Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 7 Episode 5

Selfless

7
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Oct 22, 2002 on The WB
9.1
out of 10
User Rating
547 votes

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Episode Summary

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Anya grants a young woman's wish, and the violent and deadly act of vengeance leaves everyone stunned. Buffy must put aside her feelings for her friend and take action before more people die.

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Marti Noxon

Marti Noxon

Parking Ticket Woman (uncredited)

Guest Star

Abraham Benrubi

Abraham Benrubi

Olaf

Guest Star

Andy Umberger

Andy Umberger

D'Hoffryn

Guest Star

Kali Rocha

Kali Rocha

Halfrek

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (15)

    • The Dragonfly tattoo on Sarah's lower back can be seen as Buffy stands back up after D'Hoffryn's arrival.

    • Buffy holds her sword over her head as Anya is lying on the floor. As the scene changes to Xander tackling Buffy suddenly she is holding the sword straight down pointing at Anya.

    • In the St. Petersburg scene Halfrek's glass is on the table as Anya is talking. The shot changes as Halfrek asks Anya what she wants to do with the rest of the evening and suddenly Halfrek's glass is being held above the table.

    • Anya is similar to Angel in that both started out as humans with their first names being revealed but their last names being unrevealed (Aud, Liam), became demons for a long time with a different name given to them (Anyanka, Angelus), then became good again and shortened their demon name (Anya, Angel).

    • In "The Wish," we saw that crushing a vengeance demon's pendant both removes her curse and restores her humanity. This is sadly not an option for Anya in this episode because it wouldn't bring the boys back to life. The breaking of the pendant would just undo the curse, in this case un-summon the spider demon that Buffy already had killed. In the episode "Older and far away," the undoing of Halfrek's curse sets the gang free from the house but doesn't heal Buffy's wounded date, and the same thing would have happened here.

    • This is writer Drew Goddard's first ever produced television script.

    • The language Aud and Olav are speaking (or at least trying to speak) to each other is Swedish. It is, however, almost impossible for a Swedish person to understand it, as the melody, pronunciation and emphasis are wrong.

    • As we know from the musical episode (Once More With Feeling) and in earlier episodes Anya tends to despise bunnies and believes that they are evil. When she had the name of "Aud" and lived with Olaf, she had many bunnies living in their house. Apparently she used to like them when she was Aud but the fact that Olaf cheated on her might attribute to the fact that she hates bunnies now.

    • In the flashback to the song "Mrs" Anya says she's good at math but in Season 3 Dopplegangland while ranting to D'Hoffryn about being mortal she says she's flunking (failing) math.

    • This episode suggests that Willow is still in possession of the magical talisman from D'Hoffryn, that she recieved in 4x9. But, in 6x11, Buffy and Dawn remove everything that even resembles a magical trinket from Willow's possession (including candles). All Willow has left is the small package of magical items that she kept as a 'safety net' (used in 6x14). Would Willow have deemed a talisman that's only purpose was to summon a vengeance demon that important as to hide it with the rest of her stash?

    • When D'Hoffrin is delivering the "Abercrombie and Fitch catalog" line, his very modern-looking sneakers can be seen under his robe. I suppose he could just be changing with the times but the sneakers did seem a little out of place.

    • During the Musical flashback scene - "Mrs" - Anya has her longer blond hair that she had especially done for the wedding ("Hells Bells", season 6). However, in the episode they flash back to, "Once More with Feeling", Anya's hair was actually light brown and didn't go lighter until a couple of episodes down the track

    • In the musical flashback, Anya hears the neighbors singing about mustard on the husband's shirt. But in "Once More With Feeling", after the "Theory" song, Anya is the one to ask if the Scoobies were the only ones singing (whereupon Buffy opens the shop door to hear how "they got the mustard out!") She should have remembered from the previous night that others were being affected.

    • Anya's unusual bluntness has always been attributed to the fact she was a demon for 1000 years, but we see in this episode that she's always been blunt and hard to get along with.

    • When Anya is singing and she is on Xander's lap spinning around you can see a circle around the chair where stage people most likely are spinning it.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Rachel: We were going to a party, everybody was going to be there. But it was a game, he broke up with me in front of everyone. They started laughing at me, and I said "Just once, I wish you all could feel what it's like to have your hearts ripped out!"

    • (Willow casts a spell to protect herself from a spider demon while the girl behind her is sobbing in fear, she turns around with her eyes black)
      Willow: Oh for God's sake, stop your whimpering now!

    • Aud: What would I have to do?
      D'Hoffryn: What you do best: help wronged women punish evil men.
      Aud: (Intrigued) Vengeance...
      D'Hoffryn: But only to those who deserve it.
      Aud: (Grimly) They all deserve it!
      D'Hoffryn: That's where I was going with that, yeah.

    • D'Hoffryn: The flaying of Warren Mears? Oh, truly inspired. That was water-cooler vengeance. Lloyd has a sketch of it on his wall.

    • Villager: (After Olaf has been turned into a troll) Run! Hide your babies and your beadwork!

    • Buffy: It is always different! It's always complicated. And at some point, someone has to draw the line, and that is always going to be me! You get down on me for cutting myself off, but in the end the Slayer is always cut off. There's no mystical guidebook, no all-knowing council. Human rules don't apply! There's only me. I am the law.
      Xander: There has to be another way.
      Buffy: Then please find it.

    • Anya: Oh uh ummm, I have a new boyfriend now, he lives here.
      Willow: Thats great.
      Anya: Yeah, we just had lots and lots of sex.
      Willow: OK?

    • Anyanka: The workers will overthrow absolutism and lead the proletariat to a victorious communist revolution, resulting in socio-economic paradise on earth. It's common sense, really.

    • Anyanka: I had forgotten how much a sword through the chest hurts.

    • D'Hoffryn: It looks like someone slaughtered an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog!

    • Villager: Throw fruits and various meats at him.

    • Buffy: I have to kill Anya.

    • (Buffy and Anyanka fight)
      Anya: Are there any of your friends you haven't tried to kill?

  • NOTES (21)

    • Joss Whedon wanted the first "Anya" scene in 880 to be shot like a really bad movie. The director was able to throw all the rules out the window.

    • The name "Aud" was found during research. There was a viking king who was named "Olaf" and he had a wife named "Aud". Apparently she was known for her sense of humor and ability to manage money well.

    • The first scene after the credits, that is spoken in swedish, was originally going to be dubbed over in english so that the actors wouldn't have to learn everything word for word. However, the two actors, Emma Caulfield and Abraham Benrubi, went ahead and learned 5 pages of Swedish. The director thought that it was so funny listening to them speak that they no longer wanted it to be dubbed over.

    • The "dead frat boys" scene and story line was the idea of creator Joss Whedon.

    • This episode is eleventh in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes (which is more of a top twelve episode list) 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.

    • Sarah Michelle Gellar was only available for three days of this episode's shoot due to her wedding to Freddie Prinze Jr.

    • Buffy has not changed her views in declaring that she is the law. When it comes to the demon world, she alone has the power to make decisions because she is the slayer and there's only one (in theory). In Season 3, Faith thinks that she has the right to put herself above the law in the HUMAN world, which Buffy disagrees with. Since Anya is a demon now, the laws of the human world do not pertain to her, so it is up to Buffy to "be the law."

    • Drew Goddard wanted to call the episode, appropriately enough, "Anya."

    • According to the DVD commentary the Russia (1905) scene was initially set to take place during the Renaissance - but that was changed, so it wouldn't interfere with the Halfrek/Cecily connection.

    • The flashback to 'Once More with Feeling' is similar to the placement of the Christmas dinner flashback in 'The Body'. The flashback is followed by Anya looking like she's dead, like Buffy's mother was shown to be dead in 'The Body'.

    • The BBC's cutting of this episode, for early evening purposes, was so ham-fisted that Rachel's ordeal was made to look like gang rape, rather than ritual humiliation.

    • Anya's "lame-ass, made-up, maiden-name" is first mentioned in Season 5's 'Checkpoint'.

    • This marks the final appearance of Kali Rocha as "Halfrek" and Andy Umberger as "D'Hoffryn" on the series.

    • Apparently, Willow hung onto the talisman that D'Hoffryn gave her back in season 4's 'Something Blue'.

    • Buffy stands firm against Xander and declares "I am the Law". In season 3's "Consequences" she is rather dismissive (and evasive) of Faith's argument when Faith says "We don't need the law - we ARE the law". This is not only another subtle 'coming full circle / back to the beginning' reference, but also shows how Buffy walks a fine line between good and evil.

    • The wedding dress Anya wears in the flashback of "Mrs" is the same that as in last seasons 'Hell's Bells'.

    • The song in the "Once More With Feeling" flashback is called "Mrs", which was written in one night by Joss Whedon.

    • Marti Noxon and David Fury reprise their roles as "Ticket Lady" and "Mustard Guy" during the flashback to 'Once More With Feeling'

    • Anya's real name was Aud.

    • In the flashback, human Olaf makes a comment about troll logic, similar to that of Xander's comment in "Triangle" and Buffy's comment in the later episode "Conversations with Dead People".

    • There is a reference to 'Becoming (2)' when Buffy reminds Xander about when he said "kick his ass" referring to 'Willow's' advice to Buffy. Willow, of course, never said that.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Buffy: Willow said it was a spider demon. Maybe it's its webbing.
      Xander: This isn't springy high-flying fun!
      He finds some stringy sticky black webs in the tree. These are references to Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man and the webbing that he uses to swing around New York. The webbing even looks reminiscent of the webs in the comics, albeit black as opposed to more of a grey.

    • Anya: The worker will overthrow absolutism and lead the proletariat to a victorious communist revolution, which will result in socio-economic paradise on earth. Its common sense, really".
      This reference is to the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The text stated that the working class will overthrow the exploitative upper class that built the society on the workers' back. Marx proposes that the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat is inevitable.

    • Spike: Scream Montressor all you like, Pet.
      From Edgar Allan Poe's story The Cask of Amontillado in which the character Montressor walls up his rival, fortunato, in a deep basement and leaves him to die. Fortunato is left screaming Montressor's name in vain.

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