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"A New Man" is the twelfth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the sixty-eighth in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Gershman, it was originally broadcast on January 25, 2000, on The WB network.


ANOTHER BUFFY BIRTHDAY DEBACLE — Buffy and Riley explore the extent of each other's powers as they become more romantically entwined. Feeling left out these days, Giles turns to his old buddy Ethan Rayne for camaraderie, but Giles must rely on an unlikely source when he is transformed into a demon and mistakenly hunted down by an unknowing Buffy.[1]


Riley and Buffy are making out on her bed. Willow suddenly barges into the room and tells them of a demon attack in the rec room. They go after it armed with weapons, only to find that it's a surprise party for Buffy's 19th birthday. At the party, Buffy introduces Riley as her boyfriend to Giles, and Riley asks Giles about what he does now that he's out of a job since the school burned down. Buffy then gushes to Giles about Professor Walsh and how she's "the smartest person she's ever met," and she explains that she wasn't invited to the party because "she's got better things to do than hang out with a bunch of kids."

Now able to hurt and kill demons, Spike packs his things as he moves out of Xander' basement.

Riley introduces Buffy to Professor Walsh as the Slayer. Walsh says they can learn from each other and, as an example of their impressive results, Riley has killed or captured 17 hostiles. She then inquires about how many Buffy has slain.

Giles discovers a powerful demon, Barvain, is about to rise. He calls Buffy in her dorm, but Willow informs him that she is with Professor Walsh. Walking through the campus, Buffy tries to be humble, but Riley is stunned by her history of slaying. Giles goes to Walsh to talk about Buffy. She says that the lack of a father figure in Buffy's life is a problem, which offends Giles.

Willow and Xander go with Giles to a cemetery to find Barvain. Instead, they find the area clean, which Willow suggests is the work of the Initiative. She and Xander go on about how thorough the operation is, and they notice that Giles never knew about the Initiative or that Riley and Walsh are part of it. Giles sends Willow and Xander away, offering to stay in the mausoleum case anything happens. Dejected, he soon leaves.

Ethan walks out of the shadows, speaking of interesting things to come, only to be caught when Giles re-enters the mausoleum. Giles prepares to beat Ethan, but Ethan hastily promises of information. Drinking in a bar, Ethan tells Giles that the underworld is being threatened by the Initiative, especially by something called "314." He says that, whatever the Initiative is doing, it's throwing everything out of balance, and the underworld fears it.

Buffy and Riley spar together. They hold back at first until Buffy kicks Riley hard enough to send him flying across the room.

In the bar, Giles and Ethan get drunk. Giles opens up about how left out he feels and his annoyance that the Initiative have the demons running scared when he'd been fighting evil for 20 years. Ethan flirts and gives his number to their waitress.

Willow meets Tara in her dorm room to practice magic. A simple exercise to float a rose goes awry, causing the rose to fly wildly around the room.

In the next morning, Giles wakes up in his apartment and discovers he's been transformed into a horned creature. He tries to make a call, but he breaks the telephone receiver with his incredible strength, rips his shirt when he tries to wear it, then breaks the door off its hinges as he leaves the house.

At breakfast, Willow tells Buffy she was practicing magic alone, but she mentions that some magical force interfered with the spell she was attempting to cast. Willow then tells Buffy that Giles has been feeling "left out of the loopy," and Buffy realizes that she never told Giles about Riley and the Initiative.

Giles goes to Xander's basement and tries to get him to help. Xander wakes up, but he doesn't recognize or understand Giles, who is speaking in another language. Xander starts to throw pots and pans at him, and Giles runs away. The Scooby Gang finds Giles's place destroyed, and they worry that the same demon that went to Xander's was responsible for hurting or even killing Giles.

Walking through a cemetery, Giles runs into Spike, who is measuring a mausoleum. He recognizes Giles and identifies him as a Fyarl demon. Because he speaks the language, Spike agrees to help find Ethan and fix things for cash. Spike tries to figure out how to drive Giles's car while telling Giles what he knows about Fyarl demons. Giles fights his urge to be as violent as the species is known of being, but, upon spotting Walsh, he asks Spike to stop the car. Giles runs after her screaming then, now more calm, returns to the car.

The Gang find information on the demon in Giles's books and discover it can only be killed with a silver object. The Initiative phones Riley and tells him a demon took Giles' car. Buffy guesses someone performed dark magic to control the Fyarl. She takes a letter opener before leaving for the magic shop.

In the bar, Spike gets information out of the waitress that Ethan flirted with and finds out where he's staying.

Breaking into the magic shop, Buffy finds a receipt for materials Ethan purchased.

While trying to escape the commando vehicles chasing after them, Giles jumps out of the car. The commandos continue their pursuit on Spike, who quickly crashes the car.

Giles charges into Ethan's motel room and attacks him. Buffy and Riley arrive on the scene and, while Riley takes care of Ethan, Buffy fights with demon Giles. She stabs him with the letter opener, but then she looks into his eyes and realizes it's Giles. She gets worried and notices the weapon is apparently not made of real silver.

Ethan finishes turning Giles back into a human with a spell. The Intiative arrives to arrest Ethan, and Giles goes to watch him get put away. Buffy thanks Riley for his help, and Riley admires her abilities as the Slayer.

Later, Buffy apologizes Giles for not telling him about Riley and the Initiative. Giles says he is worried about her safety and whom she trusts.

Walsh is upset that Riley disobeyed orders for Buffy, but she says she thinks that Buffy will "work out." Passing through security doors, Walsh enters a room labeled "314."


  • This episode marks the only time on the show in which Buffy's birthday is celebrated without the inevitable unfortunate event happening to her (although it does to someone close to her), as opposed to "Surprise," "Helpless," and "Older and Far Away."
  • Riley jokes that the Sunnydale High School library has gone "downhill" since Giles left. Riley saw in "Doomed" the effects of the explosion from "Graduation Day, Part Two."
  • Maggie Walsh asks Buffy how many "hostiles" she has killed; at this point, her slay count includes over 100 demons and vampires since her first slay in "Becoming, Part One."
  • The mausoleum in which Giles encounters Ethan later becomes Spike's home from the next episode until "Seeing Red."
  • Anya and Spike talk about crypts not having electricity; his new place will soon be fixed so he'll have a functioning TV ("Goodbye Iowa").
  • Crashed by Spike, this episode marks the last appearance of Giles's Citroën, to be replaced by a red BMW in "Real Me."
  • Ethan warns Giles about the number 314, which is eventually revealed to be the number of the room in which Adam has been built for the 314 Project ("The I in Team").
  • Similarly, in his next appearance, Ethan will help Buffy to identify the number 30 (The Long Way Home, Part Three), revealed to be the room in which he's held captive (Part Four).
  • It's revealed that Spike is able to understand Fyarl language. In Last Gleaming, Part Two, he'll credit this language as enabling his research on the Twilight prophecy.
  • Buffy will eventually use Giles's transformation into a Fyarl to prove she's herself, recalling the event while in Faith's body in the episode "Who Are You?"
  • Ethan will stay imprisoned by the Government until his assassination in The Long Way Home, Part Four.



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • None.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Producer Douglas Petrie has mentioned the creative process behind this episode's metaphor:[2]
    "Well, we felt that Giles was a little bit underserved at this point in the season and wanted to give him something to be doing. It's always fun to have Ethan Rayne back in the mix. Really, this is Giles' mid-life crisis episode. It was the first time that we got to deal with a metaphor that was that adult, not teen-orientated at all, and quite a bit of fun. […] There were a couple of ideas kicked around. We were talking about a portal. We were talking about him becoming younger, him becoming older, him kind of recapturing his youth by becoming — I don't think seriously — but I know Jane Espenson was kicking around the idea of getting teenage actors to play teenage versions of Giles and Ethan and to have young Ethan try to seduce Buffy. That was an intriguing idea but ultimately we went with a pretty straight-on metaphor of his questioning himself in the middle of his life and he's turning into a monster."
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Robin Sachs in the television series.
  • From now on, Emma Caulfield is credited with "as Anya" under her name for the rest of the fourth season.


  • "A New Man" had an audience of 3.9 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • Riley tries to help Giles:[4]
    Riley: "Oh, I know how that is. My dad was out of work a while back. He sells farm equipment. It was rough."
  • Ethan attempts to convince the waitress he's a famous actor:[4]
    Waitress: "You're not Roger Moore."
    Ethan: "God's truth. Tell her, Ripper."
    Giles: "What? Oh. He's not Roger Moore."
  • After Spike crashes Giles's car:[4]
    Spike: "I can kill demons! I can crash cars!" (He runs off into the night.) "Things are looking up."
  • Buffy is apologetic:[4]
    Giles: "Embarrassed mostly. Buffy, I don't know what to say. You know I'd never intentionally—"
    Buffy: "I know. I'm so sorry about, you know, stabbing you in the heart..."

Pop culture references[]

  • Giles says being lost in the UC Sunnydale halls makes him feel like the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.
  • Riley compares Buffy's strength to the fictional superhero Spider-Man.


  • When Giles is dusting his bookcase and pulls down a book to read something in it, the pages of the book are blank.
  • When Giles comes to Xander's basement for help, we see laundry hanging up behind Giles's head. A pair of briefs alternates between hanging correctly on the drying line to hanging limply with only one side attached. The change happens at least four times, going from one state to the other.
  • When Giles opens the front door of his apartment, he pulls it completely of its hinges, and it topples against the settee to the right of the doorway, but when Buffy and the Scoobies arrive, the door is back upright and still attached by its topmost hinge. Also, when they first get to the apartment, the door appears to be on the outside, but once they're inside, so is the door.
  • As Giles drinks with Ethan in the pub, the beer in his glass changes levels. It's full when Giles faces the camera, and it's dramatically emptier when the camera points across the table toward Ethan.
  • During the fight with Buffy, the underarm flaps of the Fyarl costume are evident as Giles lands on the bed. Likewise, a gash in the spine of the suit rips open.


  • 12 Volt Sex — "Over Divine"
  • Other Star People — "Then There's None"
  • Scott Ellison — "Down Down Baby"
  • Jessica Sheely — "In Good Time"
  • Christophe Beck — "Fyarl in the Morning"
  • Christophe Beck — original score

International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Նոր մարդ" (New Man)
  • Czech: "Nový muž" (New Man)
  • French: "314"
  • German: "Metamorphosen" (Metamorphoses)
  • Hungarian: "Az új fiú" (The New Boy)
  • Italian: "Un Uomo Nuovo" (A New Man)
  • Japanese: "新しい男" (New Man)
  • Polish: "Ktoś nowy" (Someone New)
  • Portuguese: "Um Novo Homem" (A New Man)
  • Romanian: "Un Om Nou" (A New Man)
  • Russian: "Новый человек" (New Man)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Un Hombre Nuevo" (A New Man)
  • Spanish (Spanish): "Un Hombre Nuevo" (A New Man)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Buffy: "I like pancakes because they're stackable. Ooh, and waffles, 'cause you can put things in the little holes if you wanted to."
Willow: "You should always have a new boyfriend. You're so much fun right now."
Xander: "You own nothing. This shouldn't be taking so long."
Spike: "Hang on. Let a fella get organized."
Xander: "That's my radio!"
Spike: "And you're what? Shocked and disappointed? I'm evil."
Walsh: "So, the Slayer!"
Buffy: "Yeah. That's me."
Walsh: "We thought you were a myth."
Buffy: "Well, you were myth-taken."
Giles: "If you can't find third gear, don't try for third gear."
Spike: "I'm doing my best… I don't know if I'm driving this thing or wearing it."
Giles: "How did you know it was me?"
Buffy: "Your eyes. You're the only person in the world that can look that annoyed with me."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on March 31, 2001.
  2. "Doug Petrie, Buffy Producer's guide to season four - A New Man." BBC - Cult - Buffy. Retrieved on January 23, 2018.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "A New Man." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on November 25, 2018.