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"As You Were" is the fifteenth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show and the 115th episode in the series. Written and directed by Douglas Petrie, it was originally broadcast on February 26, 2002, on the UPN network.


Consumed by professional and personal disappointment, Buffy is jolted from ennui by the reappearance of her old beau Riley, who needs her Slayer skills to track down a demon called the Doctor. He also has some startling news to share about his private life. Meanwhile, Anya and Xander struggle to finalize their wedding arrangements.[1]


Buffy is at work, cleaning the grill with her coworker Todd, who talks non-stop about college and then leaves Buffy to finish cleaning alone. On the way home from work, Buffy runs into a vampire, but once he finds out that Buffy was working at Doublemeat Palace and smells like it, he tries to escape and instead is staked by an offended Slayer. Finally home, Buffy finds Spike waiting in front of her house. She knows what he's there for, but with Dawn waiting inside, she refuses to let him follow her into the house. Instead, he persuades her to stay outside with him and they drop to the grass together.

Later, Buffy apologetically presents the not-so-appealing bag of Doublemeat Palace food to Dawn for their dinner. Dawn is trying to explain nicely that she can't stand another meal from the fast food place when Willow arrives to take Dawn to the Bronze. Willow notices Buffy's rough appearance and grass stains on the back of her outfit, but Buffy blames it on work and a battle with a vampire. Tired and a bit depressed, Buffy allows her sister to go, but doesn't join them. At the Bronze, Anya and Xander snack on chips while agonizing over the seating arrangements for the wedding reception and other jobs that need completing before the big event. Dawn and Willow sit and have drinks while discussing Xander and Anya's wedding and Willow's newly changed relationship with Tara. Although the two are far from getting back together, there's an open door on communication. Meanwhile, at home, Buffy works to remove the grass stains from her coat.

The next morning, Buffy wakes up amidst her unfolded laundry to the sound of the garbage truck. She rushes to get the garbage outside in time, but the truck drives away. Dawn prepares to leave for school as Buffy returns inside and finds a letter from UC Sunnydale waiting for her. As her sister leaves, Buffy reads the letter from the assistant dean and finds that her application for re-admission has been rejected because she missed the deadline. At work, Buffy tends to the grill like a depressed robot with life offering her little more than her fast food job. Todd decides to send Buffy up to the counter while he prepares the food. The first person in line though is not someone she expected to see: Riley.

Buffy leaves her position to help Riley. They battle but lose track of the monster on the streets of Sunnydale. Riley and Buffy pursue in his car. They talk of catching up as she changes into more appropriate clothing Riley had brought along. A brief interlude show Xander and Anya having a spat while sitting in traffic. At a dam, Riley and Buffy have further battles and lose the demon yet again. Buffy meets Riley's wife.

Sam, as Riley later introduces as her, quickly jumps into a fight with the Suvolte demon. Buffy recovers from the shock of Riley being married and Riley starts to catch her up on his life since he left as they watch Sam deliver quite a beating to the demon. The demon strikes Sam and Riley rushes to help her as Buffy approaches the demon from behind and snaps its neck. Riley's shocked that she killed it and Buffy soon finds out from Sam that they weren't trying to kill it. Improvising, Sam takes a knife from Riley and cuts into the demon's gut as Buffy watches on, still confused. Sam observes that they're too late and the three head for Buffy's home where it should be safe. Riley mentions that Sam's good cutting skills are because she's a doctor and promises Buffy that he'll take the time to fill her in on everything.

At the house, almost everyone greets Riley with open arms — though Dawn is cool with him because of the way he left the last time. Privately, Willow offers to hate the new wife for Buffy but Buffy, who is unable to really hate her herself, doesn't want to be petty. Sam and Riley begin to describe the gory details of the demon and the mission and although Riley's concerned about Dawn hearing about it, Sam sticks up for the teen and she gets to stay with the "grown-ups." Sam explains that the deadly Suvolte demon multiplies quickly and can destroy towns full of people in no time at all and has come to Sunnydale to lay a nest full of its offspring. A demonic dealer in Sunnydale by the name of the "Doctor" is suspected of holding the eggs in exchange for money. The topic of Willow doing magic to help is raised, but Willow explains that she cannot.

Riley directs Sam and Buffy to search for the nest while he investigates the dealer. In the kitchen, Sam tells Willow about a couple of shamans she knew that got addicted to magic and literally didn't survive it. She's amazed that Willow is strong enough to beat the addiction and Willow says nothing, but really takes the words in. Buffy and Sam patrol and talk about Buffy's honorable reputation as the Slayer and of course, Riley. Sam explains how she met Riley for the first time and how much Buffy mattered to him for so long. Sam questions whether Buffy regrets losing Riley and although Buffy does a little, she certainly wouldn't try to change things now. After Sam tells Buffy that Riley did get over her — after a year — she brings up the subject of Buffy's current love life and the Slayer dodges that subject.

Buffy suggests they split up and as Sam heads off to find Riley, Buffy aims directly for Spike's crypt. Upon arrival, she questions his knowledge about the Doctor, but when he has no immediate answers, she changes the subject to his feelings for her and eventually pulls him to her for some physical comfort. Later that evening, Buffy and Spike sleep under a blanket together and Spike wakes to find Riley has walked in on them. The vampire takes the opportunity to emphasize his having Buffy with him. Riley pretends not to care although he clearly does; he identifies Spike as the Doctor and demands to know where the eggs are.

Spike denies knowing anything about the code name "Doctor" or the whereabouts of the eggs, but Riley is confident with his information and starts to tear the place apart. Buffy is unable to believe that Spike could be involved, but as she and Riley go to the bottom level of the crypt and find the eggs everywhere, Spike's cover is blown. Spike attempts to explain he's holding the eggs for a friend but Buffy hits him and demands he stop playing games. Spike replies in anger that Buffy constantly plays games with him and though she knows he is evil, she continues their affair. They exchange harsh words and as Spike leaves, the eggs begin to hatch. Little demons crawl out and begin to attack Buffy and Riley. The two escape and Buffy throws a live grenade down where the demons are, effectively destroying them and much of Spike's underground lair.

With family and friends causing mayhem in the apartment, Anya and Xander huddle together in the bathroom. Anya's bugged by the fact that Xander's so interested in Riley and Sam's marriage. Xander reassures her that while he's scared of the wedding, he's confident that the marriage will be great and last forever. Buffy and Riley talk privately and Riley asks her if she wants the "Doctor" to be taken out. Verbally admitting to her involvement with the vampire, Buffy denies his offer and accepts the fact that her life sucks and her ex-boyfriend is there to see it. Riley though tells her that struggling with life like a human being doesn't make her any less of a woman. Buffy tries to apologize for what happened when he left, and again Riley acts stoic, hiding his feelings.

The whole gang gathers to say goodbye to Sam and Riley. While Riley explains to Xander where and how his brief and unromantic wedding took place, Sam and Willow confirm that they have each other's e-mail addresses for future contact (although Willow still calls Sam a "bitch" for Buffy's benefit). A helicopter arrives and carries the married couple off into the night. The next day, Buffy finds Spike at his crypt and although she doesn't care about his being the Doctor, she brings with her news he does not want to hear. Buffy tells Spike that although she has feelings for him, she can never love him; it would be wrong to keep using him the way she is, so it is over. Spike thinks that this is her usual routine of playing hard to get, but Buffy is serious and walks out with a final goodbye.


  • Xander and Anya are preparing for their wedding in the following week, which appears in the next episode, "Hell's Bells."
  • Willow talks with Dawn about seeing Tara at the upcoming wedding and their relationship progressing, which will indeed happen in "Hell's Bells." The couple broke up in "Tabula Rasa" and will be reunited in "Entropy."
  • Buffy receives a rejection letter from UC Sunnydale, having failed to reapply in time. She also missed the deadline to reapply last semester in "Life Serial" due to her own death ("The Gift"–"Bargaining, Part One"). This is Buffy's final attempt at continuing college in the series. She began in "The Freshman," moved out of her dorm to take care of her mother in "Family," and took the rest of the semester off in "Intervention."
  • Riley returns to Sunnydale, having suddenly left town to join the demon hunting military organization in "Into the Woods."
  • Buffy laughs at seeing that Riley still carries the pheromone tracer she saw him using also at Maple Court in "Doomed."
  • Buffy explains Riley that she's "been dealing with some geeks lately," having met the Trio in the episode "Gone."
  • With the Suvolte demon appearing in public, Riley announces it as a bear, covering a supernatural occurrence like the "gang on PCP" in "School Hard," "a gas leak" in "Bad Eggs" and a "sewer back up" in "I Only Have Eyes for You."
  • Catching up with Riley, Buffy says she's going to "win" because he didn't die, referring to him having missed when she died in "The Gift."
  • Riley tells Buffy he loves her hair, in reference to her recent short haircut in "Gone." Anya and Willow called it adorable at the time, while Andrew will confess he liked it in Predators and Prey.
  • Buffy says "sometimes you can't leave" her house, referring to her guests being unable to escape it during her latest birthday party ("Older and Far Away").
  • In the second night, Willow wears the same sweater that Dawn will wear to school in "Lessons."
  • Sam asks Willow to perform a locator spell; her first attempt was sabotaged in "Goodbye Iowa," but she'll be able to cast again in "Same Time, Same Place."
  • Spike tells Riley that Buffy "just needs a little monster in her, man," a recall to what he told Riley in "Into the Woods": "The girl needs some monster in her man, and that's not in your nature."
  • In reference to a machine gun, Buffy declares: "These things, never useful." In "Flooded," she told a police officer about his pistol: "These things, never helpful." Buffy will reinforce her distaste as well when she says "I'm really not a fan of guns" (Predators and Prey), that "Slayers don't use guns" (Retreat, Part Two), and "I don't like [guns]. They keep killing my friends." (Twilight, Part One).
  • Buffy calls Spike "William" when she breaks up with him, which she first did so in "No Place Like Home" and will again in Disempowered.
  • Buffy ends her relationship with Spike, having began their sexual encounters in "Smashed." They will give themselves a second chance years later, in Love Dares You, Part Three.
  • Spike mentions that the last time he saw Riley he was "getting the juice sucked out of him by some undead ladies." Riley started getting his blood sucked by vampires in "Shadow" and was caught by Spike in "Into the Woods."
  • This is Riley's last appearance in the live-action series. He would appear again in print, a couple of years later, in "Time of Your Life, Part Four".



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • An unidentified vampire, staked by Buffy.
  • The Suvolte demon, neck snapped by Buffy.
  • One Suvolte baby, staked by Riley.
  • Nine Suvolte babies, exploded with a live grenade by Buffy.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Todd mentions a restaurant called Burger World, which has the same name as where the title characters of Beavis and Butt-Head animated series work.
  • Alice Dinnean, the puppeteer who operates the baby demons, also operated the Ancient Mummy Hand in the episode "Life Serial" and the Angel puppet in "Smile Time."
  • On the widescreen version, during the initial demon chase, a green bar is visible across the left-hand side of the screen, presumably where the screen is cut off for the fullscreen version.
  • The dam featured in this episode is the real Pacoima Dam, in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County.
  • This episode marks Marc Blucas's final appearance in the show.
  • During this episode's shooting, Richard Blackwood went on location for the "Blackwood Meets Buffy" featurette. He was alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar and "portrayed" Buffy on the legend dialogue she has with Sam (Ivana Milicevic). In the interview, Gellar mentions her initial fear of graveyards and discuss about "Once More, with Feeling" and her upcoming Scooby-Doo film.


  • "As You Were" had an audience of 3.1 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This interaction when the demon appears in Maple Court was cut, but the "lady" was still credited:[3]
    Riley: "National Forestry Service! We got a wild bear! Everybody step back!"
    The crowd obeys immediately, getting out of the way, clearing room. One LADY looks at Buffy's uniform, quizzically.
    Buffy: "Uh... I'm with him."
  • At the Bronze, Dawn would meet some "cute guy":[3]
    Willow: "Don't move. Don't look. Just letting you know — cute guy, checking you out."
    Dawn: "Headed this way?"
    A cute guy, maybe sixteen, walks up to Dawn.
    Taylor: "Hi. You're Dawn, right? Taylor. We have bio together..."
    Dawn: "You sit in the back and don't talk much but draw cartoons and sometimes wear these really cool cowboy boots." (beat) "Not that I noticed."
    Taylor: "Do you... want to dance?"
    Dawn: (casual) "Sure. I could do that."

Pop culture references[]

  • Talking about political structure, Todd mentions Niccolò Machiavelli, considered the father of modern political philosophy.
  • Dawn gives Willow an Arnold Palmer, a beverage that combines iced tea and lemonade, named after the golfer Arnold Palmer.
  • Todd discusses the concept of zeitgeist, an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history.
  • Todd mentions president Lyndon B. Johnson and his successor Richard Nixon.
  • Spike reads the novel Of Human Bondage (1915), the same volume Ed left in his dorm in "The Freshman."
  • Buffy compares the Suvolte demon's breeder nature with the tribble creatures from Star Trek, who had the ability to multiply at an alarming rate.
  • Buffy laughs that Riley still carries around James Bond type equipment.
  • Xander calls Riley and Sam "Nick and Nora Fury," a double reference to the Marvel Comics character Nick Fury and husband-and-wife detectives Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man film series.
  • Anya compares planning her marriage as staging the invasion of Normandy, in reference to the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.
  • Sam compares Buffy's legendary status with Santa Claus and Gautama Buddha.
  • Spike's vinyl collection includes the country gospel album The Katter Family Sings and the soundtrack for the musical The Wiz (1978).
  • Riley references "bug hunts," a term used in the Aliens film.


  • Buffy's rejection letter for UCSD shows her address as "1630 Crestview." However, it's explicitly identified as Revello Drive in episodes "Angel," "The Body," and "Dirty Girls."
  • During the scene at the bottom of the dam, Sam says, "we better regroup." In the widescreen DVD version of this episode, she is visible on the right side of the screen and her lips are not moving.
  • When Buffy shoots at a vinyl collection in Spike's crypt, the front cover changes as soon as the shot zooms in.
  • As Riley and Buffy walk from the Magic Box, the camera tracks become visible in the bottom left corner of the screen.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Ինչպես են գործերտ?" (How Are You?)
  • Czech: "Pohov, rozchod" (At Ease, Track)
  • Finnish: "Rakkaita muistoja" (Dear Memories)
  • French: "La roue tourne" (The Wheel Keeps Spinning)
  • German: "Überraschender Besuch" (Surprise Visit)
  • Hungarian: "Csakugyan" (Indeed)
  • Italian: "Difficile da dimenticare" (Hard to Forget)
  • Japanese: "君のままで" (Just Like You)
  • Polish: "Powrót do przeszłości" (Back to the Past)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Última Forma" (Last Form)
  • Romanian: "Să trăiți!" (Live!)
  • Russian: "Как твои дела?" (How Are You?)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Descanso, Soldado" (Rest, Soldier)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Tal como eras" (As You Were)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Riley: "I hear you. Got some big stories to tell you, too. If we get half a second."
Buffy: "Did you die?"
Riley: "No."
Buffy: "I'm gonna win."
Buffy: "Nice wheels."
Riley: "Came with the car."
Sam: "Buffy, I'd hate to impose further... but... you got a safe house?"
Buffy: "I have a house. I think it's safe. Sometimes you can't even leave."
Sam: "Thanks for letting me tag along."
Buffy: "No problem."
Sam: "Maybe not for you. I gotta tell you, Buffy, I'm a little bit intimidated. I mean, patrolling with the real live Slayer, you're like... Santa Claus, or Buddha, or something."
Buffy: "Fat and jolly?"
Sam: "Legendary. And it's not just slayer status I'm talking about. It's you."
Riley: "So you're not in the greatest place right now. And maybe I made it worse."
Buffy: "No."
Riley: "The wheel never stops turning, Buffy. You're up, you're down... Doesn't change what you are. And you are a hell of a woman."


  1. "Buffy Season 6." Craig's BuffyVERSE 4ever. Retrieved on May 10, 2020.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Sixth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "As You Were." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on January 16, 2019.