"Amends" is the tenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and is the forty-fourth episode in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it originally broadcast on December 15, 1998 on The WB network.
THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PAST — As Buffy and her friends make plans for a quiet Christmas vacation, Angel is haunted by visions of his violent, demonic past, including the ghost of Jenny Calendar. Meanwhile, Willow goes to great, seductive lengths to try to convince Oz that he is the one for her; and Xander painfully adjusts to his life without Cordelia.
A man named Daniel runs down a Dublin street in the early 1800s, afraid of something or someone. He finally stops to rest in the entrance to an alley when the man following him, Angelus, appears in front of him. Apparently, Daniel had gambling problems and was in debt to Angelus, so he decided to take his payment "his way." Before he kills Daniel, he tells him to be of good cheer, because after all, "It's Christmas!" When Angel wakes up from his nightmare, unable to fall back asleep, he walks the streets of Sunnydale and runs into Buffy, who is out shopping for gifts. They exchange a few words before Angel sees Daniel again staring at him.
The next day, as Sunnydale High starts winding down for Christmas vacation, Buffy tells her friends about her strange encounter with Angel. They start filling each other in on holiday plans when Oz shows up, ready to talk to Willow. He tells her that he knows that she and Xander have a history and how he doesn't know if things between the two will ever be over. However, he also tells her tells her he misses her terribly, so he is willing to give their relationship another shot. Cordelia, on the other hand, is still cold and hostile toward the Scooby Gang, and smugly tells them that she'll be going to Aspen "with real snow."
Buffy and her mom go shopping for a Christmas tree and decide to invite Faith to Christmas Eve dinner. When Buffy suggests inviting Giles, Joyce becomes uncomfortable and vetoes the idea, claiming he doesn't want to spend Christmas with a "bunch of girls." While at the lot, Buffy spots a bunch of trees that died, seemingly without reason, and the salesman offers her a "hell of a deal." Buffy later visits Faith's room at Sunnydale Motor Inn to invite her to dinner, denying that it was Joyce's idea. Faith claims that she has plans, but Buffy leaves the offer open.
Angel's nightmares continue to haunt him, and he finally resorts to going to Giles for help. Wary of Angel and still bitter over Jenny's death, he keeps a loaded crossbow in hand while Angel questions why he's back on Earth. Their conversation is cut short when Angel sees Jenny and runs off. Giles turns around, trying to get a glimpse of what scared Angel off, but he doesn't see anything.
In another one of Angel's dreams, he attacks the maid Margaret at a Christmas party. As he finishes her off, he looks up to see Buffy. They both wake up, realizing that they just shared a dream. Buffy goes to Giles at the library, and they plan to research the force that has overtaken Angel. Xander offers to help, explaining that it's partly to make up for being such a bad friend to Buffy, partly to cure winter break boredom. Willow joins in and the gang research for hours with no results. Willow tells Buffy that she is trying to think of a way to let Oz know she's truly sorry, so Buffy suggests that she needs to let Oz know he comes before Xander.
Angel is still unable to sleep and encounters a vision of Jenny at the Crawford Street mansion. He tries to apologize, but she doesn't want to hear it; she just wants to make him suffer. He is visited by many of his victims, including Daniel and Margaret. Finally, Angel begs for it to stop. Jenny offers him comfort and tells him to rest. At the library, Buffy also falls asleep, joining Angel in his dream. This time, the two make love on Buffy's bed. Looking over his shoulder, Buffy notices a creature with its eyes sewn shut just before Angel vamps and bites her. They both wake up. Jenny tells Angel he needs to kill Buffy.
Giles has found out that the force taking over Angel is called the First Evil. It's very powerful and impossible to kill. However, the Harbingers of Death are creatures which Buffy can kill, hopefully putting an end to Angel's mental torment. Buffy and Xander visit Willy's Bar, where Willy tells them that all he knows is that the First may be underground. Oz arrives at Willow's house with videos from Big Lou's and finds she has a romantic night planned, including a provocative outfit, candles, music, and chilling champagne. In a roundabout way, she implies that she wants to make love with Oz. He tells her he's not ready to take their relationship that far, and that she doesn't need to prove herself to him. She's fine with his decision, and they kiss.
At home, Buffy and her mom are trimming the tree, and they both get a surprise when Faith shows up. Buffy goes upstairs to her room to find that Angel is there waiting for her. He fights the urge to kill Buffy. Jenny, unseen and unheard by Buffy, continues to goad him into killing her, so Angel jumps out the window. Buffy is worried, and she leaves Faith in charge of watching her mom while she goes to Giles for help. At the mansion, Jenny continues her quest: she tries to convince Angel that he must kill Buffy and, as long as he is alive, she will be at risk. With that, Angel resolves to commit suicide under the sunlight instead, which Jenny says wasn't the plan, but it would nevertheless be acceptable.
After some more research, Buffy discovers that nothing will grow above or below the priests' location, and she is reminded of the dead trees at the Christmas tree lot. Before she departs, Giles warns her that she may have to kill Angel again should he truly become dangerous. She goes to the lot, and in the middle of a circle of dead trees, she digs a hole right above the priests' hideout. She jumps down, tearing the place and the priests apart, and encounters the First in Jenny's form. They threaten each other, then Buffy runs off to the mansion to save Angel from killing himself.
She finds him atop Kingman's Bluff, the sun only minutes away from rising. He tells her that he loves her and wants her so much that he'd be willing to lose his soul just to be with her. Buffy insists for him to come inside, but he believes that he is evil and he has to die. They fight, hitting one another, and then, with tears in their eyes, say how much they love each other. Buffy gives him his last chance to prove how strong he really can be and to come in from the sun. She tells him that if he really doesn't have a place on Earth, he can burn. Suddenly, snow begins to fall. The once sunny, warm Sunnydale is now dark with a Christmas Day snowfall.
Willow, Oz, Giles, Faith, and Joyce all watch the snow outside their windows. Buffy and Angel walk hand in hand together through the snow, protected from the sunlight.
- Cordelia and Xander's relationship remains irreconcilable after the events from "Lovers Walk," while Oz and Willow get back together. They stay together until they break up for good in "Wild at Heart."
- When Cordelia mentions Xander's family's "drunken Christmas fights," this is another hint in the series of Xander's unhappy home life, first mentioned in "Inca Mummy Girl," which eventually culminates in the events from "Hell's Bells."
- Buffy tells Joyce that she and Faith aren't really talking since the event from "Revelations," when they fought each other and Faith rejected Buffy's attempt at friendship.
- Joyce quickly shoots down Buffy's suggestion that Giles join them for dinner, as she is still feeling awkward following their involvement in "Band Candy."
- Angel is reinvited into Giles' house; he would take advantage of this invitation only once more, in the episode "Pangs."
- Giles says that Buffy may have to kill Angel again, having first killed him in "Becoming, Part Two."
- The First's prediction "Sooner or later, you will drink her" ends up being accurate, since Angel drinks Buffy's blood in "Graduation Day, Part Two."
- The First is the only being that has taken credit for Angel's return from Acathla's dimension; although it's never confirmed. Other candidates are The Powers That Be or even the Senior Partners of Wolfram & Hart.
- Oz asks Willow if she's ever had the dream "where you're in a play, and you're right in the middle of it and you kinda don't know your lines and you kinda don't know the plot?" Willow has a similar dream, or rather nightmare, as seen the episode "Nightmares" (though it's an opera that she's in); it became a reality for her in the episode "The Puppet Show." Willow would have this nightmare again during the episode "Restless."
- Oz refusing to sleep with Willow in this episode recalls his declining her offer to make out in "Innocence."
- This is the second time Willow has offered her virginity to a boy and been turned down, the first whilst under magical influence in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered."
- After Angel jumps out of Buffy's bedroom window and Buffy prepares to search for him, Faith tells her to "watch [her] back," just as Kendra did before Buffy went to face Angel in "Becoming, Part One."
- The area where Angel attempts suicide is the same area where Willow will attempt to destroy the world in "Grave," at which time its name is finally revealed as Kingman's Bluff.
- Due to the snowfall, this is the first time that Angel walks around in the daytime as a vampire; followed by the eclipse in "Graduation Day, Part Two" and the use of the Gem of Amara in "In the Dark."
- Buffy and Angel officially renew their relationship, until Angel breaks up with her in "The Prom."
- Despite being in Aspen during the events of this episode, Cordelia acknowledges the freak Christmas snowfall in "The Price."
- The First Evil and the Harbingers of Death do not appear again until "Lessons," when it returns as the Big Bad of season 7. This first encounter allows Buffy to recognize them in the episode "Never Leave Me."
- Acathla (Only mentioned)
- Jennifer Calendar (Only in visions)
- Chalmers (Only mentioned)
- Cordelia Chase
- Daniel (Only in visions)
- First Evil
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Anthony Harris (Only mentioned)
- Jessica Harris (Only mentioned)
- Faith Lehane
- Margaret (Only in visions)
- Daniel Osbourne
- Ira Rosenberg (Only mentioned)
- Sheila Rosenberg (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Joyce Summers
- Lucious Temple (Only mentioned)
- Travis (Only in visions)
- Liam's father (Only mentioned)
- Liam's mother (Only mentioned)
- Weatherman (Only in television)
- Tree Seller Guy
Organizations and titlesEdit
- Hanukkah (Only mentioned)
- Acathla's dimension (Only mentioned)
- Aspen, USA (Only mentioned)
- Dublin, Ireland (Only in visions)
- London, England (Only in visions)
- Sunnydale, USA
- 1630 Revello Drive
- Big Lou's (Only mentioned)
- Crawford Street mansion
- Harris residence
- Kingman's Bluff
- Maple Court
- Rosenberg residence
- Rupert Giles's apartment
- Sunnydale High School
- Sunnydale Motor Inn
- Willy's Bar
- Ab Initio Ab Origine
- Angel's tattoo (Only in visions)
- Aura (Only mentioned)
- Black Chronicles
- Diary of Lucious Temple
- Soul (Only mentioned)
- Daniel, drained by Angelus (in flashbacks).
- Margaret, drained by Angelus (in flashbacks).
- Travis, drained by Angelus (only mentioned).
- Travis' sons, killed by Angelus (only mentioned).
Behind the scenesEdit
- The weatherman, Mark Kriski, is a real weatherman for KTLA's morning news, an affiliate of The WB in Los Angeles.
- There has been a lot of discussion about the "miraculous" Christmas snowfall that prevents the sun from rising and killing Angel. The official answer was made by Whedon himself, who declared that the snow may have been the work of The Powers That Be: "The snow [in Amends] was good... was it God? Well, I'm an atheist, but it's hard to ignore the idea of a 'Christmas miracle' here... The fact is, the Christian mythos has a powerful fascination to me, and it bleeds into my storytelling. Redemption, hope, purpose, Santa, these all are important to me, whether I believe in an afterlife or some universal structure or not. I certainly don't mind a strictly Christian interpretation being placed on this ep by those who believe that — I just hope it's not limited to that."
- "The guys with weird flesh over their eyes" in this episode, Whedon explains, represented "some sort of creepy, kind of Jacob's Ladder-y thing," adding that "a deformed human is scarier than a big reptile with fangs."
- This episode is the final appearance of Robia LaMorte, who plays the First Evil in the form of Jenny.
- A Buffy Christmas sweepstakes commercial aired a week before this episode, which also served as an advertisement for it.
- The Mutant Enemy monster in the end credits wears a Santa hat while bells are heard.
- Buffy's response to Joyce is a little longer in the original version:
- Joyce: "You know, honey, I was thinking — maybe we should invite Faith to spend Christmas Eve with us?"
- Buffy: "I'll ask her. Worst she can do is — well, the worst she can do is serious bodily harm, but she'll probably just say no."
Pop culture referencesEdit
- Buffy mentions "roast beast" in reference to the story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in which roast beast is a traditional Christmas dinner.
- Buffy compares a prophetic textbook with the Sun (1983–2012), a supermarket tabloid widely regarded as sensationalist.
- Giles' description of the Harbingers includes the words "They're rebels and they'll never, ever be any good," mocking the book's dramatic description by paraphrasing The Crystals' song "He's a Rebel."
- Maple Court has newspaper vending machines of USA Today.
- The sign outside the Sun Cinema announces the film Abilene (1996), to which Carey Meyer was also production designer.
- In Angel's dream that Buffy finds herself in, the background music is Pachelbel's Canon in D, a famous Baroque era piece (1700s). If the time period can be assumed the same as the man that he kills (Daniel, c. 1838) then Pachelbel's Canon would not have been circulating during this time, as apparently the music was lost until the 20th century.
- Barry White — "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe"
- Johann Pachelbel — "Canon in D Major"
- Christophe Beck — "Dreaming Of"
- Christophe Beck — "Dublin 1838"
- Christophe Beck — "Magic Snow Music"
- Armenian: "Մեղքերի թողություն" (Forgiveness of Sins)
- Czech: "Pokání" (Repentance)
- Finnish: "Hyvitys" (Compensation)
- French: "Le soleil de Noël" (The Christmas Sun)
- German: "Heimsuchungen" (Visitations)
- Hungarian: "Kárpótlás" (Compensation)
- Italian: "Espiazioni" (Amends)
- Japanese: "償い" (Atonement)
- Polish: "Gwiazdka Buffy Summers" (Buffy Summers Christmas)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Reparos" (Reparations)
- Romanian: "Împăcări" (Reconciliation)
- Russian: "Искупление" (Atonement)
- Spanish (Latin America): "Enmienda" (Amend)
- Spanish (Spain): "Desagravios" (Reparations)
- The episode script was included in The Script Book: Season Three, Volume 2.
- The original score "Magic Snow Music" was collected in the album The Score.
- This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Angel DVD.
Behind the scenesEdit
|Willow: "Do you think something's wrong? Maybe you should tell Giles."|
|Buffy: "No. I don't wanna bug Giles. He's still kinda twitchy when it comes to the subject of Angel."|
|Xander: "Well, it must be that whole Angel-killed-his-girlfriend-and-tortured-him thing. Hey, Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that."|
|Angel: "Um...I'm sorry to bother you."|
|Giles: [laughs] "Sorry. Coming from you that phrase strikes me as rather funny. Sorry to bother me."|
|Angel: "I need your help."|
|Giles: "And the funny keeps on coming."|
|The First: "You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl, I'm something that you can't even conceive, The First Evil, beyond sin, beyond death, I am the thing that darkness fears, you'll never see me but I am everywhere, in every being, every thought, every drop of hate."|
|Buffy: "Alright, I get it, you're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?"|
|Angel: "Look, I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man."|
|Buffy: "Strong is fighting. It's hard and it's painful and it's every day. It's what we have to do, and we can do it together, but if you're too much of a coward for that, then burn."|