Same Time, Same Place
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"Same Time, Same Place" is the third episode of the seventh and final season of the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
|"Same Time, Same Place"|
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
|Episode no.||Season 7|
|Directed by||James A. Contner|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Original air date||October 8, 2002|
At the airport, Buffy, Dawn, and Xander wait for Willow to get off her plane and talk about how uncomfortable they feel about the situation. The plane clears, but the three don't see Willow. The scene repeats as Willow gets off the plane, but she doesn't see her friends waiting for her. A young man spray paints a wall of a construction site as a demon taunts him from the shadows and then attacks the frightened man.
Willow lets herself into the Summers house, which appears to be vacant of her friends. Going up to what used to be her room, but now has been claimed by Buffy, Willow remembers the last time she was in the room. A door closes and Willow begins to investigate, but still her friends are nowhere to be seen. Alone, Willow curls up on the couch. Buffy, Xander, and Dawn return home and after talking about how Willow did leave England, but she had opportunities to divert to a location other than Sunnydale. They hear a noise upstairs and check it out, but find nothing. In the living room, the three talk about the reason for Willow's disappearance.
The next morning, Willow walks over to the magic shop and finds Anya cleaning up the magic shop. Anya is very cold to her and Willow feels guilty about everything. They talk a bit and Anya fills Willow in on everyone's activities since she's been gone. Willow checks out Xander's construction site and instead of Xander, she finds a skinned body. At the same time, Xander and Buffy are looking at the body and the familiar sight makes them wonder if Willow is back after all. Unbeknownst to them, a disgusted Willow climbs a ladder to exit the site.
Willow walks the halls of Sunnydale High and proceeds down to the basement where she finds Spike acting insanely. He talks to Willow about the dead body, but also carries on a conversation with something else in the room Willow can't see. Buffy and Xander maneuver through the basement and find Spike seemingly talking to himself. Buffy and Xander try to get information from him, but Spike is simultaneously conversing with Willow, so his words make little sense. Spike suspects they can't see each other and that Willow's responsible for it. Buffy and Xander interpret some of Spike's comments to mean that he knows about Willow and they suspect she might have something to do with Spike's unstable condition.
Willow goes to Anya at her apartment for help in finding the demon that skinned the man at the construction site. Anya helps Willow cast a spell to locate demons all over Sunnydale. After the spell is complete, Willow asks Anya to teleport to one particular location to a cave just outside the town. But Anya reveals that she can't for non-vengeance business as a result of her recently undoing a spell. Instead, Willow takes the long way and walks there herself. At the Summers house, Dawn immediately begins searching on the computer for demons that skin people. Although Buffy thinks it's a waste of time, Dawn soon finds a demon that meets their specifications named Gnarl. The demon paralyzes its victims with its nails, and then eats strips of skin from the body and drinks the blood.
Realizing they need to search for a trail of blood, Buffy decides to recruit Spike to smell the way. He leads them to a cave where the demon can be found. Willow is already there investigating the cave and Gnarl spots her. The rest of the gang enters the cave as well, but they don't see Willow. The demon scratches Dawn's stomach and paralyzes her. Buffy and Xander take Dawn out of the cave and cover up the entrance, unintentionally trapping Willow with Gnarl. Stuck in the cave, Willow listens to the demon taunt her from the shadows. He slices her abdomen with a nail and, thus paralyzed, Willow is helpless against him as he sucks at the wound and starts to slice away slivers of her skin to eat.
Buffy and Xander carry a completely paralyzed Dawn into the living room while Buffy researches Gnarl and the way to save Dawn. Anya is called to stay with Dawn while they prepare to return to the cave to kill the demon and save Dawn. Anya talks about seeing Willow and reveals that Willow may be at the cave, whilst she moves a paralysed Dawn into funny poses. Panicked that Willow is trapped in the cave, Buffy grabs Anya to join them at the cave. Once Anya reveals that she knows about Gnarl, Buffy insists she come along. Gnarl continues to eat Willow's skin as he tells her that her friends have abandoned her and she's all alone for him to eat. Buffy arrives and attacks Gnarl while Anya tends to a badly injured Willow who still can't see her friends. While Buffy fights Gnarl, Anya informs Willow that her friends didn't leave her alone.
Buffy pokes the demon in the eyes with her thumbs, successfully killing it and ending the paralysis of both Willow and Dawn. Buffy and Xander look where they think Willow is while Anya runs for help, and slowly the spell making them invisible to each other wears off. Willow is relieved to see her friends and glad that they didn't abandon her.
In the morning, Willow meditates and uses magic from the earth to re-grow the skin she lost. Buffy stops by and talks with Willow. Willow reveals that her fear of seeing her friends and their judgment of her led to the invisibility problem from which they all were suffering. Buffy confesses that she briefly suspected Willow of the grotesque killing, but Willow doesn't blame her for that. Willow struggles to start meditating again, but she's still weak. Buffy offers her Slayer strength to her friend and joins in the meditation.
Camden Toy, the actor who portrayed the flesh-eating demon Gnarl, had previously portrayed one of the 'Gentlemen' in the season four episode, "Hush". He would also have a recurring role of the "Ubervamp" Turok-Han later in the season, as well as playing the Nosferatu-like character "The Prince of Lies" in the Angel episode "Why We Fight".
- The demon "Gnarl" is said, by Dawn, to be a parasite because he eats the flesh of his victims until they die. This is actually incorrect; parasites do not kill their victims. Gnarl is a parasitoid. He eventually kills his "host" or victim.
- Dawn mentions to Buffy, "and I can wear heels more often." The comment could be a reference to Michelle Trachtenberg's desire to wear heels instead of sneakers in season seven, which she mentioned to Joss Whedon during an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion with cast and crew.
- When Spike is talking to the separated Scoobies in the basement, he says "Button, button, who's got the button?", a phrase used in a game of the same name. This was also quoted by Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
- Xander waits for Willow at the airport with a welcome back sign written in yellow crayon. This is a reference to "Grave" when Xander mentioned to Dark Willow that she cried in kindergarten after breaking a yellow crayon.
- Anya is seen cleaning up the debris from the Magic Box following the events of "Grave". When she meets Willow, she's obviously very angry with her.
- Willow and Anya are seen performing another spell together like they did in the season three episode "Doppelgangland". This time, Willow is much more powerful than Anya, and drives the stick.
- During the spell the area that represents the Highschool, on the map, starts to burn up due to the vast number of dots. This is an early indication of The First's army of Turok-Hans within the Hellmouth.
- On the map of Sunnydale, the location of the Demon is labeled Wilkins Grove, after Mayor Richard Wilkins, or more likely "Richard Wilkins I" or "Richard Wilkins II," pseudonyms that Wilkins used during his incredibly long tenure as mayor.
- When Willow asks Anya to help her do a demon locator spell, Anya asks her, "This isn't gonna get all sexy, is it?" The question alludes to the use of magic in seasons four to six (in scenes involving Willow and her now-deceased girlfriend, Tara Maclay) to represent lesbian sex. One of the candles used carries the Chinese character for love.
- When Spike says, "What's a word that means 'glowing'...gotta rhyme," it is a reference to the episode "Fool for Love" in which Spike, in a flashback as a human, was trying to think of a word that rhymes with "gleaming" for a poem he was writing on the night he was turned into a vampire. Spike recites this poem at a dive bar in the final episode of Angel, "Not Fade Away."
- This is the only episode of the series not to feature any guest stars billed at the start of the episode.
- Willow returns to Sunnydale.
- Anya's falling out with the demon community continues; as penance for undoing the spell in the previous episode, she is not permitted to teleport unless in connection with her role as a vengeance demon, and not without prior submission of a "flight plan".
- This is the first instance of Dawn fully participating in a "Scooby-hunt", taking the role of a backup/replacement for Giles in researching.
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