"The Prom"
Written by Marti Noxon; directed by David Solomon

Buffy wakes up in Angel’s bed to find him smiling at her and her not-so-photogenic hair. She gets up to go fix her hair but he reminds her that there aren’t any mirrors in his mansion. She suggests getting some, as well as a drawer for some of her stuff, because “that’s what couples do.” She pulls open a curtain, almost frying Angel, and realizes that she’s been there longer than she thought. At school, Anya (last seen in “Doppelgangland”) tracks Xander down and they discuss the fact that she still doesn’t have her powers back, though she’s confident that she’ll be able to remedy that. She insults men, then tells Xander that she needs a date to the prom. She blames him for her presence in Sunnydale and the loss of her powers, since she was summoned to Sunnydale by Cordelia (see “The Wish”). Anya says that Xander is less detestable than the other guys at Sunnydale High, and therefore her first choice for a prom date. He isn’t sure whether going with her is a good idea, but he eventually agrees. Later, the Scoobies rib him for his decision and Willow predicts that Anya will try to kill Xander. The group gets excited for the dance, especially Buffy, who has the “kick” pink dress and is ready to impress Angel. At Angel’s mansion, he finds one of Buffy’s notebooks, on which she has uncharacteristically doodled things like “Angel & Buffy 4 Ever!” Joyce arrives and announces that she’s worried about Buffy and Angel’s relationship. She reminds him that he and Buffy are from “two different worlds” and that she has a long life ahead of her. She thinks that Buffy can’t see past Angel when she thinks about the future, and that she’s going to be facing some decisions that she might not be able to make.

In the library, Buffy and Willow discuss prom dresses (though they’re so ambiguous that Giles thinks they’re talking about demons) and are reminded that the Ascension is fast approaching. Giles says that they know that the Mayor will be transformed into a demon, but they don’t know which one. Wesley suggests that they focus on the Ascension rather than the prom, which disappoints Cordelia, who thought he would “look way 007 in a tux.” Wesley decides that he’ll aid Giles in chaperoning the dance. Buffy assures Willow that they’ll find her the perfect dress and suggests going to April Fools. Cordelia quickly tells them not to, since she “shops” there (see “Choices”). Giles tries to get the conversation back on track and Buffy argues that they should be allowed a little fun if they don’t know what’s going to happen to them at Ascension time. Inside a house somewhere, someone puts a tape into a VCR as a hairy creature struggles to escape its cage. Elsewhere, Buffy and Angel are inside an empty cathedral, being married by a priest. As they walk down the aisle, Buffy is happy but Angel is nervous. Outside in the daylight, Buffy rather than Angel catches on fire and crumbles to ash. In the mansion, Angel wakes up from his nightmare. That night, Buffy and Angel head into a sewer in pursuit of a demon and Buffy brings up the prom. He tells her that they need to talk, but that he wants to wait until they’re somewhere else first. She urges him to talk about it there, and Angel admits that he’s been thinking about the future. He says that he doesn’t think their relationship is fair to her. She asks if this is because of what the Mayor said (again, see “Choices”) and Angel admits that he was right. He tells her that she deserves more than what he can give her and she argues that she doesn’t want “normal” things. He says that he loves her and doesn’t want to hurt her, and she replies that she should get to make her own decisions. “I want my life to be with you,” she tells him. “I don’t,” he says. Buffy wonders how she can stay away from Angel and he tells her that, after the Ascension, he’s leaving Sunnydale. The next day, Buffy tells Willow what happened and breaks down, telling her, “I feel like I can’t breathe.” Back at the house, the creature escapes its cage.

Xander passes April Fools and spots Cordelia inside, looking at the same dress she studied in “Choices.” He mocks her for taking so long to pick out a dress and she shoots back that she doesn’t want to “get stuck with another dud.” A salesgirl approaches and tells Cordelia to get back to work before their boss sees her. Xander is shocked to hear that Cordelia is working there so that she can buy a dress. “But don’t you already have all the dresses?” he asks. She confesses that everything she had was taken away because her father “made a little mistake on his taxes. For the last twelve years.” She sarcastically encourages him to go spread the news but is interrupted when the escaped creature crashes into the shop. Xander tries to fight off the creature, which attacks a guy in a tux. In the library, the Scoobies watch a surveillance tape of the attack and Cordelia notes that the creature “had good taste,” because it went after the guy in the formalwear. Wesley announces that he thinks the creature is a hellhound, which Giles confirms is trained only to kill. Wesley wonders why Cordelia was at the shop and Xander answers for her that she was there spending her father’s money. Xander pauses the tape to reveal a teenaged guy standing outside the shop. A quick look through the yearbook shows that he’s Tucker Wells, a Sunnydale student. Willow hacks into his e-mail account and finds a message that says, “The Sunnydale High lemmings have no idea what awaits them. Their big night will be their last night.” The Scoobies realize that Tucker has trained his hellhound to attack students the night of the prom. Before the Scoobies can completely back out of going, Buffy announces that she’s not letting them skip the event. She says that they’re going to have a normal evening like normal people, if she has to “kill every single person on the face of the earth” to ensure that they do. “Yay?” Xander replies.

Buffy takes charge, sending Wesley (and, at his implied request, Cordelia) to Tucker’s house and Oz and Willow to find the guy Tucker sent his e-mail to. Xander offers to stop by a magic shop to find out if Tucker bought supplies there, and Buffy herself goes to a meat packing plant, where she suspects Tucker got the hellhound’s food. There, she gets an address and runs into Angel, who’s getting some blood. He tells her that he misses her but she doesn’t want to hear it. She’s upset to be going to the prom alone, but says that she’s “over the whole ‘Buffy gets one perfect high school moment’ thing.” He offers to help out but she declines his offer. That evening, Cordelia is leaving work when her co-worker gives her her dress. Cordelia points out that she hasn’t paid for it, but the co-worker says that someone did. Buffy returns to the library and is greeted by unsuccessful Scoobies. She cheers them up with news of Tucker’s address and sends them off to get ready for the prom. They argue that they can’t let her deal with Tucker herself, but she forces them to go. She sends Giles after them, telling him that the Scoobies deserve a night of fun before whatever it is they might face. Giles notes that Angel isn’t taking Buffy to the dance and she informs him that he’s leaving town after the Ascension. He offers to get her some ice cream, thinking that that’s what girls need when they’ve been dumped, and she tells him that that step will come later: “The great thing about being a Slayer - kicking a$# is comfort food.”

Xander quickly realizes that taking Anya to the prom might not have been such a good idea, since she’s spending the whole time talking about the men she’s done horrible things to. Giles and Wesley discuss the fact that they’ve never been to a prom before because they both went to all-male prep schools. Cordelia enters, wearing the dress she was saving up to get, and Wesley is so stunned that he almost chokes. Willow and Oz arrive and decide to try to have a good time before anything bad can happen. Wesley compliments Cordelia’s ensemble and they encounter Anya and Xander, the latter of whom is thrilled to get to talk to anyone who isn’t Anya. Cordelia pointedly thanks Xander and he tells her that the dress looks good on her. “Well, duh,” she says happily. Buffy goes over to Tucker’s house and catches him about to let another hellhound out. She fights him, letting him know that his plan isn’t going to work, and spots the videotapes he used to brainwash the hellhounds to attack people in formalwear. She wonders why he would want to do something like this and he flashes back to asking a girl to the prom and being rejected. She starts to tie him up in the next room but stops when she sees three more empty cages. “Gotta have a redundancy system,” Tucker tells her. Buffy tracks down the hounds outside the school and starts shooting with her crossbow. She gets one and the other two turn around and chase her until they hear music. She follows them inside and fights them both, finally killing them right outside the gym. A stunned student takes in the scene and asks her where the bathroom is. Buffy directs them, then drags the hounds outside to some bushes. Then, in a move that would make Sydney Bristow proud, she pulls her prom dress out of her bag.

Buffy enters the prom and is greeted by some happy Scoobies. Oz says that the prom is “strangely affecting” and admits that he got teary when they played “We are Family.” Later on in the evening, awards are handed out and Xander is offended when he isn’t crowned Class Clown. “None of the people who vote for these things are even funny,” he complains to Anya. Jonathan announces that there’s a new award this year and asks if Buffy is in attendance. He gives a touching speech about how Buffy is always there to help when things get strange. She’s given the Class Protector Award - a gold umbrella - and accepts it happily, pleased to finally be accepted by her classmates. Later, Wesley approaches Giles and diplomatically tries to find out if it would be okay for him to ask Cordelia to dance. Giles bluntly tells him to just do it already. All of the Scooby couples dance while Giles congratulates Buffy on successfully saving the prom. He glances at the door and takes her umbrella as she sees that Angel has arrived. They meet up and Angel tells her that he didn’t want to miss her big night. He tries to tell her that it’s just for that night and she lets him know that she’s aware of that. “Dance with me?” he asks. She accepts.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Teenagers are smarter than they look.

GRADE: B+ The Class Protector Award scene is worth an extra half letter grade.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - Anya: “You know, you can laugh, but I have witnessed a millennium of treachery and oppression from the males of the species and I have nothing but contempt for the whole libidinous lot of them.”
Xander: “Then why you talking to me?”
Anya: “I don’t have a date for the prom.”
Xander: “Well, gosh. I wonder why not. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with your sales pitch?”
Anya: “Men are evil. Will you go with me?”
Xander: “One of us is very confused, and I honestly don’t know which.”

Anya: “Look, I know you find me attractive. I’ve seen you looking at my breasts.”
Xander: “Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open.”

Xander: “See, it’s either Anya or the sock puppet of love for this boy. (makes a puppet with his hand and speaks in falsetto) ‘I love you, Xander. I’ll never leave you.’”
Willow: “Well, if Anya tries to get you killed, put me down for a big ‘I told you so.’”
Xander: “‘Who’s this Anya? Is she prettier than me?’”

“Well, at least we all have someone to go with now. Some of us are going with demons, but I think that’s a valid lifestyle choice.” - Buffy

“Angel’s gonna lose it. But not his soul. He’s gonna lose it. His it.” - Buffy

“And I myself will be wearing pink taffeta as chenille would not go with my complexion. Can we please talk about the Ascension?” - Giles

“Couldn’t we just let this be the vamp that got away? We could say he was ‘this big.’” - Buffy

Cordelia: “Right there, zoom in on that.”
Xander: “It’s a videotape.”
Cordelia: “So? They do it on television all the time.”
Xander: “Not with a regular VCR, they don’t.”

Oz: “What’s that? Pause it.”
Xander: “Guys! It’s just a normal VCR. It doesn’t…. Oh, wait, uh, it can do pause.”

Xander: “How’s it going over there, Buff?”
Buffy: “Fine.”
Xander: “Well, I just wanted to say that your impersonation of an inanimate object is really coming along.”
Buffy: Thanks.”

Buffy: “I want you guys to go on and I’ll catch up with you as soon as I put a lid on this jerk.”
Xander: “What? No way.”
Willow: “We can’t just leave you, Buff.”
Giles: “Buffy, they’re right. You need….”
Buffy: “To see taillights. Hit the door. I have everything under control.”
Oz: “Buffy, it makes sense to….”
Buffy: “Have. A nice. Time.”
Willow: “Okay, then.”
Xander: “See ya.”

Jonathan: “This is actually a new category. First time ever. I guess there were a lot of write-in ballots, and, um, the prom committee asked me to read this. ‘We’re not good friends. Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed you. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s no secret that Sunnydale High isn’t really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here.’”
Student: “Zombies!”
Student: “Hyena people!”
Student: “Snyder!”
Jonathan: “‘But, whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We’re proud to say that the Class of ‘99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history. And we know at least part of that is because of you. So the senior class offers its thanks, and gives you, uh, this.’ (he produces a gold umbrella) It’s from all of us, and it has written here, ‘Buffy Summers, Class Protector.’”

Wesley: “Mr. Giles. I’d like your opinion. While the last thing I want to do is model bad behavior in front of impressionable youth, I wonder if asking Miss Chase to dance would….”
Giles: “For God’s sake, man, she’s eighteen. And you have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone. Just have at it, would you, and stop fluttering about.”
Wesley: “Right, then. Thanks for that.”

“I had no idea that children en masse could be gracious.” - Giles

Giles: “Fine. You’re all suffering from a touch of spring madness, if you ask me.”
Oz: “Mine is more space madness. But I’ll feel better once I get used to the weightlessness.”
Willow: “Promise me you’ll never be linear.”
Oz: “On my trout.” (from the original script)


Back to Buffy episode guides

Back to Fun and Games