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"Amends" is the tenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the forty-fourth episode in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it was 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.[1]


A man named Daniel runs down a Dublin street in 1838, afraid of something. He finally stops to rest in the entrance to an alley when 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. Although wary of Angel due to Jenny's death and the torture he suffered at his hands, Giles invites him into his apartment but only once he's got a a loaded crossbow pointed at him. Angel questions why he's back on Earth, since he should be suffering eternal torment in a hell dimension. Their conversation is cut short when Angel sees Jenny, and when it becomes clear Giles can't see her as well Angel runs off.

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 where Angel is concerned, 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, chilling champagne and Barry White songs playing. 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 events of "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 invited back into Giles's house; he will 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."
  • Oz asks Willow if she's ever had the dream "where you're in a play, and it's the middle of the play, and you really 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 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."



Organizations and titles[]



  • Christmas
  • Hanukkah (Only mentioned)



Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Daniel, blood drained by Angelus (in flashbacks).
  • Margaret, blood drained by Angelus (in flashbacks).

Behind the scenes[]


  • This episode's story follows the premise of the well-known Charles Dickens's novella A Christmas Carol (1843), in which an elderly miser is visited by a ghost and the three Christmas spirits to learn the error of his ways. This format will also be parodied in the tale "The Ghosts of Slayers Past."
  • The weatherman, Mark Kriski, is a real weatherman for KTLA's morning news, an affiliate of The WB in Los Angeles.
  • Joss Whedon explains the Harbingers of Death: "The guys with weird flesh over their eyes represent some sort of creepy, kind of Jacob's Ladder-y thing. A deformed human is scarier than a big reptile with fangs."[2]
  • On the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer posting board, Whedon declared that the snowfall 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."[3]
  • This episode is the final appearance of Robia LaMorte, who plays the First Evil in the form of Jenny.
  • The Mutant Enemy monster in the end credits wears a Santa hat while bells are heard.


  • "Amends" had an audience of 4.3 million households upon its original airing.[4]
  • The A Buffy Christmas sweepstakes commercial aired a week before this episode and also served as a promotion for it.

Deleted scenes[]

  • Buffy's answer about Faith is a little longer in the original version:[5]
    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 references[]

  • Buffy mentions "roast beast" in reference to the 1957 story How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, 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's 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.
  • The First Evil is not supposed to be able to touch anything (as will be clear in season 7), but it clearly touches Angel at his mansion.


International titles[]

  • 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)
  • Swedish: "Plikt" (Duty)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



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."
First Evil: "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."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on February 15, 2001.
  2. Christopher Golden, Stephen R. Bissette, and Thomas E. Sniegoski, The Monster Book. Simon Spotlight Entertainment, August 2000.
  3. "Good on Btvs/Ats." All Things Philosophical on Btvs and Ats. Retrieved on March 6, 2021.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Third Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008.
  5. Joss Whedon, The Script Book: Season Three, Volume 2. Simon & Schuster, September 2003.