"Selfless"
Written by Drew Goddard; directed by David Solomon

Willow moves back into the Summers’ house and Dawn tries to encourage her as she prepares to return to college. Buffy and Xander discuss Anya, who he hasn’t seen since “Same Time, Same Place.” Xander assures the others that Anya is no longer practicing vengeance. Meanwhile, in a U.C. Sunnydale frat house, sits among a group of slaughtered frat boys and asks herself, “What have I done?” In a flashback to Sjornjost in 880, Olaf (last seen in “Triangle”) tells Anya, aka Aud, that he defeated a band of trolls (in subtitled Swedish). Their house is full of rabbits, which Anya wants to breed and sell to people. She grows jealous when she learns that he went to a bar, but he assures her that he has no interest in other women. Back at the frat house Anya washes blood from her hands.

In the basement Spike talks to Buffy about Drusilla. She assures him that she will help him get through his situation. The real Buffy comes downstairs and the original, fake Buffy has disappeared. The real Buffy tells him to get out of the basement and prove that he has a soul. Willow runs into Anya on the university campus; Anya tells her that she’s dating a guy in the frat house. Willow sees blood on Anya’s hand and goes to the frat house. She sees the slaughtered frat guys and hears crying coming from a closet. A girl is sitting inside, repeating, “I take it back.” She tells Willow that her boyfriend broke up with her in front of his frat brothers and she wished that they all knew what it was like to have their hearts ripped out. She tells Willow that a spider did the actual slaughtering and soon realizes that the huge arachnid is still there. Willow uses magic to protect herself and the girl from the spider, then throws it out a window.

In another flashback to Sjornjost, Olaf, now a troll, runs through the village, chasing frightened people. D’Hoffryn approaches Aud, who admits that she turned Olaf into a troll after learning that he cheated on her. He is impressed by her methods and tells her that her true self is Anyanka. He invites her to become a vengeance demon to “help wronged women punish evil men.” Back in the present day, Willow calls Buffy at work (well, she’s not so much working as balancing a cup of pencils on her forehead) and tells her about the spider. Halfrek visits Anya and congratulates her on her magnificent massacre. Anya, however, is shocked by the violence of her actions. Willow arrives, kicks Halfrek out, and tells Anya that she has to stop with the vengeance. Anya tells her that the frat guys got what they deserved.

Buffy and Xander search the woods for the spider, coming across a boy whose heart has been ripped out. They find the spider’s webbing and hear something moving around in the trees. The spider attacks Buffy but she manages to fight it off. She throws an axe into a tree and kills the spider. When they return home Willow tells them what Anya did. Buffy announces that her only choice is to kill Anya. In a flashback to St. Petersburg in 1905, Halfrek and Anya celebrate Anya’s contribution to the start of the Russian Revolution. Halfrek encourages Anya to go out and enjoy the world rather than spend so much time focusing on work. Xander argues that Buffy doesn’t have to kill Anya, but she feels that she doesn’t have any other options. He admits that he still loves Anya, and points out that she had no problem with demons when she was dating them. Xander accuses Buffy of cutting him and Willow off to do her own thing. Buffy reminds him that she was forced to kill Angel, who she loved, and mentions that Xander and Willow encouraged her to beat him. Willow protests that she had nothing to do with that but Buffy continues that she has to do her job.

As Xander and Buffy leave, Willow finds the talisman D’Hoffryn gave her in “Something Blue” and summons him. He compliments her flaying but she tells him she wants to talk about Anya. Xander finds Anya at the frat house and tells her he wants to help her. He apologizes for the pain he’s caused her and warns her that Buffy is going to kill her. Buffy arrives and she and Anya fight, Anya throwing taunts at the Slayer. Buffy finally gets the better of her and stabs her through the heart. In a flashback to the night before “Once More, With Feeling” begins, Anya listens as neighbors sing about a mustard stain on a shirt. Xander falls asleep and Anya sings “Mrs.,” reflecting on her past and expressing excitement about marrying Xander.

Back at the frat house, Anya pulls the sword out of her chest, announcing that Buffy will need to do more to kill her. She tells Xander to stop trying to save her. D’Hoffryn appears and tells them that everyone has expressed an opinion about Anya’s life except Anya herself. Anya tells him that she wants to take everything back, but he reminds her that in order to give the frat boys’ lives back, a vengeance demon must give up his or her life and soul. Xander tries to talk Anya out of her decision but she announces that her own wish is to give up her life to balance the scales. D’Hoffryn makes Halfrek appear, then takes her soul and life. He kicks Anya out of the fold and then tells the Scoobies, “From beneath you, it devours.” Outside, Anya tells Xander that she’s never really been alone and fears that she’s nobody. He tells her not to be a dope.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: It’s all fun and games until Buffy stabs you with a sword.

R.I.P.: Halfrek

GRADE: A- Great flashbacks + D'Hoffryn = the first truly entertaining episode of the season.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “Your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll.” - Olaf to Anya

“Hide your babies and your beadwork!” - Villager

Anya: “Vengeance.”
D’Hoffryn: “But only to those who deserve it.”
Anya: “They all deserve it.”
D’Hoffryn: “That’s where I was going with that, yeah.”

“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.” - Buffy

D’Hoffryn: “Behold, D'Hoffryn. Lord of Arashmahar. He that turns the air to blood and rains--. Miss Rosenberg. How lovely to see you again. Have you done something with your hair?”
Willow: “Hello, D’Hoffryn.”
D’Hoffryn: “I figured I’d be hearing from you soon. The flaying of Warren Meers? Oh, truly inspired. That was water cooler vengeance. Lloyd has a sketch of it on his wall.”

“Did everybody have their crazy flakes today?” - Xander to Anya

“Oh, breathtaking. It's like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.” - D’Hoffryn, upon seeing the frat house massacre

Anya: “You should’ve killed me.”
D’Hoffryn: “Oh, I wouldn't worry about that. From beneath you, it devours. Be patient. All good things in time.”

Xander: “You shouldn't be alone in this.”
Anya: “Yes, I should. My whole life, I've just clung to whatever came along.”
Xander: “Well, speaking as a clingee - I kinda didn't mind.”
Anya: “Thanks. For everything. Xander - what if I’m really nobody?”
Xander: “Don’t be a dope.”
Anya: “I’m a dope?”
Xander: “Sometimes.”
Anya: “That’s a start.”


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