"Bargaining, Part One" is the season premiere of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred first in the series. Written by Marti Noxon and directed by David Grossman, it originally broadcast on October 2, 2001 on UPN.
Buffy's friends try to cope with Buffy's death and are left to defend Sunnydale without her. Meanwhile a gang of marauding demons threaten to jeopardize their plan to bring the slayer back from the dead. To complicate matters, Giles contemplates leaving Sunnydale to come to terms with the loss.
The Scoobies patrol in the absence of the Slayer, who has been dead for five months. Willow and her growing powers lead the efforts and the gang with telepathy and other magic from a perch on top of a crypt. The gang are helped by the Buffybot, who helps the group slay several vampires — and helps keep Buffy's death a secret from both the regular and the supernatural world. Willow has tried to make the robot behave more normally, but her tuning never really goes quite as planned. Although the Buffybot is doing its job fine, it also serves as a painful reminder of the friend they've lost.
The next morning, Willow and Tara — who have moved into Buffy's house and are secretly acting as Dawn's guardians— prepare for the day, getting Dawn ready for school as Dawn prepares to take a phone call from her father who they are also trying to keep Buffy's death a secret from. At one point, the Buffybot, acting on its programming, hugs Dawn creating an awkward and uncomfortable moment, knowing that the robot is a pale imitation of the real Buffy. The Buffybot is sent to attend Parent's Day at Dawn's school. She behaves oddly, but the other parents hear her comments in Ms. Lefcourt's class as expressing concerns similar to their own and the Buffybot doesn't draw any suspicion. At the Magic Box, Giles and Anya are going over paperwork; however, Anya is angry at Giles, since he has announced his intention to return to England and leave her in charge of the store, but has yet to go through with it leading to an argument. Xander arrives, and defuses the situation before taking Anya aside, as she admits that she wants to announce their engagement to the gang, but Xander doesn't want to go through with it while everything is still 'up in the air' in regards to the issue that they're discussing with Willow and Tara that evening.
That night, Spike stays with Dawn while the rest of the gang have a meeting. Dawn suggests that Spike can leave, but he steadfastly refuses, still feeling guilty that his failure to protect Dawn lead to Buffy's death. The two then start a card game. The Buffybot hunts a vampire but gets hit with a bottle and her motion skills are impaired. The vampire realizes the Slayer is a robot and quickly leaves.
Anya has found — on eBay of all places — the last Urn of Osiris. Willow's pleased and announces their plans to bring back Buffy the next night. Xander, Anya and Tara are all feeling unsure that bringing Buffy back to life is the right thing to do, as something could go wrong. Willow insists, however, and stresses that Giles, Spike, and Dawn cannot know, and that because Buffy was killed by mystical energy, they have a chance of bringing her back. She then tells the others of her worry that Buffy is suffering eternal torment in a hell dimension like Angel did and refuses to leave her there, and this makes them promise their support.
Willow returns home to find Spike keeping a wounded Buffybot out of trouble, the Buffybot having been programmed to return to Willow if damaged. Spike angrily leaves when the Buffybot innocently compliments him on his physique — a programming remnant from her sexbot days — and Buffybot confides in Willow about Spike's constant shame in her presence. Without her real sister, Dawn tries to find comfort from the Buffybot but doesn't get much. The next day, Giles engages the Buffybot in training to make sure she's ok after being damaged. He also attempts to get her to practice her breathing and to release her 'chi', but Anya points out that teaching this to a robot is pointless. Giles realizes he's trying to teach the Buffybot as if she were human, and the Buffybot responds that 'every Slayer needs her Watcher'. Giles notes that, like any good Watcher, he got his slayer killed in the line of duty and that all slayer-watcher relationships end the same way, and now his job is done. The Buffybot innocently asks why Giles is still there, and Giles finds himself unable to come up with a reason.
At a demon biker bar, the vampire that hit the Buffybot with a bottle brags about it to several Hellions — a gang of biker demons. Although the Hellions are uninterested at first as the vampire embellishes the story, he gets them interested when he mentions that the slayer is a robot. The leader of the Hellions, Razor, decides that the gang is going to head to and trash Sunnydale. The vampire suggests that he be allowed to join as thanks for passing on the information, only for Razor to behead him with his bare hands before the gang departs.
In a forest glade, Willow invokes Adonai during a summoning spell and a baby deer approaches her. She suddenly stabs it in the throat, collecting its blood for the resurrecting spell. She returns to the Magic Box, claiming she got the Vino de Madre from the black market.
The gang finds a note from Giles, stating that he's already left and isn't one for goodbyes. Not about to accept a silent escape, the Scooby Gang tracks him down at Sunnydale Airport and he gets a proper farewell with presents, signs, balloons, and tears. After Giles departs, Willow, Xander, Anya and Tara return home for final preparations and then head to the cemetery. They prepare the ritual, sitting around Buffy's grave and Willow begins the spell. While performing the spell, Willow's skin is cut by invisible blades, large insects appear to crawl underneath her skin, and a large snake is produced from her mouth, but Tara insists that they can't stop.
Meanwhile, Spike is watching Dawn when the demon bikers arrive ready to tear Sunnydale apart. Spike recognizes the Hellions and knows they would never have come to Sunnydale if they didn't think it was vulnerable, meaning they know that there's no Slayer. Buffybot comes across the gang and tries to stop them but the leader, Razor, wounds her and she runs away to find Willow. The bikers following her reach the cemetery and interrupt Willow's spell by breaking the Urn of Osiris and scattering the gang's circle. One of the bikers tries to take Anya away, but Tara uses magic to get her back. Xander tells Willow that the spell didn't work, and the two continue to run.
Beneath the ground, however, mystical energy surrounds Buffy's decaying body which then fully restores it and returns the confused and frightened Slayer to life inside her coffin.
- Willow and Tara have moved in to the Summers' residence since Buffy's death. Tara will move out in "Tabula Rasa", and Willow will continue living there until its destruction ("Chosen").
- Willow recalls Angel being sent to Acathla's dimension, where he was in episode "Becoming, Part Two" to "Faith, Hope & Trick".
- Giles leaves Sunnydale to England, as he had intended in "Buffy vs. Dracula" before Buffy asked for his help as her Watcher. He'll then return after he's informed on her resurrection, in "Flooded".
- Dawn describes herself as not being or at least not having the proprieties of the Key anymore. In "Storyteller", Andrew will say that "Dawn used to be a key." However, her identity as the Key remains, as she begins exploring in In Pieces on the Ground, Part Five.
- Spike's protective stance over Dawn is a reflection to his inability to fulfill his promise to protect her in "The Gift".
- The Buffybot glitches and praises Spike as she was originally programmed, as seen in "Intervention".
- The Scooby Gang perform a spell to raise Buffy from the dead, a decision which will have consequences for Buffy and her friends throughout the season, and eventually allow the First Evil to exploit the vulnerability in the Slayer line in season 7.
- Adonai (Only mentioned)
- Mr. Davis
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Anya Jenkins
- Tara Maclay
- Osiris (Only mentioned)
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Dawn Summers
- Hank Summers (Only mentioned)
- Desert Gnome (Only mentioned)
- Shempy vampire
Organizations and titles
- Acathla's dimension (Only mentioned)
- England (Only mentioned)
- London (Only mentioned)
- Los Angeles, USA (Only mentioned)
- Sunnydale, USA
- England (Only mentioned)
Weapons and objects
Rituals and spells
- One vampire, burned by Spike.
- One vampire, dusted by the Buffybot.
- One vampire, beheaded by Razor.
- One fawn, stabbed by Willow.
Behind the scenes
- Anthony Stewart Head has been removed from the opening titles and is now credited as a "Special Guest Star". Alyson Hannigan has taken his place in the opening titles and is now credited as "And Alyson Hannigan as Willow".
- During the new opening credits, when Michelle Trachtenberg's credits roll, the clip of her from "Spiral" is flipped.
- The front of Long Beach International Airport was used for the establishing shot for Sunnydale Airport.
- Tara gave Giles a small rubber monster and says, "Grrr. Argghh.", a reference the end-of-credits logo for Mutant Enemy Productions.
- Originally the scene with Willow killing the deer had a pan up her very bloody dress, but most of that pan was removed before the episode aired.
- Alyson Hannigan, who is an animal lover, found the scene where Willow kills the deer difficult to film and was very upset about it.
- One of the Hellions was to be called Pike but this was changed to avoid confusion with Pike from the 1992 film.
- We see Willow wearing a shirt with a number on it (11) and then Xander comes in wearing what looks like a football jersey with a number on it. Later when the gang is saying goodbye to Giles, Dawn is wearing a shirt with "07" on it. The crew got many letters asking what the numbers were supposed to mean, but there was no connection. Executive Producer Marti Noxon said that this was completely unintentional and was just a wardrobe coincidence.
- The show had run on The WB for the previous five seasons. This episode marks Buffy's debut on UPN, which will air the final two seasons of the television series.
- Buffy's move from WB to UPN was marked with a major advertising campaign proclaiming "Buffy's Back". A series of commercials were produced featuring original scenes of the main characters discussing their lives without Buffy.
- The 2-hour season premiere of "Bargaining Parts 1 & 2" on UPN attracted 7.7 million viewers, the second-highest viewership the show has ever received, behind only "Innocence".
- When put into syndication, some parts of this episode have been edited out. Specifically, Willow's sacrifice of the doe to garner the blood necessary for her ritual, is cut out; however, it is included in the episode aired on SPIKE TV and Sky One.
- On Netflix, there is a cutout scene where the Buffybot sees someone playing with two towers and a plane, this is most likely because of 9/11 even though the episode was filmed beforehand.
Pop culture references
- The Sun Cinema is showing Dude, Where's My Car?.
- The geeky vampire who attacked the Buffybot, wore a Hanson T-shirt.
- Xander mentions having seen 1978 film The Fury after Willow keeps communicating with him telepathically.
- Anya tells the gang she got the Urn of Osiris on eBay along with a limited edition Backstreet Boys lunchbox.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- During Giles' training session with the Buffybot, after Anya enters the room, a microphone pole is briefly visible in the upper right corner of the screen.
- When Willow is first seen on top of a tomb in the graveyard, lighting flags are visible in the corner of the screen.
- In the scene where Willow is about to kill the fawn, the pet carrier gate is visible when the fawn comes out behind the bushes.
- When the Hellions crash the resurrection of Buffy, Xander tells Anya and Tara to go, as he grabs Willow. Anya and Tara are seen running off, then the camera cuts to Xander pulling Willow away from the motorcycles, you see Anya and Tara still standing there being circled by the Hellions.
- Armenian: "Պայման (Մաս 1-ին)" (Condition (Part 1))
- Czech: "Návrat mezi živé (1. část)" (Return to the Living (Part 1))
- Finnish: "Paluu, osa yksi" (Return, Part One)
- French: "Chaos, Partie 1" (Chaos, Part 1)
- German: "Die Auferstehung — Teil 1" (The Resurrection — Part 1)
- Hungarian: "Alkudozás, 1. rész" (Bargaining, Part 1)
- Italian: "Il Rito — 1ª Parte" (The Ritual — 1st Part)
- Japanese: "取引 Part1" (Transaction Part 1)
- Polish: "Na granicy światów — Część 1" (On the Border of Worlds — Part 1)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Barganha — Parte 1" (Bargain — Part 1)
- Romanian: "Negocierea (Part 1)" (Negotiation (Part 1))
- Russian: "Сделка (Часть 1)" (Bargain (Part 1))
- Spanish (Latin America): "Haciendo Tratos Parte 1" (Making Deals Part 1)
- Spanish (Spain): "Negociación (I)" (Negotiation (I))
Behind the scenes
|Giles - "You might have let me in on your plan while he throttled me."|
|Spike - "Oh, poor Watcher. Did your life pass before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea."|
|Buffybot - "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, Bingo."|
|Giles - "We just can't have her messing up in front of the wrong person. Or the wrong thing. We, we need the, the world and the underworld to believe that Buffy is alive and well."|
|Willow - "And I will therefore fix it. I got her head back on, didn't I? And I got her off those knock-knock jokes."|
|Buffybot - "Ooh, who's there?"|
|Xander - "You know, if we want her to be exactly..."|
|Spike - "She'll never be exactly."|
|Xander - "I know."|
|Tara - "The only really real Buffy is really Buffy."|
|Giles - "And she's gone."|
|Buffybot - "'If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?"|
|Xander - "Excuse me? Who made you the boss of the group?"|
|Anya - "You did."|
|Tara - "You said Willow should be boss."|
|Anya - "And then you said 'let's vote', and it was unanimous..."|
|Tara - "And then you made her this little plaque, that said 'Boss of Us, you put little sparkles on it"|