Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 5 Episode 7

Fool For Love

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 14, 2000 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
602 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When a run-of-the-mill vampire seriously wounds Buffy with her own stake, she begins to obsess over the deaths of previous Slayers. Desperate for answers, she turns to the only person with firsthand knowledge of how two Slayers fell in battle... Spike.

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  • I think it's safe to say that my love of this episode will not come as a surprise to anyone.

    This is easily one of the best episodes in the series. The main plot of the season isn't even touched on, but the emotional and character themes of the season are right at the front. The revelations made about Buffy and Spike affect my entire outlook on the series in regard to these two characters. This episode is masterful in its direction, music, and acting. Several times I even find myself in complete awe over hearing some of the sharpest dialogue the show ever put out, which is saying something huge.

    There's really nothing more to say to conclude this review except that this is, flat out, one of the most phenonemal episodes of television I've ever seen, with its only competition being other Buffy episodes.moreless
  • The delight of Spikettes everywhere

    The Good;

    All the flashbacks are great. It's also nice to see Riley who's been so put upon lately in full John Wayne mode, reminding everyone he can be pretty hardcore when he wants to be. Also love Dawn's pride at having participated in some Scooby-related coverup, it's clear that despite their sibling rivalry she actually adores her sister and wants her to be proud of her .

    The Bad;

    Not much this is pretty damn stunning

    Best line;

    Buffy/Cecilly "You're beneath me" (Stick it in and break it off why don't you?)

    Women good/men bad;

    In this case we see Cecily/Buffy destroy William/Spike with just a few words.


    The deaths of both Slayers is awful. Buffy stabbed is pretty vicious too

    Kinky dinky;

    Darla get's turned on by the thought of Spike and Angelus fighting. Buffy refers to her 'sexcapades with Riley' and once again Dawn seems to revel in the opportunity to burst in upon them at an intimate moment. Spike describes Buffy's wound as 'something nasty got a taste' which seems to be his plan. Dru sucking on Spike's bloody finger.

    Captain Subtext;

    Spike calls Angelus a 'poofter' Also love Dawn's pride at having participated in some Scooby-related coverup, she obviously longs to be in the gang. Buffy learns of a past Slayer who forged her own weapons and says that you "Gotta love a girl with her own anvil" Buffy tells Giles she loves him, obvious for a long time but possibly the first time she's said the words. Spike and Buffy at the Bronze could almost be construed as a date.

    Guantanamo Bay;

    Buffy beats/bribes Spike for info

    Scoobies to the ER;

    Buffy get's stabbed with her own stake. Thankfully Riley both saves her at the scene and patches her up afterwards.

    Apocalypses; 5,

    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 1

    Dawn; 1

    Scoobies knocked out: Buffy passes out offscreen

    Buffy: 16

    Giles: 10

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 8

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1


    Kills: 5 vamps for Riley, even without his superpowers he's still a deadly warrior.

    Buffy: 86 vamps, 30 demons, 6 monsters, 3 humans, 1 spirit warrior & a robot

    Giles: 5 vamps, 1 demon

    Cordy: 3 vamps, a demon

    Will: 4 vamps

    Angel: 3 vamps, 1 demon, 1 human

    Oz: 3 vamps, 1 zombie, 1 werewolf

    Faith: 16 vamps, 5 demons, 3 humans

    Xander: 5 vamps, 2 zombies, a demon, a demon

    Anya: a demon

    Riley; 17 vamps + 7 demons

    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 3

    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 6

    Giles: 3

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 2

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 3

    Recurring characters killed: 9

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

    Sunnydale deaths;


    Total number of scoobies: 7

    Giles, Xander, Willow, Buffy, Anya, Tara, Riley

    Xander demon magnet: 5(6?)

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

    Scoobies shot: how does Spike think he can shoot Buffy when he can't even aim the fake gun Xander brought him in the Yoko factor.

    Giles: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 4

    Riley; 1

    Notches on Scooby bedpost:

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

    Cordy: 1?

    Buffy: 3 confirmed; Angel, Parker,Riley, 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; 2 Buffy and Sandy

    Questions and observations;

    In 'School Hard' Spike claims the last Slayer he killed begged for her life. Here we find she didn't although maybe he changes his story as he's trying to get with Buffy. Later we'll find she did beg but maybe not out loud? Spike's reasoning on why Buffy has survived so long seems very sound though, he's also correct that Buffy can't win forever, eventually she and Faith are going to lose if it's just the 2 of them.

    The scene where the Fang 4 are strolling through the Boxer rebellion is interesting, if you watch Buffy first it's as it appears to be. If you watch the Angel ep Darla you realise that 'Angelus' is actually a resouled Angel and has just been saving missionaries. Buffy says she's in the best shape of his life. Dawn is still shorter than her although that will change by season 7. Love the way Dawn takes such pride in covering up for Buffy, she really idolises her sister. Xander forgets the military signal Riley gives, his commando knowledge must have totally faded.

    Willam the Bloody is just great. He's sired in 1880 which means he's NOT Jack the Ripper as some have suggested who terrorised London in 1888. Note that WTB has glasses but Spike doesn't need them. Now as a vamp his scar should heal so presumably the Chinise Slayer's weapon is enchanted.

    This ep has one of the weirdest scenes ever where Buffy actually apologises to Giles that she's going to die young, implying that she's accepted her death and he hasn't?

    Marks out of 10; 9/10 a stunning ep and to the delight of Spikettes everywhere.

  • The Spike episode

    Spike has been one of my absolute characters ever since his very first appearance in season two. This episode was a gift to me.

    When Buffy gets hurt on patrol, she becomes more aware of her mortality in the everyday. She interrogates Spike on his unlife and how he got two slayers under his belt.

    His story is told in flashbacks, starting from his turning, and showing pivotal points in his vampiric life and how he became the man he is today.

    We see that Spike started out as the shy poet William, who got his infamous nickname as part of 'William the Bloody Awful Poet'. He is spurned by his ladylove, an upper class snob. He leaves in tears and runs into Drusilla. The scene is part of the B side of a crossover scene with Angel's 'Darla' episode. Then Angelus sparks his interest in slayers while William picks up a rougher working class accent. His fight with his first slayer is shown at the Boxer Rebellion, during which he acquires his eyebrow scar. He kills her, obviously. Then again, in 1977 New York, he fights his second slayer in a subway. He is full on punk by now, with the bleached blond hair we know so well. He kills this slayer not by drinking her, but by breaking her neck and taking her black coat as a trophy.

    These scenes are intercut with Spike's interactions with Buffy. They take the scene outside to the alley, where Buffy rejects Spike's advance, repeating to him the words that ended his life, "You're beneath me." Enraged, he determines to kill her, but seeing her on the back porch of her home, crying at the news of her mother's hospitalization, he sits down next to her and comforts her.

    This episode is not perfect, and most of the beginning up to where Spike comes in bores me, but it is definitely one of my all time favorite episodes. I recommend this to all newcomers.moreless
  • Season 5, Episode 7.

    A vampire stabs Buffy in the stomach with her own stake, and she becomes obsessed with the deaths of past Slayers. So, she seeks knowledge from someone who knows about the deaths better than anyone: Spike. Meanwhile, Willow, Xander, and Anya must go patrolling with Riley after Buffy's injury.

    This was an OK episode. I hate when the show has all these 1800s flashbacks. But the present had some good stuff. Buffy looks amazing, as always. I think this blooming Buffy and Spike romance is a little weird, especially because Buffy is still with Riley. Anyway, this was an OK episode, especially toward the end. :)moreless
  • Fool For Love

    Fool For Love was a superb episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's fifth season. I really enjoyed watching this episode because we got to learn more about the past of Spike, Druscilla, Angel, and Darla. Buffy wanted to learn how and why other Slayers died and asks Spike to fill her in since he killed two himself. This episode is very vital to future story lines and is also a glimpse into characters on the spin off series Angel. We start to really see the infatuation Spike has with the Slayer, and also the darkness that is in Buffy. I was really sad to hear the bad news Joyce had, and I am actually surprised that the gang didn't surmise that the monks who put Dawn in Buffy's life are responsible for what is troubling Joyce. I really look forward to finding out what happens next and to watch the story unfold!!!!!moreless
Kali Rocha

Kali Rocha

Cecily Addams

Guest Star

Edward Fletcher

Edward Fletcher

Male Partygoer

Guest Star

Katherine Leonard

Katherine Leonard

Female Partygoer

Guest Star

David Boreanaz

David Boreanaz


Recurring Role

Mercedes McNab

Mercedes McNab


Recurring Role

Juliet Landau

Juliet Landau


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (11)

    • Nitpick: Apparently Xander no longer remembers any of the military knowledge gained in "Halloween" (2x06). Riley uses one of the standard CRE (Close Range Engagement) hand signals, which are taught in boot camps of every military branch and during many different kinds of civilian law enforcement training, yet Xander does not know what it means. The "choo-choo" signal, as Willow calls it, means "hurry up." A stationary fist held out means "freeze."

    • In this episode we learn that Spike got the scar on his left eyebrow from his fight with the Chinese slayer and he got the leather jacket that he wears, from the second slayer he killed.

    • In the episode "School Hard" (2x03), Spike says to Angel "You were my sire, man!". In this episode we find out Drusilla is Spike's sire, not Angel. This may be a continuity error, or the earlier comment may have been more metaphorical than literal.

    • Goof: When removing the dead Slayer's coat a tan line can be seen on Spike's left arm. It can also be seen when Spike is getting angry while gathering the money in the alley.

    • Throughout the subway scenes Spike's reflection can be seen in the windows of the subway car.

    • Goof: In the alley just before the subway sequence Buffy threatens Spike with a stake in her right hand, yet when she first knocks him down and straddles him her hands are empty.

    • Goof: In the graveyard scene when Willow mimics Riley's "choo choo" gesture her right hand is empty. The scene pulls back to show her with Xander and Anya and suddenly she is eating a potato chip from her right hand.

    • Goof: In one of the Spike/Buffy scenes set in modern day, after we see Spike kill the Chinese Slayer, you can clearly see something obstructing the camera on the right side of the screen.

    • Goof: When Buffy pushes Spike down the side that the coat is still up his arm keeps switching, both sides down then just the right, then the left through out the whole scene.

    • Goof: Notice in the scene where Buffy pushes Spike down-she walks away and he is left crying and grabbing money. Well when they pan the camera in -notice the microphone box on James' back pants pocket, it's very visible.

    • In the episode "School Hard", Spike said, "The last Slayer I killed, she begged for her life." In this episode, we see that it is not true.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Cecily: Your poetry, it's... they're... not written about me, are they?
      Spike: They're about how I feel.
      Cecily: Yes, but are they about me?
      Spike: Every syllable.
      Cecily: Oh, God!
      Spike: Oh, I know... it's sudden and... please, if they're no good, they're only words but... the feeling behind them... I love you, Cecily.
      Cecily: Please stop!
      Spike: I know I'm a bad poet but I'm a good man and all I ask is that... that you try to see me-
      Cecily: I do see you. That's the problem. You're nothing to me, William. You're beneath me.

    • Angel: Congratulations. I guess that makes you one of us.
      Spike: Don't be so glum, mate! The way you tell it, one Slayer snuffs it, another one rises. I figure there's a new Chosen One getting all chosen as we speak. I'll tell you what. When and if this new bird does show up, I'll give you first crack at her.
      Drusilla: I smell fear.
      Angel: This whole place reeks of it.

    • Drusilla: (about Spike's and Angel's fight) The King of Cups expects a picnic. But this is not his birthday!
      Darla: (confused) Good point.

    • Buffy: Were you born this big a pain in the ass?
      Spike: What can I tell you, baby? I've always been bad.

    • Spike: Every day you wake up, it's the same bloody question that haunts you: is today the day I die? Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later it's gonna catch you. And part of you wants it... not only to stop the fear and uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it. Death is your art. You make it with your hands, day after day. That final gasp. That look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know: What's it like? Where does it lead you? And now you see, that's the secret. Not the punch you didn't throw or the kicks you didn't land. Every Slayer has a death wish. Even you.

    • Harmony: Okay, I'm trying to be supportive here, so don't drive a stake through my heart like last time. But you can't kill Buffy. She's the Slayer. She is so gonna kick your ass.
      Spike: Got two barrels here that'll prove you wrong.
      Harmony: I knew you'd take this personally. You're so sensitive! How are you gonna kill her? Think! The second you even point that thing at her, you're gonna be all "Aaagh!" And then you'll get bitch-slapped up and down Main Street, unless she's had enough and just stakes you.
      Spike: Sure, it'll hurt like hell for about two hours. But she'll be dead just a little longer than that.

    • Vampire: Killed with her own weapon. They ought to put this in a museum.
      Riley: You know what they put in museums? Mostly dead things.

    • Buffy: Tell the tale, you get the cash.
      Spike: Right. You want to learn all about how I bested the Slayers, and you want to learn fast. Right, then. We fought. I won. The end. Pay up.

    • Xander: What's with the hand wave? You see that? Does that, like, mean something?
      Willow: It's code. I think it breaks down to "choo-choo!"
      Anya: It probably means to follow him. That, or wait here for him.
      Willow: Ask him.
      Xander: Hey, Riley? What's the [hand wave] all about?
      Riley: It means yell real loud so the vampires who don't know we're coming will have a sporting chance.
      Xander: See, now he's all mad and sarcastic.

    • Giles: What does it say?
      Buffy: Same as all the others. Slayer called, blah blah, great protector, blah blah, scary battles, blah blah, oops! She's dead.

    • Joyce: I'm fine, bordering on chipper, and tomorrow planning on being obnoxious.

    • Buffy: I can't believe I passed out. Do you think I'm a total wuss now?
      Riley: Oh, yeah. I like a girl who can play a few hard sets of tennis with a major stab wound.
      Buffy: You said it wasn't that bad.
      Riley: I said I've seen worse. There's a difference.
      Buffy: Well, at least no major organs got kebabed.

    • Spike: How many of my kind do you think you've done?
      Buffy: Not enough.
      Spike: Mm-hmm. And we just keep comin'. But you can kill a hundred, a thousand, a thousand thousand, and the armies of hell besides, and all we need is for one of us, just one, sooner or later to have the thing we're all hoping for.
      Buffy: And that would be what?
      Spike: (whispers in her ear) One... good... day.

    • Drusilla: And I wonder what possible catastrophe came crashing down from heaven and brought this dashing stranger to tears? Oh, I see you. A man surrounded by fools who cannot see his strength, his vision, his glory. That, and burning baby fish swimming all around your head.

    • Dawn: Did I just pull a Slayer-related Mom cover-up thing? Come on. Who's the man?
      Buffy: You are. A very short, annoying man.

    • Buffy: Accelerated healing powers come with the Slayer package. And the boyfriend who comes complete with combat medical training? That's just a Buffy Summers bonus.

    • Spike: Sooner or later, you're gonna want it. And the second — the second — that happens, you know I'll be there. I'll slip in, have myself a real good day.

    • Buffy: So you traded up on the food chain. Then what?
      Spike: Oh, please! Don't make it sound like something you'd flip past on the Discovery Channel. Becoming a vampire is a profound and powerful experience. I could feel this new strength coursing through me. Getting killed made me feel alive for the very first time.

    • Spike: As I thought: Some nasty thing got a taste of you.
      Buffy: Don't get all excited. I'm fine.
      Spike: Oh, right. Stuck in a dark corner with a creature you loathe, digging up past uglies, 'cause you're fine.

    • Dawn: When do I get to patrol?
      Buffy: Not until you're never.

    • Spike: Come on Slayer, you know you wanna dance.
      Buffy: Say it's true, say I want to. It wouldn't be you Spike, it would never be you... You're beneath me.

  • NOTES (9)

    • This episode is ninth in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to his personal letter included in the Australian Chosen Collection Box-set. The episodes on this top ten list are not ranked, but are put in order of which episode aired first.

    • The actresses who play the Chinese Slayer and the Subway Slayer in Spike's flashbacks are both also professional stunt performers as well as actors, and both performed their own stunts.

    • In what might be another reference to the Blade series, the second slayer that Spike killed bears a striking resemblance to Blade's mother in the first movie. In fact, both women give birth to future vampire hunters - Blade's mother to Blade, the Subway Slayer to Robin Wood from the seventh season of Buffy.

    • In reality, James Marsters got the scar during a New York mugging.

    • Doug Petrie only had 4 days to deliver the script for this episode.

    • This episode was originally going to be called "Love's Bitch" which would be a reference to the speech Spike makes about love in the episode "Lover's Walk" in season 3.

    • Spike tells Buffy about (and we see) the Slayer he killed in New York in 1977. In the season 7 episode "First Date" we learn who that Slayer is.

    • The Boxer Rebellion scenes that were also shown in the Angel episode "Darla" (the sequel to this episode that followed straight after this one) were directed by Tim Minear.

    • Kali Rocha, who plays Cecily, will return to the Buffyverse as Halfrek in "Doublemeat Palace".


    • Spike: Here endeth the lesson.
      The phrase "Here endeth the lesson" is part of the Anglican church service. Millions of people have heard it once a week, every week of their lives. Hence in other contexts it is used to suggest that the lesson you have just received is comparable to the word of God. The phrase occurs widely. Sean Connery's character says it in The Untouchables (1987). The Master says it in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date". Buffy says it in "Showtime".

    • Title: "Fool for Love"
      Fool For Love, is also the title of a 1985 movie starring Sam Shepard and Kim Basinger.

    • Spike: (about getting vamped) Don't make it sound like something you'd flip past on the Discovery Channel.
      The Discovery Channel is a US cable station offering documentary programs about nature, animals, health, travel, etc. (Also referenced in "The I in Team").

    • Buffy: It's about two Slayers: One in China in the Boxer Rebellion...
      The Boxer Rebellion was an anti-Westerner uprising in China that took place from 1900 to 1901. Resentful of the economic power and social condescension practiced by Europeans and Americans living in China around the turn of the century, the Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi encouraged her subjects to rise up. This led to a group of armed Chinese calling themselves "The Fist of Righteous Harmony" smashing up western-controlled train stations and businesses and eventually actually murdering Westerners. A coalition of Western forces including the U.S. Marines fought the Chinese back to Peking and imposed harsh terms of surrender upon them.

    • Buffy: Look, I realize that every Slayer comes with an expiration mark on the package. But, I want mine to be a long time from now. Like a Cheeto.
      Cheetos are a cheesy crunchy snack produced by Frito-Lay. Because they are a junk food packed with preservatives, they have a long shelf-life — though they will go stale much sooner than Buffy would have you think.