Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 8

The Dark Age

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 10, 1997 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
675 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The secrets of Giles's dark past come back to haunt him when an old friend turns up dead in Sunnydale. As a troubled youth, Giles (known then as "Ripper") and his friends summoned a demon called Eyghon, The Sleepwalker. Now, Eyghon has returned and is hunting down the people who used to raise him for their amusement. And the only two left are Ethan Rayne... and Rupert Giles.moreless

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  • The Dark Age

    This is the first episode in the series entirely focused on Giles. We learn about his turbulent history and some depth is added to this already charming character. It's just really unfortunate that the episode is only mediocre. The pacing and execution of the plot was pretty poorly handled, and the demon came across as incredibly one-dimensional and surprisingly inconsistent. There's about as much bad as there is good here.

    Well, I might as well begin with the good. The episode begins with an amusing scene involving Buffy listening to those annoying aerobic workout tapes while excercising. Giles calls it 'noise' while Buffy calls it 'music.' While I agree with Giles that 'noise' is the appropiate term, Buffy makes a good point that you need a beat when doing synchronized excercise.

    Later on Jenny gets to poke fun at Giles by telling him she spilt a drink all over his ancient textbook and then follows it up with "I'm lying, Rupert. The book's fine. I just love to see you squirm." Their relationship appears to be approaching a new level, but that of course comes to a screeching halt by the happenings later on when Jenny gets possessed by the demon Giles helped create when he was a rebellious teen. It's really nice to see her not just "get over it." This experience has affected her and she understandably needs time away from Giles.

    I also loved seeing Willow keeping some of the confidence she gained in "Halloween" (2x06) during the scene where Cordelia and Xander are bickering to no end. Willow breaks up their quarrel and yells at them both saying, "HEY! We don't have time for this! Our friends are in trouble! Now, we have to put our heads together and, and get them out of it! And if you two aren't with me a hundred and ten percent, then get the hell out of my library!" Go Willow! Also, cheers for character development that actually stays with the characters beyond the episode they had the growth in!

    That's where all the good ends, though. There are several things that really grated on me during this episode. One is the inconsistency of the demon iteself. When it had Possessed Phillip, the bearded guy, it never talked to anyone and pretty much just wandered around groaning. Then when Jenny gets possessed she's talking up a boring storm to Giles in his apartment. What's the deal? Another annoyance with the demon I had is how, for some unexplained reason, nobody simply runs away from it. They all just stand there waiting to be killed, like Phillip in the opening scene. Buffy fought it just fine, so once again, what's the deal?

    Another serious flaw is the often slow pace. The scene where the possessed Philip awakens in the morgue could have been completely cut, for example. Also, Buffy's strength is basically completely gone in this episode. She punches Ethan Rayne hard in the mouth yet he doesn't get knocked down and there is no noticable sore on his mouth. An even more grotesque offense of this is seeing Ethan knock Buffy out with one blow to the head. No way that would ever happen!

    In the end, like "Reptile Boy" (2x05), this episode is a mixed bag. There's a handful of great stuff, but there's an equal amount of crappy stuff. This is an even bigger disappointment than "Reptile Boy" (2x05), though, because the plot is centered around Giles' dark past instead of a bunch of college frat boys. You expect the latter to be poor but not the same of the former.moreless
  • The drunkeness of youth....

    The Dark Age;

    The Good;

    Buffy's training although as Will later comments isn't she just naturally buff? Willow coming through with a great idea, Cordy tripping Ethan

    The Bad;

    The melting effect is a little lame. The demon seems quite insignificant compared to the threats we later see.

    Best line;

    Buffy; Have I ever let you down?

    Giles; Do you want me to answer that or just glare?

    but also

    Xander; An extra day in school plus Cordelia? Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever

    Questions and observations;

    Who's Gavin Rossdale? According to the comics Buffy's fantasy hasn't changed that much it's just Daniel Craig now. Willow by contrast likes Tina Fey now (Seth Green and Eric Balfour will work with John Cusack in 'America's Sweethearts' and Michelle Tractenberg will work with his sister Joan in 'Ice Princess').

    Very much Giles' episode and adding a lot more depth to his character. Great stuff between him and Ethan, you wonder if ASH and Robin Sachs have worked together before, they really do come across as old friends.

    Why does Eoghan wait all these years? Drunk Giles for the first time and Xander mentions his infamous uncle Rory who we'll later meet in Hell's Bells. The Bay City Rollers were late 70s and a little cheesey for a teen rebel like Giles. Jenny knocked unconscious and goes evil, Buffy knocked unconscious and tied up. Jenny mentions "I've got you under my skin" which is later a title for an Angel ep.

    6/10, good ep but not brilliant

  • The Dark Age

    The Dark Age was a pivitol episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Many characters were faced with dilemas. The Dark Age was about Giles's past, him and some friends including Ethan Rayne used to summon a demon for fun times, and now its back to kill them all. Giles starts acting wierd once he knows whats going on. Eventually Jenny is possessed by the Demon and this will have a drastic effect on her relationship with Giles. Angel actually saves the day, which scores some points for sure. This episode was fun to watch and adds a classic value to the season.moreless
  • Good and bad

    Good - Giles

    Bad - Ethan Good - Giles in a cult

    Bad - The evil blue stuff that posses people.

    This episode was great in that we got to see a bit of Giles past which was great. Would be interesting to see what he was like. it would be better to have a real creature that goes around killing people. but instead we get blue goop that turns people evil.

    And Giles buddy Ethan show up again. Was good but he did as expected and ran away.

    And Angel saved the day by obsorbing the demon.

    was ok and was good episode.moreless
  • Season 2, Episode 8.

    I liked this episode. Giles apparently summoned a demon with Ethan Rayne, or something like that, and now it has possessed Ms. Calendar. Off topic, doesn't it seem like Buffy barely does school work and is always in the halls and library? The whole Rupert and Jenny love thing is a little boring but slightly cute. I can't wait for Ethan to be dead though. It was so weird to see Giles different though, but at the same time, it wasn't. It was a little weird. Anyway, of course Angel magically came to the rescue. Woohoo. Angel's hot! I loved the beginning scene the most, when Buffy had the music playing and the guy died outside.moreless
Robin Sachs

Robin Sachs

Ethan Rayne

Guest Star

Wendy Way

Wendy Way


Guest Star

Michael Earl Reid

Michael Earl Reid


Guest Star

Robia LaMorte

Robia LaMorte

Jenny Calendar

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Goof: At the end of the episode Buffy says she saved up for new shoes, but will have to use the money to have the tattoo removed, and she hopes her Mom won't see it before then. Yet when she is talking to Giles a few minutes later, we have a clear view of her back where the tattoo was, and it has disappeared.

    • Goof: In the library scene with Buffy doing her aerobics the shots from behind Giles show him with his hands over his ears and both elbows on the table. When the shot changes to Giles from the front he now is sitting upright with both elbows in the air. The angle again changes to behind Giles and his elbows are back on the table.

    • Goof: When Philip escapes from the library cage, Buffy starts to move to kick him. It appears to be her left leg about to hit his right side, but when it suddenly changes to another angle, it's her right leg hitting his left side.

    • Nitpick: When Deirdre (the possessed woman at the beginning of the episode) falls to the ground just before she dissolves, her neck, face, and hands are decayed-looking. But her legs don't match up with this as they appear to be healthy looking flesh.

    • Goof: In the scene when Demon-Jenny pushes Buffy against a dresser with the table and Giles walks in, they show Buffy falling to the floor. But when Giles tells Buffy to leave, they show her standing up against the dresser as if she never fell.

  • QUOTES (19)

    • Buffy: Xander, how do you feel about digging through some of Giles' personal files and seeing what you can find?
      Xander: I feel pretty good about it. Does that make me a sociopath?

    • Xander: Yep, yep, I knew this would happen. Nobody can be wound as straight and narrow as Giles without a dark side erupting. My Uncle Rory was the stodgiest taxidermist you've ever met by day. By night, it was booze, whores, and fur flying. Were there whores?
      Buffy: He was alone.
      Xander: Give it time.

    • Xander: Y'know, computers are on the way out. I think paper's gonna make a big comeback.
      Willow: And the abacus.

    • Buffy: All's well that ends with cute ER doctors, I always say.

    • Giles: Just don't be late.
      Buffy: Have I ever let you down?
      Giles: Do you want me to answer that, or shall I just glare?

    • Cordelia: I've got the solution right here. "To kill a demon, cut off its head."
      Xander: Oh, yeah, we'll find Ms. Calendar, then we'll decapitate her. Hey, she'll be the first headless computer teacher in school. You think anybody'll notice?
      Cordelia: Do you know what you need, Xander, besides a year's supply of acne cream? A brain.

    • Jenny: All right, guys, the first thing we're going to do is... Buffy.
      Xander: Huh? Did I fall asleep already?
      Willow: Aw, you miss your friends?
      Xander: Sit here, Buffs. De-militarize the zone between me and Cordelia.
      Cordelia: Yeah, and de-louse him while you're at it.

    • Cordelia: Well, evil just compounds evil, doesn't it? First, I'm sentenced to a computer tutorial on Saturday. Now I have to read some computer book. There are books on computers? Isn't the point of computers to replace books?
      Giles: Cordelia, I'm a little busy right now.
      Cordelia: Oh! Great! Can you help me with a ticket? It's totally bogus. It was a one-way street. I was going one way.
      Giles: Cordelia!
      Cordelia: What?! Why does everyone always yell my name? I'm not deaf! And I can take a hint...what's the hint?

    • Angel: Maybe he's late.
      Buffy: Giles? Who counts tardiness as, like, the eighth deadly sin?

    • Willow: Do you think Giles ever played "Anywhere But Here" when he was in school?
      Xander: Giles lived for school, he's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades.
      Buffy: He probably sat in math class thinking, "There should be more math. This could be mathier."
      Willow: Come on, you don't think he ever got restless as a kid?
      Buffy: Are you kidding? His diapers were tweed.

    • Buffy: And you know what? I have just the perfect music. Go on, say it. You know you want to.
      Giles: It's not music, it's just, uh, meaningless sounds.
      Buffy: There. Feel better?
      Giles: Yes. Thanks.

    • Jenny: Mm, no, I'm fine. I mean, I'm not... running around, wind in my hair, 'the hills are alive with the sound of music' fine, but... I'm coping.

    • Cordelia: This is what happens when you have school on Saturday.

    • Cordelia: I'm gonna be in therapy till I'm thirty.

    • Xander: Dead guy here interrupted our tutorial. (To Philip) Been meaning to thank you for that.

    • Buffy: I'm not going to lie. It was scary. I'm used to you being, you know, the grown-up. And then I find out that you're a person.
      Giles: Most grown-ups are.

    • Buffy: I know you! You ran that costume shop.
      Ethan: Oh, I'm pleased you remember.
      Buffy: You sold me that dress for Halloween, and nearly got us all killed!
      Ethan: But you looked great.

    • Giles: Must we have this noise during your calisthenics!?
      Buffy: It's not noise! It's music!
      Giles: I know music. Music has notes. This is noise.
      Buffy: I'm aerobicizing! I must have a beat!
      Giles: Wonderful. You work on your muscle tone while my brain dribbles out of my ears.

    • Xander: Oh, gang, didja hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia! Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever!

  • NOTES (2)

  • ALLUSIONS (13)

    • Giles: The rest is silence.
      This line that Giles is quoting comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet. After Hamlet has killed the king and gotten revenge for his father's death, he lies dying from poison, and he tells his friend Horatio to tell everybody what really happened. Then he dies, and his last words are "the rest is silence." (Hamlet, V.ii.357)

    • Giles: Aah. Very good. And the rest is silence.
      This is part of the same quote used in the original movie by Buffy's first watcher, Merrick, just before he died. "When the music stops, the rest is silence." A vamp was fried on the circuit board and the music from the gym was cut out. Buffy was broken out of the vampire boss, Lothos's, trance and was able to continue fighting on.

    • Giles: Bay City Rollers, that's music.
      The Bay City Rollers are a pop band that was popular in the 70's. Their biggest U.S. hit was the 1975 release "Saturday Night".

    • Ms Calendar: I mean, I'm not running around, wind in my hair, the hills are alive with the sound of music fine, but...
      Ms Calendar refers to the famous scene from the movie The Sound of Music, where the character played by Julie Andrews, runs across a field, her hair blowing and singing with joy.

    • Buffy: ...You Lost Weekending in your apartment.
      The 1945 movie The Lost Weekend is about an alcoholic who ends a period of sobriety with a weekend of binge drinking. Buffy is referring to the fact that the normally quite sober Giles had apparently been drinking heavily in his apartment.

    • Xander: De-militarize the zone between me and Cordelia.

      After a war, an area can be set aside as a buffer between the formerly warring parties. The best known de-militarized zone is between North and South Korea.

    • Buffy: Giles, who counts tardiness as like the eighth deadly sin.

      A reference to the seven deadly sins: pride, idleness, gluttony, lechery, avarice, envy, wrath.

    • Cordelia: Yeah, when you've visited decaf land.
      Cordelia references the fact that caffeine in coffee can make people jumpy and irritable. This is likely a subtle inside joke, since the actor that plays Giles, Anthony Steward Head, is also well known for appearing in a series of Taster's Choice coffee commercials.

    • Buffy: All's well that ends with cute ER doctors, I always say.
      This is possibly just a generic reference to emergency room doctors, but certainly calls to mind the television show ER. The show was the most popular drama in the United States and its doctors (namely George Clooney) were highly regarded for their cuteness.

    • Buffy: I'll bring the party mix.

      Party mix is any of several combinations of Chex cereal, pretzels, peanuts and seasonings.

    • Buffy: Mmm. Vampire Meals-On-Wheels.

      Meals-on-Wheels is a organization that arranges to deliver food to the elderly in their homes. The idea is to assist those who have limited mobility while still enabling them to live independently.

    • Xander: Amy Yip at the waterslide park.
      Amy Yip is an actress from Hong Kong. She's most famous for her well endowed figure. Xander no doubt picked the waterslide park location so that she'd be wearing a bathing suit.

    • Buffy: And I'm lying on my towel, and it's just before sunset, and Gavin Rossdale is massaging my feet.
      Gavin Rossdale is the lead singer and songwriter for the British rock group Bush.