"Killed by Death"
Written by Rob Des Hotel & Dean Batali; directed by Deran Serafian

Buffy pulls herself over a wall in a cemetery, obviously sick but struggling to patrol anyway. She encounters Xander, Willow, and Cordelia, nearly attacking them, and they ask why she’s there, since she’s sick. Willow tells Buffy that taking one night off to rest won’t hurt, but Buffy’s afraid that Angelus will kill someone if she’s not out hunting for him. Angelus appears, setting his sights on Cordelia, and Buffy tries to fight him but doesn’t do a great job. “Uh oh,” he quips. “This does not look good for our heroine.” The Scoobies take over, fending Angelus off and getting him to leave. After he’s gone, Buffy suddenly passes out. The Scoobies rush her to the hospital, where each tells the doctors that something different happened (she’s sick, she fainted, and she fell). She’s tended to by a number of medical personnel, including a doctor named Wilkinson, who won’t let them follow Buffy to a trauma room. Willow heads off to call Giles and tells Cordelia to call Joyce, but not tell her exactly what happened.

Joyce arrives at the hospital later, after Giles has already joined the Scoobies. Dr. Wilkinson assures them that Buffy will be fine but needs to stay for a few days. Everyone goes to see Buffy, who’s being wheeled down a hallway and is somewhat delirious. She wants to leave the hospital and tells Giles that she has to go kill vampires. As she’s sedated, Willow, Xander, and Giles pretend that she’s delusional from her fever and Giles assures Buffy that they’ll take care of the vampires, telling Joyce that it’s best to go along with her. Buffy begs Joyce not to make her stay in the hospital, but she doesn’t have a choice. Joyce tells the Scoobies that Buffy hates hospitals because, when she was eight, her cousin Celia died in a hospital, and Buffy was alone with her when it happened. She heads off to call Buffy’s father and Giles goes with her. She thanks Giles for always taking care of Buffy and gives her condolences over Jenny’s death (see “Passion”). Willow and Xander worry that Angelus will be able to get to Buffy in the hospital, since it’s a public building.

In the middle of the night, Buffy wakes up to see a young boy standing in the doorway to her room. As he leaves, a creature in a black suit and hat follows him. Buffy gets out of bed and, in the hallway, has a flashback to approaching her cousin Celia’s hospital bed. Suddenly, Buffy is back in bed and waking up again. She heads into the hallway again and, near the children’s ward, sees orderlies wheeling out a dead child. She overhears Dr. Wilkinson arguing with another doctor, Backer, about dosages and results. Dr. Backer says that the kids are getting worse and Dr. Wilkinson says that his methods aren’t appropriate. Buffy turns to leave, running into the boy she dreamed of earlier with a little girl. The boy, Ryan, says, “He comes at night. The grownups don’t see him. He was with Tina. He’ll come back for us.” Buffy asks who he’s talking about and Ryan replies, “Death.”

Xander is sitting in a waiting area at the hospital when Angelus arrives, carrying flowers and whistling Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Xander mockingly suggests that he return during the day and Angelus asks if Xander really thinks he’d be able to stop him if he wanted to go into Buffy’s room. Xander says that he might not be able to, and that other people around might not be able to, but that he’s curious to find out. “Buffy’s White Knight,” Angelus replies. “You still love her.” He taunts that Xander must be torn up about Angelus getting to her first. “You’re gonna die,” Xander says. “And I’m gonna be there.” Angelus gives him the flowers and says to tell Buffy that he stopped by. Buffy has another flashback, this time of pretending to be a superhero while playing with Celia. She wakes up and Dr. Wilkinson tells her that her fever has gone down. Buffy tries again to leave the hospital, but Dr. Wilkinson tells her she still needs to stay. Buffy asks if she has the same strain of flu that the kids have, but before Dr. Wilkinson can answer, the Scoobies arrive and she leaves.

The Scoobies give Buffy presents (except Cordelia, who was “out of the loop”) and decide to go for a walk outside. Buffy explains that a girl died in the children’s ward the previous night and thinks that Dr. Backer gave her something experimental. She adds that Ryan thinks he saw Death, and that she may have seen it as well. Cordelia wonders if Buffy is trying to find something that she can fight so that she won’t feel helpful anymore. Buffy denies that this situation has anything to do with Celia’s death and resolves that she will figure out what’s going on. Xander and Cordelia are recruited to sneak into a room and look at hospital records, though Cordelia isn’t thrilled about having to help out. As she and Xander split up inside the room, a security guard arrives and spots her. In the library, Giles tells Willow that Cordelia might be right about Buffy trying to find a defeatable foe, especially after Jenny’s death. Willow points out that they do live on a Hellmouth, and Ryan might actually have seen something. Giles wonders if he might have been frightened by an adult, such as Dr. Backer, and they set out to investigate him.

Cordelia has solved her problems by using her most developed skill - flirting. The security guard, Don, is grateful that she seems to admire his work, and she tells him that she thinks security guards are sexier than firemen. She asks if he knows anything about the girl who died, and Don says that Dr. Backer is a great doctor. He hears Xander bump into something in another part of the room, but Cordelia distracts him by saying that he has a perfect nose: “you must work out.” Xander manages to get out of the room without being spotted, and Cordelia meets up with him in the hallway. He criticizes her distraction methods and she accuses him of being jealous. He tells her to take the file he’s nabbed to Giles while he stays to help protect Buffy. She thinks he’s obsessed and tells him that he takes advantage of his role as “protector” to check her out. “Jealous?” he asks.

Buffy finds Ryan, who’s drawing a picture of the creature she dreamed about. “He’ll come again tonight,” he tells her. She assures him that she’s not going to let anything happen to him and that she knows there are real monsters, but also heroes who fight them, such as her. He denies that she can fight Death. Giles and Willow find some files on Dr. Backer and discover that he was the subject of a malpractice suit that was suddenly dropped. They wonder if he might be behind Ryan’s paranoia. At the hospital, Dr. Backer messes around with test tubes and takes notes. Cordelia brings Xander a peace offering of coffee and donuts. Dr. Backer heads to the children’s ward and injects something into a kid’s IV. He hears laughter behind him but doesn’t see anyone there. Suddenly, something hits him and begins slashing at him, as Ryan watches, terrified. Buffy is approaching the ward when Dr. Backer is suddenly thrown into the hallway, then dragged down the hall by his unseen attacker.

The Scoobies come to Buffy’s room and Giles tells her that Tina, the girl who died, was getting better before her death. Buffy announces that Dr. Backer wasn’t hurting the children, and that the creature that Ryan drew a picture of killed him. Joyce arrives and tells Buffy that she’s allowed to go home. Buffy says that she thinks she’s getting sick again and should stay in the hospital a little longer. Buffy sends Giles to find out more about the creature while she and Willow go to Dr. Backer’s to find out why the creature might have killed him. Xander decides to stay at the hospital and tells Cordelia to go with Giles to research. Giles tries to hide his dissatisfaction with the arrangement. That night, Ryan sneaks out of the children’s ward. Buffy and Willow go to Dr. Backer’s office and find his notes, which reveal that he was actually experimenting to help the kids get better faster.

Giles and Cordelia research, but don’t get too far because Cordelia keeps asking questions about different demons. Unable to find a picture of the creature in her book, Cordelia closes it, and Giles soon notices that the picture of the creature is on the cover. Cordelia calls Buffy and tells her that the monster is called Der Kindestod, which means “child death.” He sucks the life out of children, but they look as if they died because they were sick. Buffy realizes that Der Kindestod killed Tina, then got rid of Dr. Backer because he was healing his potential victims. She flashes back to Celia’s death, seeing her try to fend off something invisible. Buffy tells Willow that they have to stop Der Kindestod before it kills any more kids, but she doesn’t know how, since no one can see it. They head back to Dr. Backer’s office, where Buffy says that the kids can see Der Kindestod because of their fevers. She takes one of his test tubes, dilutes it, and drinks it in order to raise her fever. She and Willow head towards the children’s ward but find it empty.

Ryan leads a group of kids through some tunnels under the hospital as Buffy and Willow wonder where they are. Buffy sees Der Kindestod inside the ward and watches him head for the basement. Before Buffy and Willow can follow him, Dr. Wilkinson appears and tries to get Buffy to go back to bed. Buffy pushes her away and runs off with Willow, who apologizes for her. Dr. Wilkinson calls security on them, and two guards catch up to the girls. Willow starts to swat at herself, saying, “Frogs! Frogs! Get ‘em off me!” (See “What’s My Line, Part 1.”) As the guards try to capture her, Buffy runs off. Dr. Wilkinson arrives and tells the guards that they have the wrong girl. “No more frogs!” Willow replies. Buffy heads down the hallway where Xander is waiting and she tells him that they need to get to the basement. In the tunnels, Der Kindestod searches for the kids as Ryan tends to them. Suddenly, Der Kindestod grabs him from behind.

Der Kindestod prepares to suck the life out of Ryan but is stopped by Buffy. They fight, and Xander is somewhat confused, since he can only see Buffy. He gets the kids out of the tunnel as Buffy finally snaps Der Kindestod’s neck. Later, at home, Buffy lounges in bed while Joyce brings her a sandwich and some juice. Buffy nitpicks her sandwich and Willow and Xander, also lounging, ask Joyce for more juice and chips. Joyce brings Buffy a letter, which she sees is from Ryan. It’s a picture of a bloody Der Kindestod on the ground with Buffy’s foot on his chest. “How…nice,” Joyce says.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: The flu is deadly, but deadly. Oh, wait.

GRADE: B The stuff about Buffy’s childhood didn’t really matter.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “My whole life just flashed before my eyes! I gotta get me a life!” - Xander

“Shhh! Hospital zone. No singing.” - Delirious!Buffy to Xander

Xander: “Flowers for milady.”
Buffy: “I think they call those balloons.”
Xander: “Yeah, stick ‘em in water, maybe they’ll grow.”
Willow: “Not to be outdone….” (puts books on the bed)
Buffy: “Homework!”
Willow: “It’s my way of saying, ‘Get well soon.’”
Buffy: “You know, chocolate says that even better.”
Willow: “I did all your assignments. All you have to do is sign your name.”
Buffy: “Chocolate means nothing to me.”
Cordelia: “Nobody told me I was supposed to bring a gift. I was out of the loop on gifts.”
Giles: “It’s, it’s tradition among, um…people.”

“Ooo, if he asks you to play chess, don’t even do it. The guy’s, like, a whiz.” - Xander, re: Death

Cordelia: “So this isn’t about 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.”

Willow: “Oh, yeah, I’m good at medical stuff since Xander and I used to play doctor all the time.”
Xander: “No, she’s being literal. She used to have all these medical volumes, uh, and diagnosed me with stuff. I didn’t have the heart to tell her she was playing it wrong.”
Willow: “Wrong? Why? (to Buffy) How did you play doctor?”
Buffy: “I never have….”

Xander: “Cordy, you should go with Giles.”
Giles: “Why do I have to have…. Uh, good thinking. I-I-I could do with a research assistant.”
Cordelia: “Let’s go, tact guy.”

Cordelia: (re: a demon) “Ew, what does this do?”
Giles: “What?”
Cordelia: “What does this do?”
Giles: “Uh, it, uh, extracts vital organs to replenish its own mutating cells.”
Cordelia: “Wow! What does this one do?”
Giles: “Um, i-it elongates its mouth to, uh, engulf its victim’s head with its incisors.”
Cordelia: “Ouch. Wait, what does this one do?”
Giles: “It asks endless questions of those with whom it’s supposed to be working so that nothing is getting done.”
Cordelia: “Boy, there’s a demon for everything.”

Xander: “You don’t know how to kill this thing.”
Buffy: “I thought I might try violence.”
Xander: “Solid call.”

Xander: “Oh, oh, oh, and another bag of cheesy chips.”
Joyce: “Uh, you ate the last one.”
Xander: “No, there’s another bag hidden behind the raisins.”
Joyce: “I’m on it.”
Xander: (to Buffy) “Your mom’s tryin’ to Bogart the cheesy chips. What’s that all about?”

Back to Buffy episode guides

Back to Fun and Games