When She Was Bad



Nightime in Sunnydale graveyard and Willow and Xander walk home playing guess the movie. Willow hops up onto the graveyard wall as Xander complains about the summer’s lack of action and we learn that Buffy has been away in LA with her father, which probably accounts for Xander’s dull summer.

Changing the topic from the lack of Buffy, Xander dabs Willow on the nose with the ic ecream he has been eating, leaving a blob of it remaining. He leans in to lick it off, Willow pulls away, Xander gently wipes the ice cream from her face, they lean closer, closer, just as they are about to kiss, a face appears next to theirs. A vampire. Willow screams and jumps off the wall as the vampire jumps over it, Xander pushes Willow out of the way and attempts to fight him off. Just as the vampire is about to take a bite, a hand pulls him off, spins him round and a short skirted leg knees him in the balls and spins him round to land on his back. With a quick “Hi guys” Buffy is back!

As Willow and Xander look on, the vampire rises again, only to be kicked into a tree, staked through the heart with a protruding branch.

The three friends take a moment to catch up as they continue their night time walk, Willow and Xander let Buffy know their summer has been dull without her, not a vampire in sight until tonight, the highlight being the burial of The Master’s bones, under a tree in the graveyard.

At Buffy’s house, her father is helping Joyce unpack all the new clothes (and shoes) she has acquired whilst in LA, and reveals that Buffy was not really herself while she was staying with him, that she had been distant, hence he compensated by buying clothes. And shoes. Lots and lots of shoes.

The next day it is back to business as usual at Sunnydale High, Cordelia tells her long suffering friends of her terrible beachless summer, while Principal Snyder tells Giles how happy he is to see all the lovely hormonal timebombs back filling the shcoolyard. Giles, however, is distracted by the arrival of Ms Calendear and they go off together leaving Snyder to his thoughts.

Inside the school, as they too catch up on their summer, (Ms Calendar spent hers at festivals, whilst Giles had is head in a book), they are joined by Buffy, Willow and Xander, where they fill the two adults in on last night’s adventures. Before long it is time for class, but not before Giles has made a training date with Buffy.

After school Buffy trains in the library with Giles, peforming many gymnastic feats and spending far too much time and effort killing a wooden fighting dummy. She is definitely ready for whatever might come next.

Meanwhile, in an old factory, the remaining vampires gather, one of them, Absalom, is also having a good old moan about their current situation, there is a new hope however, which is apparently coming in three days and, he says as he looks across the room to the dark figure of the Anointed one, this new hope will show them the way. The faintest glimmer of a smile plays on The Anointed One’s lips

The next day Buffy sits deep in thought in the school lounge as Xander and Willow bounce up to her. Xander and Willow swap lunch snacks as Buffy insists that she is fine, but had weird dreams, Giles approaches with bad news on his face as usual. Buffy tells him not to worry, but Giles punches her, sending her sprawling over a table where he grabs her around the throat, choking her. Xander and Willow continue to eat their snacks, unconcerned, as Buffy tries to fight off her Watcher,. Reaching up she grabs at his hair and pulls, only for his mask to come off, revealing the face of The Master underneath.

Back at her house, Buffy snaps awake. Just another bad dream. She sits up and looks towards the window, Angel is standing there. She is snappy and off-hand with him, more-so when he reveals he is there for business not pleasure. He comes with the news that The Anointed has been gathering forces, Buffy remains unconcerned despite his warnings, and turns around to go back to sleep. Angel turns to go, telling her he missed her. She turns around to say she missed him too, but he’s gone. She stares at the empty space where he was for a while.

The next day, Joyce drives Buffy to school, she is silent and contemplative and has Joyce concerned.

At the school lockers Buffy collects her things for the day while Xander and Willow grill her about Angel’s visit. They are interrupted by Cordelia, who is a little two forthcoming about the opening of the Hellmouth, Buffy walks off, leaving Xander, Willow and Cordelia stunned with the effectiveness of her parting insult, and now also concerned about her state of mind.

That night at the Bronze, Cibo Matto are playing, as Willow and Xander chat about what is wrong with Buffy, who is so-far a no-show. Xander is distracted, looking around for Buffy, as Willow tries to recreate the moment from the other night, dabbing some of her ice cream on her nose. She looks hopefully at Xander, waiting for him to turn around. When he does though, he merely points out that she has something on her nose and continues scanning for Buffy. Willow wipes her face, dejectedly.

In the graveyard, the vampires gather at The Master’s grave. Absalom and The Anointed watch as the other vampires, dig up the bones.

Back in the Bronze, Cibo Matto still play as Buffy arrives, Angel spots her and approaches, once again she gives him the brush off telling him she moved on over the summer, “to the living.” She heads towards Xander and Willow watched by Cordelia and co. Noticing that Angel is still lurking in the background, Buffy grabs Xander’s hand and leads him to the dancefloor, where she dances with him, a little too closely, rubbing her body against his. Angel and Willow watch, confused, hurt. Buffy moves in closer to Xander, so their lips are almost touching, whispers in his ear and then leaves, passing Willow and Angel on the way, but saying not a word. Xander remains where he is, now also confused and maybe a little hurt too.

Cordelia follows Buffy out of The Bronze and confronts her about her actions, advising her to get over whatever it is that is causing her to join the campaign for bitch of the year. Telling her to mind her own business, Buffy walks off, leaving Cordelia to be grabbed from behind and dragged off by two vampires.

In the factory, Cordelia is taken to the basement by the vampires, where she finds an unconscious Ms Calendar.

Above ground, Buffy wanders through the graveyard finding herself near The Master’s grave, approaching it slowly, she is horrified to find it empty. Stepping away from it she suddenly finds herself standing next to The Master. She turns quickly, but no one is there.

The next day at school, Xander and Willow recount the night’s events to Giles, coming to the conclusion that Buffy became possessed when she killed The Master, Giles, however, has a more rational explanation, he is in the midst of explaining how Buffy has probably not dealt fully with her traumatic experience with The Master when Buffy herself appears behind them with the news of the missing Master. She thinks that they are going to bring him back and is mighty pissed with pretty much everyone, snapping at Xander and Willow when they try to intervene. The conversation is broken up by Snyder with the suggestion that there may be classes to attend, before matters can get too far out of hand.

Later that day, the Scoobies gather in the library while Giles translates the items needed to resurrect the vampire, as he does, a smash is heard and Buffy reaches up to catch a rock that has been thrown through the window with a note and Cordelia’s bracelet attached. Despite everyone’s remonstrations that the note reads “trap”, Buffy is determined to follow the instructions and head to The Bronze alone to save the day.  Grabbing her things, she leaves.

Buffy approaches The Bronze, stopping just before the entrance. She is being followed by Angel. She turns to confront him, he offers to help, but now she turns her wrath on him, egging him on to fight her. Angel controls himself, reminding her she has somewhere to be. She leaves telling him to leave her alone.

Entering The Bronze,  cautiously looking around, she see’s a figure on the floor, back towards her, wearing Cordelia’s jacket and crying on the floor. Angel enters behind Buffy as she realises the figure is not Cordelia. Turning, the figure reveals herself to be a vampire and Angel points out that the hook is missing from the bait in this plan. The vampire rushes Buffy but she easily flips her onto the floor, standing on her neck, as she realises that Angel is right. There is something wrong with this trap.

Back in the library, Giles, Willow and Xander are still researching when Giles hits upon the same realisation as Angel, just as he looks up to see they are surrounded by vampires. The trap wasn’t for Buffy.

Back in the Bronze, Buffy ties up the vampire and throws her at Angel, telling him to watch her, she leaves and heads for the library, which she finds in disarray. Xander appears from behind an upturned table, face bloody, and very, very pissed. He tells Buffy what Giles had learned while she was busy storming off to take care of everything by herself, that the ritual needs the people who were with The Master when he died. They appear to now have the full set, Giles, Willow, Cordelia and Ms Calendar. They need to find out where.

Back at the Bronze, Buffy beats and torments the information out of their imprisoned vampire as Angel and Xander watch on.

In the factory Absalom, The Anointed and the other vampires are preparing the ritual. The Master’s bones are laid out on a table, above which are hanging their four captives. Upside down.

Buffy, Angel and Xander sneak in as Absalom begins the ritual, seeing her friends hanging upside down gives Buffy some pause. She baulks, but Xander and Angel urge her into action.

Back at the table Absalom takes out a knife, but Buffy interrupts with a stake through one of their hearts. The vampires all pause as Buffy appears behind the cloud of dust that was their friend, and then the fight begins. Buffy holds her own, kicking and punching one vampire then another as Angel and Xander sneak up the stairs unnoticed, to pull Giles, Willow, Cordelia and Ms Calendar to safety, while below Absalom protects The Anointed, who makes his way out of the basement. Noticing his sacrifices disappearing, Absalom alerts the others, one of whom heads upstairs just as, Angel and Xander have pulled their friend back to firm ground. Angel vamps out and takes this vampire on, while downstairs, Buffy dusts the female vampire, and starts work on the other.

Absalom now reappears holding a sledgehammer, he and the remaining vampire rush Buffy one from each side. Calmly, she reaches for a burning torch, snaps it off, impales the vampire with the pointy end and sets Absalom alight with the other. She watches dispassionately as he burns and turns into dust, dropping his hammer. Her friends watch from above as she picks up the hammer and approaches The Master’s bones.

Taking the hammer, she sets about bashing them to pieces. Angel approaches her slowly and she turns to him, sobbing as he takes her in his arms.

The next day the sun shines on Sunnydale High, Cordelia regales the horrific experience of clothes staining, as Buffy back to her usual self, is full of remorse for her actions and concerned about facing her friends as Giles tries to comfort her.

The school bell rings and Buffy enters the class sheepishly, seeing Willow and Xander sitting in their usual places, she walks towards them and hesitatingly takes the empty seat next to them. Xander breaks the ice with a joke, Willow with her winning and smile, and Buffy relaxes and joins in. Everything is back to normal.

Back in the factory The Anointed stands amongst the wreckage of The Master’s bones and declares “I hate that girl!”


  1. This is the star of the tradition where Buffy season premieres will start in or close to a cemetery.
  2. David Boreanaz becomes main cast from this episode.
  3. This episode marks the first appearance of the Sunnydale High School Lounge.
  4. Joyce tells Hank she just hopes that Buffy can make it through the year without getting kicked out of school. She can’t.
  5. Christophe Beck replaces Walter Murphy as compoer. Christophe will remain with the series up to and including Season Six’s Once More, With Feeling.
  6. David Boreanaz plays The Master in the non-flashback scenes of this episode.


  • When the rock is thrown through the library window, Buffy catches it and then places it on the table. When we see Buffy again she has the rock on her lap, and places it on the table again.
  • When Joyce is driving Buffy to school, Buffy is wearing a lacy pink tank top and dark brown pants, later the same day at school she is a white tank top and green pants.  The next day at school she is wearing the pink tank and brown pants combo. In the original script the scene in the car appears later in the episode than it does on screen and was obviously shot that way and then changed in editing.
  • When Buffy smashes the Master’s bones she crushes his skull first, but at the end of the show, the Anointed One picks up the skull perfectly intact.
  • When Buffy is smashes the Master’s bones, she smashes his rib cage, however, in a later shot, she smashes it again.


Willow: I mean, why else would she be acting like such a b-i-t-c-h?
Giles: Willow, Io think we’re a little too old to be spelling thigs out.
Xander: A “bitca”?
Buffy: Cordelia, your mouth is open, sound is coming from it, this is never good.
Angel: Why are you riding me?
Buffy: Because I don’t trust you. You’re a vampire. Oh, I’m sorry. Was that an offensive term? Should I say ‘undead American’>

Snyder: There are some things I can just smell. It’s like a sixth sense.
Giles: No, actually, that would be one of the five.

Buffy: [reading]: Come to The Bronze before it opens or we make her a meal.
Xander: They’re gonna cook her dinner? I’ll pretend I didn’t say that.

Willow: The other night I dreamed that Xander… uh, it wasn’t Xander. In fact, it wasn’t me, it was a friend’s dream and… she doesn’t remember it.

Xander: So, we Bronzin’ it tonight?
Willow: Wednesday’s kinda beat.
Xander: Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but, gosh, we did that last night.


  • It Doesn’t Matter  Alison Kraus and Union Station – (when Angel comes to Buffy’s bedroom and when Joyce drives Buffy to school)
  • Spoon – Cibo Matto  (Live in the Bronze when Willow and Xander wait for Buffy.)
  • Sugar Water – Cibo Matto  (when Buffy dances with Xander)

Episode Guide © Cider 15/09/2018

Characters and Story © Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy & 20th Century Fox


Author: Cider

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