Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 7 Episode 3

Same Time, Same Place

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 08, 2002 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
480 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Though they seem to be in the same places at the same time, Buffy, Xander and Dawn are unable to find Willow when she returns from England. Shortly after returning to Sunnydale, Willow is captured by a demon who enjoys eating the skin of his victims.

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  • "Same Time, Same Place" is a very nice Willow episode that, is not particularly bad in any way, and has really grown on me every time I've seen it.

    When I first saw this episode, it confused me quite a bit. Now that I know what's going on from the start, I like the concept of it a lot more and feel it's a little underrated. The one place it does get bogged down a tad is in its slow pace. While I feel the slower pace does fit what the episode is trying to do, it just gets a bit too slow for its own good in places. Admittedly, this pace allows for a fairly different tone, which is set very nicely by the opening scene. Willow thinks no one's waiting for her at the airport terminal, while Buffy, Xander, and Dawn think Willow ditched the flight and is running off somewhere else, possibly wrecking havok.

    I think the episode, as a whole, works fairly well mostly due to its timely comedy and Alyson Hannigan's amazing ability to make you feel so crushed when she's sad or rejected. The very funny comedy is balanced by some surprisingly effective drama. I'd like to also just pause a moment here to point out how rare it is to find a demon in Buffy that is genuinely creepy, has great make-up, and has an actual personality. Kudos to the make-up team on this one! The demon really works great here as a red herring to the Scoobies, while also acting as a means of forcing Willow to confront what she did to Warren and herself last season -- the skinning being the most obvious clue. This all really comes together in the cave sequence later in the episode, which I'll get to in just a bit.

    I'm really pleased with how they used Spike's apparent insanity here. Willow talks to Spike, and he looks like he's talking to the air. Later, we see Buffy and Xander talking to Spike and the opposite happening, although we know Willow's actually there. This can't help Spike's sanity very much. I also enjoyed seeing a bit of William seeping out when he's talking to Buffy: "Glowing. What's a word means glowing. Got a This more theatrical version of Spike will continue to seep out more as the season goes along. This is a really fun, inventive scene.

    I really love Anya's interacton with Willow as well. It all amounts to some incredibly funny dialogue and some interesting new parallels between them. The scene with the both of them doing a spell together really flashed me back to "Doppelgangland" [3x16]. Wow, times have changed! I also really appreciate the little bit of insight from Anya about causing pain. She tells Willow, who can now really relate, "Well, causing pain sounds really cool, I know, but turns out it's really upsetting. Didn't use to be, but now it It's obvious her vengeance gig isn't going to end well, much like how Willow's vengeance on Warren didn't end well for her. Anya's not in a particularly happy place right now, which continues to play out as more setup for "Selfless" [7x05]. Very few shows bother taking the time to consistently set up the events of future episodes, so it's important to take note of how well Buffy does this and how unique it is because of it. Even this late in the series -- Season Seven -- it's still getting this right.

    Everything about this demon is super creepy and icky. As I pointed out above, they really did a great job with this one. When the demon gets a hold of Willow and starts stripping off her skin, piece by piece, I can't help but feel this is some sort of sick karmic justice at work, punishing Willow for what she did to Warren. I actually found myself very scared for Willow here, with her friends unknowingly locking her in the creature's cave. Willow's paralyzed joy when Anya tells her she's not alone is simply heart-breaking. The spell that separated Willow from her friends dissipates when Willow admits her fear of not being wanted out loud. Even though she can't see Buffy, she speaks to the air, believing that she is. Willow simply thinking her friends didn't want to see her again actually made it happen. She is definitely right when admitting she's got a ways to go before controlling her new uber powers -- something she'll struggle with all season.

    Although it can't compare to the end of "Beneath You" [7x02], I still have a tremendous appreciation for the final scene of "Same Time, Same Willow says, "It's magic. I'm drawing power from the earth to heal Buffy admits to thinking the flayings were because of Willow and tells her that, "I want to be the kind of person that doesn't think that. Xander never thought Willow responds, "I'm sure he did a little. Heck, even I did a little. Xander has the luxury of not saying it. But you're the Slayer. You have to say stuff like Willow nails this truth about Buffy, which provides insight into how Buffy will react in a critical argument in "Selfless" [7x05], along with her approach to leadership throughout the season.

    This is also an important moment of self-realization when Willow recognizes that she's not even sure recovery is possible for her, and won't blame Buffy if she feels the same. Buffy, in response, visually admits that she has concerns, but then offers to give away some of her strength to help Willow heal -- a touching moment, but one that is also very thematically relevant to the season. This moment of sharing and friendship, in all its simplicity, beautifully symbolizes the First's ultimate downfall. This also foreshadows Buffy's plan in "Chosen" [7x22] to share her strength with all the potentials, with Willow acting as the catalyst.

    Some nice little touches that I appreciated, in regard to everyone's feelings toward Willow, include Willow hearing Warren's gun shot when she gets close to the window Tara was standing in front of when she died, Dawn pointing out that, at some point, the gang has to stop defending Willow, and Anya's overall inital feelings about her. Dawn, with an excellent point, states, "So Giles is blaming Giles, and we're blaming us. Is anyone gonna blame Willow? Oh, don't give me shock face. I mean, will anyone around here ever start asking for help when they need it?"

    When Willow expresses sorrow over what's she done to Anya, we get Anya's appropiately blunt response, "You feel really responsible? You are really responsible!" Willow is willing to take it though, without any defense: "Go on. Say whatever you want. Rib bones and so forth. I deserve Anya, of course, straight-forward as always, accurately says, "You won't mind? Then that's no

    So, all in all, "Same Time, Same Place" is a fairly modest character piece that doesn't really try to draw attention to itself. Looking past its modesty, I found quite a bit to admire and enjoy out of it. Overall I feel it's a slightly more solid episode than "Beneath You" [7x02], but it doesn't have anything that can match the final scene of that episode. I can't really give it an A-range grade because it just isn't quite special or powerful enough to warrant it. I just don't want that fact to diminish my appreciation for a really pleasant episode... besides, you know, all the skin eating. ;)moreless
  • Wills back!


    The Good;

    Some lovely emotional stuff between Willow and her friends, some funny stuff with Anya and Willow but best of all paralysed Dawn is hysterical, especially love the remote control gag.

    The Bad;

    Not much

    Best line;

    Dawn (unable to move her lips) "Stop talking about vomit!"


    Skinned vandals and eyeless Gnarl. Gnarl cutting Willow and eating her flesh in front of her is awful.

    Captain Subtext;

    Dawn wonders when anyone in the Scoobs are ever going to ask for help when they need it, still some emotional baggage from Normal Again. Anya observes that the spell she and Willow do is a 'little sexy'. Willow seems to agree then catches herself on. Note Anya wants to do more spells afterwards but Willow refuses.Why not Winya? They could both share Xander between them and he'd sure be happy. Remember Anya eschewed the company of men for a thousand years, maybe she and Halfrek were more than just friends?

    Scoobies to the ER;

    Nope, Willow heals herself

    Apocalypses; 7,

    Scoobies in bondage:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 5

    Will: 4

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 4

    Oz: 1

    Faith: 3

    Joyce: 1

    Wes: 1

    Xander; 2

    Dawn; 4

    Scoobies knocked out:

    Buffy: 19

    Giles: 12

    Cordy: 6

    Xander: 14

    Will: 8

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 6

    Oz: 3

    Faith: 1

    Joyce: 3

    Wes: 1


    Dawn; 4

    Tara; 1

    Kills: 1 demon for Buffy

    Buffy: 108 vamps, 59 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+1 human.

    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 6 demons

    Buffybot; 2 vamps

    Tara; 1 demon

    Dawn; 1 vamp + 1 demon

    Scoobies go evil:

    Giles: 1

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 3

    Jenny: 1

    Angel: 1

    Oz: 1

    Joyce: 1

    Xander: 4

    Anya; 1

    Dawn; 1

    Buffy; 1

    Alternate scoobies:

    Buffy: 8

    Giles: 4

    Cordy: 1

    Will: 5

    Jenny: 2

    Angel: 3

    Oz: 2

    Joyce: 2

    Xander: 4

    Tara; 1


    Spike; 1

    Anya; 2

    Recurring characters killed: 12

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

    Sunnydale deaths; the vandal


    Total number of scoobies: the Dawnster is finally part of the Scoobies, about time too

    Xander, Buffy, Dawn

    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

    Buffy; 1

    Tara; 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; 2 Buffy and Anya

    Anya; 2 Spike and Xander

    Dawn in peril; 12

    Dawn the bashful virgin; 9

    What the fanficcers thought;

    Anya places Dawn in a Girl Scout pose, read more than a few dodgy fanfics over the years that place her in THAT uniform!

    Questions and observations;

    Nice that we still have Joyce's picture scattered around the house but who are the couple in the pic by the phone? Aunt Arlene? Grandma and grandpa Summers? Note the scorched mummy hand in the box Anya brings from the Magic Box. Dawn seems to be a CSI fan. Surely she hardly needs high heels she already towers over all the other girls.

    Marks out of 10; 7/10

  • Willowless

    Same Time, Same Place-Though they seem to be in the same places at the same time, Buffy, Xander and Dawn are unable to find Willow when she returns from England. Shortly after returning to Sunnydale, Willow is captured by a demon who enjoys eating the skin of his victims.

    Wow. I'm surprised by how underrated this episode is. This is a great psychological study of Willow, certainly a much, MUCH more well thought out one than "The Killer In Me" (shrugs). It's not a dark, saddening episode at times and other times, it's possibly the goriest andgrossestepisode ever (well, maybe after "Doublemeat Palace in the "gross"category. Willow has been having fears of returning back to Sunnydale after how much chaos she caused before she left, killing people and almost ending the world and all. The first time I watched this episode, I was pretty confused on what was going on with scenes repeating with Willow and the others interchanging. It was a pretty clever and made for a refreshing, often haunting episode. There were scenes throughout the episode that really worked with how the story was being told. The scene where Buffy, Xander and Willow confront Spike in the basement has some great editing, not to mention James Masters is as superb as usual. I also loved Spike leading the gang to the gnarl. Xander thinks he lead them to a dead end but Spike shows them a cave, then says:

    Spike: "Im insane, What's his excuse?"

    Then you have Alyson Hannigan who once againdeliverssolid work here and it's amazing how much we still sympathize with Willow even after what she became late last season. I adored her scenes with Willow and how they were so quick to blame each other after a boy was found skinned. I am also shocked by how vulnerable and afraid for Willow you are during her scenes with the Gnarl. The Gnarl itself is by far one of the scariest and gruesome demons of the series. From the creepy moments to it slowly cutting out pieces of Willow's skin and eating her......YUCK! Even though you know Willow won't die, it's a terrifying moment for the character, making the moment where Buffy and the others come to her aid that much more emotionally satisfying. I love the moment where Willow and the others see each other, making Willow cry happily. The last scene between Buffy and Willow was also touching, so much grow between the two women, who had it rougher than anyone last season but coming together to give each other strength. All and All, "Same Time, Same Place" is both fun and frightening, showing Willow at her most vulnerable throw a cleverly woven tale. Not to mention, Dawn all paralyzed andpose-able was hilarious!moreless
  • "We can only be here for her so much if she won't be, you know, here" - Buffy

    We open at Sunnydale's little-seen airport where, despite not having mentioned her for the last two episodes, the gang are waiting for Willow to arrive from England with a yellow crayoned welcome sign. Except she doesn't turn up. Except she does. Except she's invisible and can't see the Scoobs. Haven't they done this one already!? Instead of suspecting a spell (surely anyone's first thought in Sunnydale), both sides think badly of the other. The remaining gang think that Willow has run away (and later, that she is responsible for a murder) ,whereas she reckons that they haven't bothered to turn up to meet her: "Welcome home, me," she self-pities.

    Meanwhile Camden Toy has recovered from having his head blown apart as one of the Gentlemen and is busy unleashing zero tolerance on a graffiti artist by skinning and eating him.

    Back at the house, Willow discovers the family phone list: Dawn's cell, Buffy's work, Xander's office:- Willow is no longer part of the family. For some reason, she doesn't call any of these numbers, but goes off to find help in the shape of Anya. Either Willow doesn't care about Anya (or Spike) and that's why they can see her, or it's because they are both between worlds, half human, half demon, which is how Willow sees herself at present, caught between Being Willow and a scary veiny Bad Witch.

    Willow is happy to see Anya and is pleased to be in her company for possibly the first time ever, despite Anya's snark: "I'm cleaning out the debris of my ex-livelihood", "[you've] just got back to bring about a fiery apocalypse of death?" They are both exiles from the gang because of their demonic ways and they think that the other could easily be accused of the Gnarl's tagger-flaying deeds. Despite their previous friction, we see their similarities, they both like their power, but at the same time they are scared of it consuming them. Anya is finding that "vengeance isn't as fulfilling as I remember". Her recent humanity has made her realise that causing pain is "upsetting". They even feel sympathy for each other as Anya wishes things were better for Willow, which she dittos, and the whole magicks=sex metaphor rears its head again as Anya finds that is quite keen on doing saucy spells with Willow. Despite Willow's anguish, she still wants to investigate Gnarl, she still wants to do good. The Scoobs are busy too, with Dawn taking Willow's role at the computer and accurately deducing what sort of demon Gnarl is. Dawn's adulthood hasn't quite arrived though as she questions the validity of Giles and the gang blaming themselves for Willow's no-show. But eventually Willow and the Scoobs come to the same conclusion, the gang through "good solid detective work" ,and the help of bloodhound Spike, and Willow with some low-level magicks, and they end up at the "vicious skin-eating rock cliff" with, as Spike points out, a cave inside. Spike is lucid underneath his insanity; as Buffy & "her boy" and Willow visit at the same time unbeknownst to each other, he soon works out what's going on. This hints again at The First Evil yet to be unmasked – there is often something in the room talking to Spike that others can't see. We also have a mini-foreshadowing of Spike's upcoming Saviour style actions as he grumbles that William is "carrying all the sin".

    Gnarl gets rid of the gang by poison-paralysing Dawn (Dawn, like Willow needs rehabbing with the viewers and making her poseable is a step toward it) which unfortunately seals Willow in with a demon who "love[s] a gift, can't wait to unwrap it", as he peels away her perfectly toned tum. Like the demon in "Fear Itself", Gnarl plays on paranoia: "They don't want you", he tells Willow.

    The karma is evident; Willow skinned a man alive, now she is being eaten alive. Her recovery isn't just a Wicked Wicca course in the Cotswolds, she has a way to go, and she knows that she has a long way to go - that is part of the recovery. The magic words from Buffy: "We're really glad you're back" awaken the princess from her invisibility and the slayer vanquishes the flayer pretty easily. Willow now has to grow new skin and with the help of her friends, we know that she will be old (new improved) Willow once more Buffy: "You're gonna be OK".

    Willow: "I know - you're here".moreless
  • Buffy and friends can't find Willow.

    The show starts out weird. Willow is supposed to get offf of this plane but she doesnt. The others (her friends) can't understand why she didn't get off. Then we see the same scene again but this time Willow is there but her friends arent. Soon everyone finds a dead body. But it has no skin. Everybody thinks that Willow did it. Willow freaks out and is determined to find out what happened. It ends up that this demon did it. He lives in a cave. He has paralyzing fingers and peels off the victims skin. It takes a long time. Well anyway Willow goes to the cave and so does Buffy, Dawn, and Xander but of course they can't see each other. Dawn gets paralyzed and Buffy and Xander leave with her to come back later. They seal the cave not knowing that Willow is still there. Willow gets paralyzed and the demon starts to peel willow skin off. Buffy soon finds out from Anya that Willow went to the cave. See only demons can se Willow. They all (except Dawn) race back to the cave. They kill the demon and the magic around Willow dissapears. Willow ends up alright.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Buffy and Xander leave the cave with Dawn they block the entrance with rocks. Later, as he is eating Willow's skin, Gnarl is surprised by the sudden appearance of Buffy, Xander and Anya. It seems odd that Gnarl didn't see them as the gang, trying to get to Willow, would not have been very quiet getting the cave entrance clear, and the opening was in plain site.

    • In Buffy's house, when Dawn is supposed to be paralyzed she kept moving various parts of her body! One example: Anya puts Dawn's hand up in a certain pose (with one finger pointing to the sky), and Dawn keeps moving her arm/hand alot. Her head and body also move a bit at different times if you look close enough. Dawn is also supposed to be mumbling ( because her mouth is paralyzed) but she talks a few times!

    • After 9/11, no one was allowed to go inside an airport terminal without a boarding pass. However, Buffy, Xander, and Dawn are not only inside the terminal, they are waiting at the gate.

    • Buffy and Dawn's shirts were torn by Gnarl. Later in the episode they have no holes in their shirts.

    • Willow saw Dawn's cellphone number on the daykeeper and didn't think of calling it.

    • Dawn is supposed to be paralyzed, but if you notice while she's lying down on the couch with Xander at her side, her head keeps changing positions between the differing camera angles.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Xander: I saved the world with talking from my mouth. My mouth saved the world.

    • Willow: (to Anya) Well, that's why you teleport over there real quick like a bun--
      (Angry glare from Anya)
      Willow: Uh, real quick, and, uh, see if I'm right.
      Anya: No. Sorry. You damaged my carpet.

    • (While doing a spell in the dark surrounded by candles)
      Anya: This isn't gonna get all sexy, is it?
      Willow: I'd be shocked.
      Anya: It did get a little sexy, didn't it?

    • Buffy: Yes, let's tie ourselves to the crazy vampire.

    • Anya: Oh, Buffy killed the demon! It was gross.

    • Anya: (to Willow) I thought you were with Giles studying how not to kill people.

    • Willow: So, will you help me?
      Anya: (sighs) Is it difficult or time-consuming?

    • Willow: (about her meditating) I'm drawing energy from the earth.
      Buffy: We're on the second floor.

    • Dawn: Well, if she's doing that, ducking Giles, then, she's evil, right?
      Xander: Well, I've avoided Giles tons of times, just meant I was lazy, not evil.
      Buffy: I hope you're right, cause defeating Lazy Willow... probably less hard.

    • Willow: I found a dead body near the high school.
      Anya: Yes, that can happen.
      Willow: Something horrible killed a boy. Took his skin right off!
      Anya & Willow: Was it you?
      Anya & Willow: No!
      Anya: Well with the skin thing, they're definitely going to think it was you.

    • Spike: Someone isn't here. Button, button, who's got the button? My money's on the witch. Red is a bad girl.
      Buffy: He's talking about Willow.
      Xander: And that means so much because he's chock full of sanity.

    • Spike: (to unseen Willow) They think you did it, the Slayer and her boy, they think you took the skin.
      Buffy: Is there something here, something that killed?
      Xander: Her boy?! I'm her boy?!!

    • Spike: (about Xander) I'm insane... What's his excuse?

  • NOTES (7)

    • In an interview, Jane Espenson admitted that Gnarl was in part based on Gollum from The Lord Of The Rings.

    • This episode was greatly edited when shown on UK television. Gnarl's attack on Willow was shortened and several shots taken out. It can be seen in its entirety on video.

    • From this episode it seems that Willow has gotten Buffy's old bedroom and Buffy has taken up in the master bedroom. This probably has to do with Willow not wanting to be in the room where Tara died.

    • The website Dawn uses, "Demons, Demons, Demons", was first used on Angel in the season 1 episode 'The Ring'.

    • Another glimpse of Spike becoming more like his human self William, as he says to Buffy "What's a word that means glowing? It's gotta rhyme." William asks the same thing of a waiter in the season 5 episode 'Fool For Love' while composing a poem about his love interest, Cecily.

    • Camden Toy is no stranger to the Buffyverse, he played one of the gentlemen in 'Hush'.

    • This is the first episode of the series in which there are no guest stars credited at the start of the episode (it just goes straight into producers etc.).


    • Spike: Button, button, who's got the button?
      "Button, button, who's got the button?" is a children's game that was used famously in the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).

    • Dawn: It's smellementary!
      This is a twist on the Sherlock Holmes's catchphrase, "It's elementary!" Sherlock Holmes is a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was featured in a series of books and stories written between 1887 and 1927.