Never Leave Me
|"Never Leave Me"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
The First Evil uses Spike's blood to open the seal to unleash the Turok-Han
|Episode no.||Season 7|
|Directed by||David Solomon|
|Written by||Drew Goddard|
|Original air date||November 26, 2002|
Xander works to repair the living room window while Dawn, Willow and Anya help clean up and discuss the potential danger that is Spike. Wearing a trench coat like Spike's, Andrew is coached by Warren to continue playing his part in the game. Warren explains that because he can't take corporeal form, Andrew is a crucial player and then he morphs into Jonathan to continue the encouragement. Andrew stresses that he can't kill anymore, but Jonathan doesn't consider that to be a problem. Buffy tries to offer comforting words to Spike while she ties him down to a chair. He instructs her to tie the rope tighter so he can't get free.
Principal Wood lectures two students about damaging school property and ultimately threatens the students into repairing their mistake. Dawn drops by his office and informs him that Buffy is sick and unable to attend work. Buffy calls Quentin Travers and asks about Giles, but he's just as clueless as she is. He's with a group of Watchers and informs them that they need to find Giles quickly. Buffy checks on Spike, who's struggling to control his blood lust after tasting so much human blood. He vamps and snaps at her, but remains tied to the chair. Buffy and Willow talk about Spike outside the room and Willow volunteers to get him some animal blood to help ease his cravings.
Warren coaches Andrew on killing a pig, but Andrew fails miserably and resorts to going to the butcher shop to get the blood they need. At the butcher shop, Andrew orders an array of meats and pig's blood, but as he's leaving, he runs into Willow and spills his purchases on the ground. Andrew runs from her, but she catches up with him and uses his assumption that she's evil to frighten him. She takes him back to the house with her, pointing out his suspicious behavior and purchase of animal blood to the rest of the group. Xander and Anya interrogate Andrew while he's tied to a chair, but he doesn't have any answers they want to hear. Anya snaps and slaps Andrew before Xander pulls her out of the room.
Upstairs, Buffy feeds Spike some of the animal blood as Anya and Xander meet in the bathroom to rave about their 'good cop, bad cop' performance with Andrew. Buffy joins them and although none of them have information yet, they're sure they'll get some soon. Back in the bedroom, Spike is calmed and talks to Buffy about how little he remembers about his killing. She asks about how he got his soul and he tells her about the demon trials.
Xander returns to Andrew and changes tactic to politeness. He unties Andrew and offers him water while using Anya's ability to hurt men as a threat. Anya comes charging in and attacks Andrew, intending to beat his knowledge out of him. Buffy leaves Spike momentarily to investigate Andrew's cries for help, but leaves as soon as Anya and Xander assure her they have things under control. When she leaves, the morphing version of Spike appears and starts to talk to the real Spike. Buffy hears Spike singing through the door to her room and when she goes back inside, she finds him acting differently. He claims to be hungry and asks for blood, but as soon as he gets it he breaks free from his chair and knocks Buffy down, leaving her stunned. While Andrew leans against a wall and starts to talk to Anya about what he knows in the next room over, Spike punches through the wall, grabs Andrew from behind, and viciously bites him.
Buffy recovers and pulls Spike off Andrew; she knocks Spike out with a powerful kick. Buffy talks to the gang about Spike's strange behavior and based on Buffy's information, Xander concludes that Spike is being manipulated by a posthypnotic trigger, in military style. Buffy instructs the gang to begin researching so they can figure out what they're dealing with.
At the high school, Principal Wood leaves his office, but detours through the basement where he finds Jonathan's dead body on top of the symbol.
Buffy goes down to the basement to clean up Spike's wounds while he lies chained up to a brick wall. He wakes up and doesn't understand why he has no memory of his actions. Buffy tells him of Xander's trigger theory. Spike orders Buffy to kill him because she and the Scoobies are not prepared to handle the "real" Spike. She denies his request and Spike responds with a theory of his own, that Buffy likes men who hurt her and that's why she's never been able to kill him. She tells him no, that his theory no longer describes her; and that she is not going to kill him because something is controlling him, and because he can be, and now is, a good man. She tells Spike she believes in him.
Suddenly, the windows and doors break all over the house as robed figures attack the Scooby Gang. In a deserted location, Principal Wood buries Jonathan's body. The gang fights a vicious battle with the robed figures attacking them. Dawn handles herself pretty well with a couple of them while Buffy chases one upstairs and protects Andrew from being killed. Most of the robed figures are disabled or killed, but they didn't come for Buffy and the gang; they came for Spike. Down in the basement, Buffy and Xander find that Spike's chains are empty and he's nowhere to be seen. Buffy recognizes the faces of the robed figures as harbingers representing The First (first encountered in "Amends") and realizes that's who they're dealing with. The ghosts haunting them, the games being played on them and the impending danger that will come from beneath are all connected to the First Evil.
Watchers report to Quentin about the numerous attacks on the Council around the world. Quentin confirms that the First Evil is responsible and orders the Watchers to prepare for their greatest challenge. Seconds later, the Watcher's Council headquarters explodes. In the Sunnydale High School basement, Spike is strapped to circular contraption and the robed figures cut designs into Spike's skin. The First talks to Spike and blames him for this happening to him. The First morphs into Buffy and she talks as she watches the Bringers raise the contraption and Spike up to the ceiling and turn Spike face-first over the seal. Spike's blood falls onto the seal and opens it. As the First explains, an older kind of vampire called a Turok-Han emerges.
Willow's enormous powers, even if she is not fully in control of them, forced the writers to figure out a way to keep her from being part of every fight. Else, she could burn alive (or undead) every foe she sees. Here, she is immediately knocked unconscious when the Bringers attack. The same plot device is used in "Get It Done".
Camden Toy also appears in the Season Four episode "Hush" as one of the "Gentlemen", in the Season Seven episode "Same Time, Same Place" as Gnarl, and in the Season Five Angel episode "Why We Fight" as "The Prince of Lies".
- The episode's title, "Never Leave Me", is a line from the song "Early One Morning", the trigger used by the First against Spike.
- When Andrew is at the butcher shop, the butcher says "This is a butcher shop, Neo, we don't sell toothpaste," a reference to The Matrix and Andrew's new "look".
- As Andrew jumps to kill the piglet, he shouts "That'll do, Pig", a famous line from the movie Babe. He also directly references the sequel, Babe: Pig in the City, claiming it was "underrated".
- Andrew and the First in the guise of Warren use several Star Wars references.
- Anya references The Roy Rogers Show when asking if a trigger mentioned by Xander in the context of brainwashing is the horse.
- Travers' words are quoted from a September 9, 1941 speech by Winston Churchill, who in turn was paraphrasing the final two lines of the William Ernest Henley poem "Invictus".
- Spike's line "saw a man about a girl" is a reference to Good Will Hunting.
- Xander says that in the movies a sleeper agent "completes his task and either blows his head off or steals a submarine", possibly references to The Manchurian Candidate and the 1971 aborted-pilot Madame Sin respectively.
- The headquarters of the Watchers' Council is destroyed, killing many of the Watchers including Nigel, Lydia and Quentin Travers.
- The Scoobies can finally place a name to the many faces of the season's Big Bad.
- Spike, the strongest fighter after Buffy, is kidnapped, which will force Buffy to take unpopular risks to save him.
- This is the first time that Willow and Andrew have seen each other since she tried to kill him in "Grave."