Synopsis of Selfless
Written by Brandee Mode
The "previously on Buffy" reminds us that Anya once dated a man named Olaf whom she turned into a troll and that Anya went back to being a vengeance demon.
The start of the episode is Willow folding and putting clothes in a dresser, with Dawn's help. Dawn is babbling as she gives Willow advice to do and say everything that everyone else is doing and saying. But Willow reminds Dawn that she has been to college before. Buffy and Xander enter carrying boxes. Buffy asks if he has seen Anya lately. Xander says he hasn't seen her since they saved Willow in the cave and he is worried about Anya being sad. Buffy is more worried about the fact that she is a vengeance demon again. Xander believes that after the non-wedding, she just "turned back to what she knew" and he thinks "that's not her anymore" and with some time, she will want to rejoin their group.
The scene switches to slowly move around a room, showing us several young men, all dead with large chest wounds. Then the camera moves over to show Anya sitting on the floor in a daze, with blood on her dress, face and hands.
ANYA: "What have I done?"
Then the opening credits start. When the show returns, the scene is set in sepia. [In case you don't know what that means, it's similar to "black & white" but it's more like "brown & white"] A caption tells us the year is 880 and the town is somewhere in Sweden. It is prior to Anya becoming a vengeance demon and she has long, dark hair. She is in a house with several rabbits and is not scared of them. Still human, Olaf returns home and he calls her by the name Aud. They speak in Swedish, so this whole scene has sub-titles. She tells him that he smells of "blood and musk" and he tells her that "wretched trolls are no match for the mighty Olaf" then inquires about the increasing number of rabbits. She says the quick reproduction rate of the rabbits has given her an idea. She wants to give rabbits to the others in the town, "exchanging them not for goods or services, but for goodwill and the sense of accomplishment that stems from selflessly giving of yourself to others". Olaf makes fun of her and mentions that the bar matrons talk about her. Aud is not happy that Olaf has been to the bar, and Olaf points out that it is not his fault they don't like her because she "speaks her mind and is annoying". She is jealous of a certain woman who might have been at the bar, but Olaf assures her that he does not want anyone else. She tells him that she "loves him so much she could burst".
The scene switches back to normal color, in present day. Anya stands at a bathroom sink washing the blood from her hands and looks at herself in the mirror.
In the basement, Spike talks to *Buffy* and admits that he doesn't trust what he sees anymore. He mentions Drusilla and her insanity. He admits thinks he is not worthy of Buffy's help. *Buffy* tells him they will "get through this" and reaches out to touch his face. The camera turns a bit to show us that the real Buffy has arrived and she tells Spike that "this basement is killing you" and that "there's something bad down here" reminding him that it is the Hellmouth. When Spike realizes the first Buffy wasn't real, he begins to giggle and Buffy tells him to leave the basement. He says he doesn't have anywhere to go.
[Why is he in the basement in the first place? What happened to the crypt? Or are we to assume that since he has a soul now, he doesn't want to stay there anymore?]
Willow is walking outside on the college campus talking with a woman on the faculty about what Willow needs to do to catch up from time missed. The counselor noticed a drop in her grades last semester, but then Willow "aced" all her finals "like magic". Willow looks guilty. The woman assures Willow it will not be a problem to get her caught up, then excuses herself. Anya emerges from the frat house a short distance away. She is wearing a trench coat and holds it tightly around herself. Willow sees her and calls out to Anya. Willow is excited about returning to school and starts to babble about taking tests but she stops when she realizes Anya is acting strange. Anya tries to cover by pretending she has a new boyfriend who lives in the frat house. Willow is happy for Anya but then notices blood on Anya's wrist. Anya hurries to leave.
Willow goes to check out the frat house. She sees blood on the floor and then discovers the bodies in the next room. She also finds a girl huddled on the closet floor, muttering "I take it back" over and over. The girl explains that her boyfriend invited her to a party, but when she got there, it was just the other frat guys and he broke up with her in front of them. She cried. They laughed. She yelled, "I wish you could all feel what it's like to have your heart ripped out." At the girls use of the word *wish* Willow immediately realizes what happened. The girl explains that it was a spider. As Willow asks where it went, the VERY large spider crawls across the ceiling behind her. She notices it just as it jumps at her. Willow instinctively put up an arm and says, "protect" creating a magical shield that the spider can not penetrate. The girl cries harder and Willow turns and we see her eyes are all black. She tells the girl to "shut your whimpering mouth" then magically forces the spider out the window. When Willow turns back to the girl, her eyes are normal again and she apologizes.
The scene switches back to the past and the color is back to sepia. The people of the village are running around yelling about a troll. Then we see that Olaf has been turned into a troll. He tries to explain that he is Olaf, but the people just think he is doing an "Olaf impersonation". They throw food at him and he runs. The villagers run after him as Aud watches. The scene switches back to normal color as D'Hoffryn walks up next to her and introduces himself. She is not surprised to see a demon. They talk about the spell she did on Olaf. When she tells him that her name is Aud, he tells her that her "true identity is Anyanka" and proceeds to invite her to become a vengeance demon.
Willow calls Buffy at work and tells her about the giant spider. Buffy says she'll get Xander to help her look for it.
Halfrek and Anya are visiting in Anya's apartment. Halfrek tells her that the she and the other demons are impressed about the wish at the frat house. Anya still looks disturbed about it, but Halfrek assures her that she's "just a bit rusty" and the uneasiness will subside. Willow enters without knocking and orders Halfrek to leave. Anya tells her it's ok and Halfrek teleports out. Willow tells her that she "has to stop this" and tries to explain that she wants to help, but Anya says they got what they deserved, then yells at Willow.
ANYA: "I am a vengeance demon! Do you understand that?!"
Anya again says that they got what they deserved and it appears to me that she was saying it to convince herself as much as it was to convince Willow. Xander and Buffy walk through the woods, discussing Willow's return to college. They discover another dead body, missing the heart and a black sticky substance nearby which they assume to be the spider demon's web. They hear rustling in the trees above and Buffy pushes Xander out of the way. The giant spider jumps down and Buffy fights it briefly and kills it. Then they go to Buffy's house, where Willow explains that Anya summoned it in a wish-related incident. Xander gets irritated that Willow didn't tell them immediately. Buffy defends Willow.
BUFFY: "She didn't tell us because she knows what I have to do. I have to kill Anya."
The scene switches to the past. In the year 1905, Anyanka and Halfrek sit at a large banquet table in Russia. Halfrek compliments Anyanka about all the mayhem she has caused and suggests that they enjoy the revolution that Anyanka is "somewhat responsible for" but Anyanka is all about work and just wants to go searching for more "wronged women".
ANYANKA: "Vengeance is what I am."
Back in the present, Buffy tries to explain that Anya is not the person they used to know and Xander is trying to convince her that there are options other than killing Anya. Buffy tells him she already considered the alternatives, but does not explain what they were or why she has chosen to disregard them. Xander suggests that they could "fix" the deaths and looks toward Willow, who claims she doesn't have doesn't have that kind of power.
Buffy tells her that it's OK if she can't help and Xander is getting angry and points out that "when our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them." Buffy thinks this is different because Anya is not human anymore.
XANDER: "You know, if there's a mass-murdering demon that you're, oh, say boning, then it's all gray area."
Xander continues and accuses Buffy of acting like she is "the law" and she can't possibly understand how he feels. Buffy painfully points out how much she loved Angel and that she "killed" him because it had to be done. She reminds Xander of the way he cheered her on and gave her Willow's message to "kick his ass". Willow interrupts that she "never said that" but Buffy continues to rant. Buffy finally says that she is the law because as the slayer, it will always be up to her to draw the line. Xander again says there has to be another way and Buffy tells him to find it. Xander leaves. Buffy gets a sword from the weapons chest and starts to leave. Willow apologizes and says she can't go. After Buffy leaves, Willow gets an idea and goes upstairs.
Willow enters her bedroom and gets the talisman D'Hoffryn gave her a few seasons before. Willow uses magic to summon him and he arrives making a big show of it, but once he sees that it was Willow who summoned him, he tones it down. He assumes she has decided to become a vengeance demon and compliments her on skinning Warren. She claims that isn't her anymore, but he points out that he "felt the old Willow" earlier that day, referring to when she protected herself from the spider. Willow changes the subject to Anya and D'Hoffryn sighs.
Xander enters the frat house to find Anya staring at a large blood-stain. He announces that he is there to help and then apologizes for everything he did to Anya. She sarcastically replies that he just "fixed everything". Xander tells her that Buffy is on the way to kill her and Anya says Buffy can TRY. Xander babbles that he can't understand how all his friends are talking about killing each other. Anya tells him they are just doing their jobs. Buffy enters. Both women tell Xander to get out of the way. When he doesn't, Anya changes to her demon *game face* and knocks him across the room. Anya asks Buffy if she has any friends she HASN'T tried to kill. They fight for a few minutes. Buffy apologizes to Anya then stabs her in the chest with the sword.
The scene switches to the past again, this time only going back 2001 when everyone was singing and dancing. While Xander sleeps in a nearby chair, Anya sings about her life.
ANYA: "I've wreaked some wrath, but on the whole, I've had no path."
The rest of her singing tells us that she doesn't know what her purpose in life is and that marrying Xander will make her worth something.
The scene switches back to Anya, no longer in *game face* and she's pinned to the wall by the sword through her chest. With a grunt, she pulls the sword out, stating that she had "forgotten how much swords through the chest hurt." Then she tells Buffy that she knows better than that, "it takes a lot more" than that to "kill a vengeance demon". They start fighting again. Buffy gets the sword back but is tackled by Xander before she can stab Anya again. Anya yells at him...
ANYA: "Stop trying to save me, Xander!"
D'Hoffryn appears, knocking everyone off their feet. He tells them to continue and looks in to see the room full of bodies. He says it looks "like someone slaughtered an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog". Buffy starts toward him but he reminds her that he can teleport out before she could do anything. Everyone is standing now and D'Hoffryn comments about Slayers always solving their problems by "sticking things with sharp objects". D'Hoffryn explains that Willow has suggested that Anya no longer be a vengeance demon. D'Hoffryn refers to Buffy as "Lady Hacks-away" and says they know what she wants. He points out that no one has asked what Anya wants. Anya softly says she wants to "take it back" and "undo" what she did. D'Hoffryn considers it and says it will not be easy and it would require something a sacrifice to balance the scale. D'Hoffryn states that the sacrifice must be the "life and soul of a vengeance demon" and Anya tells him to "do it". Xander interrupts to say there must be another way but Anya tells him he can't help. D'Hoffryn claps his hands and a bright light fills the room. Halfrek appears, smiling, but then she is killed by ball of fire. Buffy and Xander are stunned. Anya is horrified, acting as if she is in physical pain. No longer pretending to be nice, D'Hoffryn tells her...
D'HOFFRYN: "Who did you think you were dealing with? Did you think it would be that easy to get away? Haven't I taught you anything Anya? Never go for the kill, when you can go for the pain. I've got plenty of girls. There will always be vengeance demons. But now you, Anya, you're out."
Anya is crying and tells him that he should have killed her. D'Hoffryn tells her not to worry about that and reminds them "from beneath you it devours". D'Hoffryn leaves. Anya stares at Buffy and Xander for a moment then leaves without saying anything. Xander goes after her and she tells him to go away. He tells her that he doesn't want her to be alone but she insists that she should be alone. As he starts to leave, she calls out to him and asks,
ANYA: "What if I'm really nobody?"
He tells her not to be a dope then continues to leave. She watches him for a moment then turns and walks in the opposite direction.
Back to episode info