even remotely scary anymore? Tell me the truth.
      Willow: Well, the shirt is kinda... not very threatening. And the short pants... But, you know, it could also be 'cause I know you can't bite. Which I guess isn't what you really need to hear right now.

    • Xander: (to Spike) I hate to break it to you, oh Impotent One, but you're not the big bad anymore. You're not even the kind of naughty. You're nothing but a waste of space. My space. And as much as I always got a big laugh watching Buffy kick your shiny white bum, as much as I know I can give you a little bum-kicking myself right now, I'm here to tell you something. You're not even worth it.

    • Riley: What are you?
      Buffy: Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius. You?
      Riley: Sorry. Came out a little blunter than I intended. It's just... You're amazing - your speed, your strength.
      Buffy: Also passionate, artistic, and inquisitive.

    • Giles: It was an earthquake, Buffy. A not uncommon occurrence in Southern California. No reason to think it was anything more.
      Buffy: Oh, I so have a reason. A darn good reason. The last time we had an earthquake, I died.
      Giles: Yes, I know that, and therefore, I completely understand your anxiety.
      Buffy: Oh, good. 'Cause I'd hate for my little untimely, horrible death concern to be ambiguous.

    • Spike: Yeah! That's right! I'm back and I'm a bloody animal!

    • Buffy: You never called. So I didn't know...
      Riley: Oh, hey. I'm sorry. I'm just… I'm a dead man. Secret. Highly. Or it's supposed to be. And-and then you find out. I can deal. You're special. But last night with your friends was a disaster. I mean, could I've been less convincing? I was trained to be sneaky and stuff, and I'm like "Hi! Paintball! Just passing by!" I should have just given them my security code and rank!
      Buffy: You have a security code and rank?

    • Spike: What's this? Sitting around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot. That's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her! She is the Chosen One after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them. For justice... and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! Oh, come on!

    • Buffy: You ready?
      Xander: Let's rock 'n' roll.
      Spike: 'Let's rock 'n' roll'? You actually talk like that?

    • Forrest: Yes! She's cool, she's hot, she's tepid, she's all-temperature-Buffy.

    • Riley: Don't I know you?
      Spike: Me? (bad American accent) No. No, sir. I'm just an old pal of Xander's here.

    • Buffy: I'm the Slayer. Slay-er.... Chosen One, she who hangs out a lot in cemeteries?.... you're kidding. Ask around. Look it up, Slayer-comma-The.

  • NOTES (10)

    • "Doomed" is the first episode that we get to see what exactly happened to Sunnydale High from the explosion in "Graduation Day (2)".

    • Spike calls Xander a "poof" in this episode. Roughly translated, he's calling Xander gay, which would be appropriate seeing as Joss was uncertain of whether Xander or Willow would turn out to be gay. Up until now, there are numerous instances to support either one.

    • When Riley questions Spike, Spike fakes a bad Texan accent to avoid recognition. This is ironic, since when James Marsters(Spike) was originally auditioning, he gave Spike's character a Texan accent. The idea was rejected, and Spike ended up with his current accent.

    • "Doomed" is the only episode that three writers are credited with writing the script. David, Jane, and Marti broke the episode up into thirds to write since there was little time for one writer to write the complete episode.

    • The character "Percy" shows up randomly. He was last seen in "Graduation Day Part 2". He appears in one scene in this episode, and is never seen again.

    • In the shooting script, Amy's mother is mentioned and she is still trapped in the cheerleading trophy where she was imprisoned at the end of the season one episode "Witch".

    • Riley asks Buffy "What are you?" and she replies, "Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius." If she's not being flippant, this means her birthday is probably 19 January 1981. This makes sense because when the episode "Surprise" aired in Season 2, it was Buffy's birthday and the air date of the episode was January 19th.

    • From this episode, Marc Blucas (Riley) is added to the opening titles cast line-up.

    • Buffy talks about a failed relationship with someone who knew her secret identity - meaning of course Angel.

    • Buffy says "the last time we had an earthquake I died" referring to the events in "Prophecy Girl".


    • Forrest: Maybe this is a bad time to tell you about Lara Croft.
      Lara Croft is the fictional heroine of Tomb Raider video games and comic books. Forrest is assuring Riley that the Slayer is only a legend.

    • Riley: It's not just a job-
      Buffy: It's an adventure, great, but for me it's destiny.
      The Navy used to use the slogan "It's not just a job, it's an adventure" for their recruiting program during the 80's and 90's.

    • Forrest: Granted they're a little rarer than the ones you grew up with on that little farm in Smallville...
      This is a reference to Smallville, Kansas, the small town where Clark Kent (aka Superman) lived and grew up as a teenager. Interestingly enough Leonard Roberts (Forrest) later appeared in two episodes of the TV series Smallville.

    • Forrest: You don't got game, son
      A reference to the 1998 film He Got Game, in which Leonard Roberts (Forrest) appeared.

    • Buffy: Is this really the time for Donkey Kong?
      Buffy pokes fun at Riley's high-tech tracking device by alluding to the video game Donkey Kong.

    • Xander: It's kind of the CBS logo. Hey, could this be the handiwork of one Mr. Morley Safer?
      The CBS television network logo is a stylized eye. Morley Safer is a news caster for CBS.

    • Forrest: Yes already. She's cool, she's hot, she's tepid, she's all temperature Buffy.
      Forrest plays on the fact that "cool" and "hot" are both positive slang adjectives and on the tagline for the laundry detergent Cheer. Cheer markets itself on the fact that it can be used in any water temperature, so its commercials refer to it as "all temperature Cheer".