Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 18

Killed by Death

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Mar 03, 1998 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (23)

out of 10
671 votes
  • Killed by Death

    This is an interesting little episode. The cinematography really won me over here as the events are shot in a very creepy style. There's a lot of atmosphere, and as everyone knows by now, atmosphere ranks high on 'good' list. That still doesn't change the fact that nothing important happens and that it's very weak compared to the potent "Passion" (2x17). Nonetheless, like "Inca Mummy Girl" (2x04), I find this episode decent enough.

    Like I mentioned before, I really love the camera work in this episode. It succeeds in displaying the hospital as an ugly and creepy place. Everything begins in the cemetary where Buffy passes out do to the flu. The Scoobies rush her into the hospital where chaos and uncertainty run wild. The gang is really scared that Buffy's not going to be okay. Giles and Joyce quickly make it to the hospital where Buffy is stabilized but still somewhat delusional. I've got to admit, it's scary seeing Buffy delirious like this and it reminds me of the frightening "Normal Again" (6x17). Also a nice little touch is how Cordelia "looks away" in anguish when they give Buffy a sedative shot.

    Also worth noting is Angelus' creepy visit to the hospital. Xander stands up to him when Angelus says, "Buffy's White Knight. You still love her. It must just eat you up that I got there first." Xander replies with the perfect comeback, "You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there." Both come true in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22), although Xander doesn't get to see Buffy actually kill him.

    Later on the group is taking Buffy for a stroll in her wheelchair outside the hospital. During this moment, both Buffy and Spike are in wheelchairs. How funny is that? Look at where these two, who were fighting to the death back in "School Hard" (2x03), are now: crippled and helpless. Anyway, I love the reference to Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal in the same scene. Xander says, "Ooo, if he asks you to play chess, don't even do it. The guy's, like, a whiz."

    There's a couple other positives aspects to mention. One is that I'm really happy the doctor isn't the bad guy. Things stay somewhat unpredictable in every episode of this show. Another thing I liked is the final scene where Willow, Xander, and Buffy are all snuggled up on top of Buffy's bed eating snacks and watching TV. Very homely and cute.

    There's only a few things I didn't care for. Even though the episode's got a creepy tone, the pace is a bit too slow in some places. The one huge complaint I have, though, is Buffy's flashbacks of her cousin's death. As soon as we find out her cousin was killed by the same demon, the said cousin then turns into a plot contrivance just there to make us more sympathetic to Buffy. This connection was completely unnecessary. Also, the young girl version of Buffy looks nothing like Buffy. So while this isn't a particularly complex or standout episode, it works well as a slow, creepy, and decent little outing with the Scoobies.

  • Curing illness Slayer style

    Killed by death

    The Good;

    Very creepily shot and the central concept is just terrifying. Love the scoobs at the end and the kids drawing. Cordy's funny scene with the security guard, Cordy 'helping' Giles with research. Best of all though is Xander's Dirty Harry style confrontation with Angelus.

    The Bad;

    Not much

    Best line;

    Angelus; If I chose to walk in there do you think for one moment you could stop me?

    Xander; Maybe I couldn't. Maybe those orderlies couldn't. Or that security guard. Or those cops. But I'm kinda curious to find out..." (the coolest Xander moment ever!)

    Wheldon cliches;

    Knocked out; yep, Buffy

    Questions and observations;

    Willie Garson is great as the security guard, he also plays Carrie's friend Stanford in Sex and the City (which SMG guest stars in). Love Cordy's high-heels and miniskirt. Buffy passes out. Willow's frog fear re-occurs. You wonder if Buffy had taken the concentrated flu virus would it have killed her, she's pretty tough? Or once again is Buffy saved by her friends and family where any other Slayer would have died. Slayer healing again.

    Obvious similarity to Nightmare on Elm Street although I also think the demon rather resembles Kid Rock? (anyone else read the fanfic where Freddy Kreuger kills Anya and Buffy only to wake up strapped to the bed in a mental hospital with Buffy as his nurse?)

    The first alternate Buffy played by Mimi Paley. She's ok but not as good as the little girl we'll see in season 5. Buffy's had a cousin called Celia, Aunt Arlene's daughter? Even as a kid Buffy played at being a superhero and attracted the supernatural. Again, isn't Joyce a bit suspicious about Giles' turning up at Buffy's bedside? Love the bit about the Scoobs playing doctor (anyone else share Cordy's sceptisim about Buffy's denials?).

    10/10 up to the standard of late Buffy season 2 and you can't give much higher praise than that

  • Killed by Death

    Killed by Death was another great episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I enjoyed watching this episode though at times it seemed a bit too slow. This is not one of my favorite episodes and I'd go as far as to say you don't really need to watch it to continue in the series. However it is still entertaining and has a decent story. I thought the whole premise was good, and reminded me a little of Jeepers Creepers. I think there were some minor character developments in this episode, however not majorly essential to the overall feel and form of the show.
  • freaky

    i'd say this is one of the scariest buffy episodes because the demon is just so god damn scary! they really made him horrific and the fact that only kids could see him as well was just brilliant and buffy even managed to fight it whilst she was sick so that was just plain awesome. yeah i loved this episode but it was kinda sad that some of the kids in it died before buffy came because they couldn't defend themselves :( yes that was really sad. I am just trying to fill up space in this review now,haha so i shall keep talking. woo woo woo woo woo
  • A big step back after "Passion".

    Whereas the previous episode was a milestone for the series with an extremely daring move in the seasonal narrative, this one feels out of place. It is reminiscent of earlier "Buffy" episodes, back when they weren't quite sure what this series would be about. Since there are still four episodes left this season, perhaps these episodes serve to pad the season so they could have Buffy confront Angelus in the finale as would be dramatically appropriate.

    Considering what happened, it would make sense for Buffy to feel responsible and helpless over what happened to Jenny. So they explore that by detailing Buffy's hospital fear after helplessly watching her cousin die when she was younger. Apparently Buffy had no problem empowering herself long before she was called, but that impotence when faced with the loss of someone close has remained too.

    When children start to die at an alarming rate, Buffy puts the pieces together as a tangible foe, whereas her friends believe she's doing so to deal with her feelings after Jenny's death. She isn't comfortable in situations where she doesn't have control. Ultimately to confirm her beliefs that there is something beatable diminishes the impact of her character's story. Although they slipped into this throughout the series, they would get better at handling the situation.

    There are three separate threads to this episode: the past with Buffy and her cousin, der Kinderstod and Buffy's feelings of helplessness. Ultimately they don't come together, even if it's clear what they were trying for when they made this episode. Some things are glaringly tacked on, like Willie Garson's security guard character who had some admiration for the controversial doctor (luckily the actor would have more to work with as Carrie's gay best friend on "Sex and the City"). Another episode mourning Jenny might've been a better call.

    Making Buffy sick is a possible solution, but the way they go about it is too ridiculous to swallow. How exactly would Willow know the vial in Dr. Backer's cabinet would be poisonous in its pure form and would have to be diluted, not to mention how much water she would need to dilute it properly? By taking the point of Buffy making herself weak so she can confront her weakness down this avenue, it diminishes the point they were trying to make.

    There are some more glaring plot holes as well. For a doctor to go missing with a bunch of children dying, wouldn't it make sense for someone to connect the two and surmise they are related? Kinderstod's murder of Dr. Backer isn't clear either: instead of keeping a low profile, going after a healthy doctor is going to raise eyebrows, even if the demon can't be seen from a healthy person's perspective. Also, why isn't security airtight?

    The most satisfying point of the episode is Xander playing Buffy's "white knight" when Angelus tries to mockingly leave some flowers for her. While Xander is a character frequently bogged down by his own insecurities, he'll still able to pull through with moments like these. Standing up to one of the greatest monsters of all time, not to mention one who is going for the emotional jugular, is a major victory.

    His defense and allegiance to Buffy continues to strain his relationship with Cordelia. The fact that they can never have a happy romantic relationship because of Xander's attachment to Buffy becomes increasingly clear. While they made up after Xander's love spell debacle, it was hardly a smooth reunion. She was flattered that he went to such lengths!

    Another brief moment is Joyce's words of consolation to Giles. Considering his death wish at the end of the last episode, it's unfortunate not enough was done in this episode. It does add a little to the connection between Joyce and Giles that has been brewing this season.

    Overall, this episode was completely unnecessary, throwing the series back a few steps after the landmark "Passion" episode. Things don't add up when they should. It's an unfortunate place to put such an episode as things with Angelus were driven to new heights (or lows), but perhaps this episode is another example of them filling out the 22-episode order.
  • Season 2, Episode 18.

    Buffy is admitted into the hospital with the flu. There, a boy named Ryan informs her that Death himself tries to kill the child patients every night.

    I haven't seen this episode in a while, but I liked it when I did. I enjoyed rewatching it a lot. I'm a little confused by Angel. Does he like Buffy, or is he just messing with her? I kinda like it. Anyway, I liked the whole Death thing, and how Buffy drugged herself or something so she can see the monster. I like how she was able to kill him by simply snapping his neck. That was probably the simplest kill in the whole series. Good episode.
  • Buffy gets sick and kind of crazy.

    This episode has some really nice interactions between the characters. I love the Xander and Angel scenes in the hospital when Xander acts as the white knight even as Angel taunts him about how he's been where Xander will never be. The flashbacks of Buffy explains more of her personality and how she feels like it is her responsibility to help people even in her youth. I love Cordelia calls Xander out as well on his protecting Buffy and watching her back, but at the same time brings him the coffee and the donuts which shows that she really can be a good person. It is also a really hilarious moment when Cordelia didn't realize how they were suppose to bring gifts which bring up the question of tack.
  • Another Brilliant Episode...

    Okay, so I don't like Angel anymore at this point, he is such so evil.. I liked him so much better when he was good.

    At First we see antoher fight between Buffy and Angel. This time he kind of wins as she was sick.

    Buffy was sent to the hospital as she was sick. Has Buffy got some kind of powers? I mean that she heals very fast or something. It's always nice to see Buffy's friends to be there for her no matter what. They just except her the way she is without any questions asked.

    Buffy was brilliant in this episode as she saved those children from that Sickness monster. That Monster is that one that took her cousin away by killing her. Buffy did everything for those kids even get sick again so she can see the monster and save the Children.

    I think Angel keeps thinking about Buffy and making bad things happen. I hate seeing like this, I am just hoping that he will change again soon.
  • It's Kill or Be Der Kinderstooded!

    Killed By Death-When Buffy is admitted to hospital with a raging fever she meets Ryan, a young boy who has the same flu virus and claims that the sick children in the hospital are being persecuted by a monster that may be death himself. An episode with some good scares and scenes but seems oohh, too familiar while you watch out. The "Buffy version" of the Boogyman comes off as just a Freddy Kreuger-rip off. There is nothing about Der Kinderstood that we haven't seen and her is hardly scene throughout the episode to make him a memorable villian.

    Despite that, there are some great scenes in this episode that make this episode very watchable. I loved Xander standing up to Angelus when he came to the hospital, then there's Cordelia's hilarious scene as she flirts with a security gaurd. Also, there are some disturbing scenes where Der Kinderstood is invisible and kills the doctor. The child actos in the episode, especially the one playing Ryan, are all convincing. The scene where they are all attacked by Der Knderstood is intense as the fear they convey seems surreal. But there are elements to the story that's just weak, like Buffy losing her cousin Celia is pointless to the storyline. I mean the young actresses are just annoying. At least, Cordelia got a chance to shine and find out who the demon is. All and All, an enjoyable episode if you just ignore the main plot.
  • Scary!

    This is one of the first episodes where I thought Buffy was kind of a horror show. I thought the monster was one of the best and it was interesting to see Buffy being physically weak. It also proves Angelus has no feeling of love whatsoever of Buffy yet is obviously interested in her. It was good for showing the relationship they had and reiterating everything before the season finale. Angel had no soul for 9 episodes and it never got boring; especially because of stand alone episodes like this one.
  • Hating hospitals, Angel, and Tact

    This episode was great just because of Cordelia!!! I loved Cordy in this one. She was so amazing when coming onto the security guard to distract him and her getting all jealous of Buffy was great too. Mostly I loved Cordelia and Giles arguing about tact. That was so amusing. I loved that Giles spent so much time lecturing her about having tact and then when he was supposed to work with her he almost said "Why do I get stuck with Cordelia." He was so ready to say that.

    I enjoyed that there was evidence of Xander's feelings for Buffy in this one; because we know he didn't just get over her. I loved that Xander's urge to keep Buffy safe caused problems with him and Cordelia and how Angel was all over making Xander feel bad about it too.

    Buffy being sick was semi-interesting. I liked that there was a monster in the hospital that was killing little children. It was cool to have a monster that only children could see because it's almost like real life.

    I loved the Buffy hating the hospital because her cousin died there and that her cousin Cilia was killed by the same monster. Enjoyable episode for the most part.
  • Slayers get sick too

    Favorite Quote: Cordelia: So this isn't you being afraid of hospitals 'cause your friend died and you wanna conjure up a monster that you can fight so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?
    Giles: Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?
    Cordelia: Tact is just not saying true stuff. I'll pass.

    Buffy ends up in the hospital in this episode. She has a bad flu, along with alot of other young children in the hospital. Unfortunately a monster that only the sick kids can see has been killing them off one by one. It is the gang to the rescue and they find out the monster is Der Kinderstod and yep he is real. I thought Angelus showing up at the hospital with flowers was especially chilling, fortunately he didnt make it past Xander. Thankfully, Buffy is able to put an end to Der Kindestod. We know Angelus isnt far behind.
  • A monster from Buffy's pre-slayer past!

    When the slayer becomes ill she is admitted to the hospital. Joyce informs us that Buffy doesn't like hospitals and she can't wait to leave as soon as possible, but when Buffy discovers some demon activity occuring in the children's ward she doesn't want to go.

    Buffy risks her life by injecting herself with a deadly virus so that she can see the Kinderstod and defeat him.

    It was rather comical at the end when Xander is trying and failing to see a dead demon that is invisble to those who are not children.

    The painful twist at the end of the episode brought together the whole episode. Buffy's cousin was killed by Kinderstod.
  • interesting...

    There are some really funny lines in this episode…

    Xander: Visiting hours are over. Angelus: Well, I'm pretty much family. Xander: Yeah. Why don't you come back during the day? Oh, gee, no, I guess you can't. Angelus: If I decide to walk into Buffy's room, do you think for one microsecond that you could stop me? Xander: Maybe not. Maybe that security guard couldn't either. Or those cops... or the orderlies... But I'm kinda curious to find out. You game? Angelus: Buffy's White Knight. You still love her. It must just eat you up that I got there first. Xander: You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there. Xander: Take a walk, overbite.

    I like that Zander is being protective but he might be going a little overboard. Cordelia is really bothered by it and Xander needs to watch out.
  • A Hellmouth on Elm Street

    The main problem with Killed by Death is the fact that it doesn't feel like an ordinary Buffy episode, more like a rejected script from any other fantasy show on the air. With barely any Sunnydale High and few of the usual sets, the whole episode feels like a different show, right down to the corny flashback sequences ("Powergirl to the rescue!" Yawn).

    The idea of a monster that only children can see is hardly a new one, and the main point of the episode (which revolves around childhood fears) feels out of place in a show about a group of teenagers. Buffy's illness also seems no more than a convenient deus ex machina to move the story along, and the usually reliable Sarah Michelle Gellar was weirdly bad in this episode, in particular the scenes when Buffy was all dazed due to her flu.

    What this episode did do well was the character moments. Cordelia was obviously the character who was most impressive here, especially as she, in her own way, was responsible for identifying Der Kindestod and had a ton of funny lines, in particular in the scene where she was researching with Giles. Willow also had another one of those clueless moments (like the Divinyls one in Lie to Me) when she is told that she played Doctor wrong as a kid.

    Besides those few moments of genius, Killed by Death was essentially a tedious episode which feels out of place compared to the masterpieces that surround it, like Passion and I Only Have Eyes for You. Even the Freddy Krueger knock-off of a bad guy wasn't interesting.

    Director: Deran Sarafian
    Writers: Rob Des Hotel, Dean Batali
    Rating: D
  • When Buffy gets put in the hospital with the flu, she finds a killer of children that the adults around her can't see.

    A good episode that exactly balances humor and dark overtones into a decent story. If it suffers for anything, its that it does nothing to further the Angelus arc and just seems like it should have occurred before 'Passion'.

    In addition, the killer is a little to 'Freddy Krueger'. However, I do like the life-sucking eyeballs.

    There's also a nice little misdirection in the suspicious actions of the children's doctor who turned out to be a good guy afterall. So, of course, he gets killed.

    There's nice little character moments for the rest of the cast but the only real standout is Angelus/Xander's confrontation in the hospital's hallway.

    The final scene is a bit of a hoot.
  • This could have happened at almost any point of the series.

    This story is disappointing. It's not that the episode on it's own isn't good, it's just it's placement is so awkward. The show is in the midst of one of the most popular story lines of all time, getting more and more violent, and suddenly we pretty much take a time out from the whole story arch so Buffy can get sick and kill the demon who killed her cousin.
    No reference to her fear of hospitals was made prior to, or afterwords either. It just doesn't fit in with this fantastic series. Except for Angelus' visit, this story could have happened at any time.
  • this episode is one of the scaries episodes to me. i am terrified by hospitables and doctors, this episode gave the perfect review of hospitables, no offense to doctors

    i love this episode even though its terrifying, i am scared of hospitables, when joss created a monster that lived in a hospitable and gave reason for deaths, i was intrigued, my mind started wrapping around the ideas that joss has instilled and then at the end the hero came through and saved people, it sets up the ideas that skeptical people are having about hospitables and gives an explanation, even though many would believe its not true. buffy taps into people minds and connects with people, every person has a different favorite episode because it connects with there feelings and this episode connected with mine
  • 'I feel fine. I mean, the world's spinning a little bit, but I like it. It's like a ride.'

    ‘Killed By Death’ is one of my favourite Buffy episodes which features one kick-ass villain ‘Der Kinderstod’ who sucks the life out of little sick children.

    It begins with Buffy in the cemetery being very ill, but she still wants to save the world from vampires, Angelus to be more specific.
    But Angelus isn’t in the mood to stop with the killing and attacks her but she’s sick and hardly can defend herself, her friends scare Angel away and take Buffy to the hospital after she fainted.

    Buffy isn’t very much into hospitals and has a fear of what’s coming to her. When Buffy was little she saw her little sis die in the hospital and hates hospitals since then.

    The same night she sees something strange passing by her bedroom that looks a bit like Freddie Kruger. When she goes out of the room she meets little kids who say that death is after them.

    The funny part about this episode goes once again to Cordelia who doesn’t lie tact because it’s not saying the truth. She plays around with a guard and forces Xander to check her behinds.

    Anyway, back to death. The little kid draws it and says that only kids can see it. When a doctor tried to cure him he got killed and Buffy couldn’t see him while she cut the other night.

    Cordy comes down with the research and finds out that it’s the child’s death and sees a picture and gets upset.

    Meanwhile Buffy discovers that sick people can see it so she injects herself with the illness and discovers that it goes in the basement where the kids ran too.

    Buffy follows it and when he tries to suck her with his eye things she breaks his neck ‘you’re not gonna jack on me are ya?’

    The end was also very refreshing and fun with the three stoodjes enjoying Joyce as their slave.

    Killer By Death is a very effective episode that managed to creep me out with the creepy demon and the disturbing hospital.

  • Rip off

    This is quite boring episode. Buffy gets sick and has to stay at a hospital. It is just too much like a regular X-file episode or an episode from the original Scoobies, Scooby Doo. The monster that only shows it self to the sick small kids, is a total rip off from the ‘Terror on Elm Street’ monster, Freddy Kreuger. The really cheesy effect that he sucks the life out of his victim through tentacles that comes out from his eyes. Angel shows up at the hospital. Angel and Xander has a real western stand-of in the corridor, and Xander actually wins this one.
  • This episodes is a great example of how Buffy The Vampire Slayer consistently manages to create a truely scary horror-movie type feel out of a TV budget.

    Ok, so this one isn't exactly deep in terms of its plot, but the action and scares are enough to make it worthwhile.

    When Buffy gets sick and goes to the hospital, she discovers that the deaths of children staying there may be caused by a little more than just the cold bug. Thats the main storyline for this episode, not much development with the season's main storyarc in there.

    KILLED BY DEATH would be great to watch with some friends on a slow night, you'll get 45mins worths of fun and scares. Other than that, don't expect anything deep-analysis worthy to pop up.
  • I suppose it had to happen eventually

    After a string of such powerfully good episodes, a bad one had to sneak in sometime, I guess. I just wish it hadn't been at this particular part in the series. In the midst of one of the greatest stories ever told, we get this little breakm with the only thing really connecting it to the main story is the teaser, where a sick Buffy faces off against Angelus. One of the main failing points of this episode is when Buffy ingests the "flu" so she can "see" the creature that's attacking all the children, having deduced that only those with high fevers can see it. The only thing that redeems this episode is the revelation of Buffy's cousin. However, it would have been nice if something was mentioned about this cousin and her strange death in an earlier episode.
  • "So this isn't about you being afraid of hospitals cos your friend died and you want to conjure up a monster that you can fight so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?" - Cordelia to Buffy

    I suppose it had to happen sooner or later: Buffy gets ill. She seems to be coping OK until she runs into Angel and their fight lands her in hospital. Was Angel really intending to kill her? Has he forgotten his plan of mental torture? Anyway, Xander gets to kick his ass and later on, be her “white knight” as he stands up to Angel’s threats. Xander’s hatred of the powdered ‘n’ painted vampire (“You’re gonna die and I’m gonna be there”) is at its zenith and explains his attitude in "Becoming" when he fails to tell Buffy that Willow thinks she can ‘cure’ Angel.

    So, we have a MacGuffin (Buffy has the flu and has to go to hospital) and we have a mislead (is the Doctor poisoning the children?), we have long spooky shots of corridors and we have the Freddy Kruger-esque baddie. Is the bad guy a metaphor for the fear of death? Or the fear of falling more ill in hospital? (MRSA??). As Giles says, death and disease are the only things Buffy can’t fight, as we find out in S5. As well as a little precursor to the hospital scenes in which delirious Joyce sees The Truth, this episode is a little like "Nightmares", with one boy’s fear made flesh. The stuff of childhood fairytales (Der Kindestod sounds like very Grimm) is also explored further in "Hush". Still, Buffy being vulnerable is scary in itself – the world is left unprotected and she can’t defend herself against Angel. Good job she’s got the Scoobies then. Cordelia is excellent in this episode (“Tact is just not saying true stuff”) and whilst she moans about having to do things for Buffy, she does the gang proud by flirting with the Security Guard to get information. She gets the best joke of the episode “I was using ‘watching her back’ as a metaphor for checking out her butt”, but shows her love for Xander by bringing him donuts and coffee whilst he’s guarding Buffy’s door.

    To flesh out the episode a little, we get cutesie flashbacks to Buffy’s childhood and her saving her cousin from, erm, some pillows, but being unable to save her from death/der Kindestod – Buffy’s caring maternal side foreshadowing her relationship with Dawn, perhaps. And in the end it’s Buffy’s job to kill death, she gets to be Powergirl. Even when sick, she still saves the day.
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