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"Doomed" is the eleventh episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the sixty-seventh episode in the series. It was written by Marti Noxon, David Fury, and Jane Espenson, and directed by James A. Contner. It was originally broadcast on January 18, 2000 on The WB network.


WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE — While Buffy and Riley grapple to come to terms with what they now know about each other, the reopening of the Sunnydale Hellmouth sends Buffy and the gang back to high school to prevent impending apocalypse. Meanwhile, Spike has lost all will to live without the ability to kill, but he grows heartened by the approaching end of the world.[1]


Buffy and Riley finally talk. As much as Riley wants to tell Buffy who he really is, he can't, but Buffy is able to guess based on the evidence of the past several weeks. Riley is amazed by her talents and abilities, but when she confesses that she's the Slayer, he doesn't know what that is. An earthquake hits; though mild, the memory of the last earthquake in Sunnydale, a portent of her death, disturbs Buffy.

As Xander cleans up some of the earthquake damage, he informs Spike that if he's going to live there, he'll have to do some of the housework. Spike gets angry and tries to hit Xander over the head with a wrench while his back is turned, but has to stop due to the pain in his head caused by the chip. Willow checks in with Buffy and informs her of the aftershock party that is taking place in one of the dorm buildings that lost power. Buffy goes to Giles, fearing that the world is going to come to an end, but he dismisses her ideas telling her that earthquakes are a normal Southern California occurrence. He then changes the subject to tracking down the commandos, telling Buffy that based on their information it seems that the base is below UC Sunnydale and that other students may be involved. Buffy gets very uncomfortable with the topic and tries to discuss the earthquake more, but Giles once again shrugs off her concerns.

Riley pumps Forrest for information on the Slayer, which Forrest thinks is just a myth that monsters made up. In fact, the demons themselves are explained away as being simple animals. A demon goes berserk and attacks Riley and Forrest. They manage to subdue it and wonder at the strange activity their demonic captives have been exhibiting since the earthquake.

At the party, Willow sees Percy, whom she tutored in high school. The girl he is with, Laurie, has a problem with Willow talking to Percy and suggests that they go somewhere else. Meanwhile, a guy mixing drinks in one of the dorm rooms has his throat slit by a large demon. Later, Willow overhears a conversation between Percy and Laurie where Percy calls Willow "captain of the nerd squad" to soothe his girl. Depressed, Willow goes into one of the dorm rooms to lie on a bed, but when the lights come back on, she finds herself next to the body that was mutilated by the demon, who has carved onto the dead boy's chest a pyramid with an eye in the center.

Xander finds Spike wearing Xander's Hawaiian shirt and shorts because he shrunk his own clothes. When Spike tries to get temperamental, Xander quickly loses his temper and tears Spike down verbally, harshly telling him that no one is scared of him anymore and that he's not even worth the effort to pummel, before simply walking away. Riley shoots baskets with Forrest and broods about Buffy when Graham walks in and tells them about the murder. Riley orders the others to report to Professor Walsh, while he checks the situation out himself.

Willow fills everyone in about the body she found, and about Percy talking bad about her. After she shows everyone the symbol carved into the student's chest, Giles says it is definitely the end of the world again. Buffy ponders, mentioning that she knows the symbol from somewhere but she just can't remember where. When she goes to hunt down the demon, she sees the symbol on a crypt. Inside, the demon its collecting the bones of a small child. She fights with the demon, but it escapes and she runs into Riley. He tries to talk to her, to convince her to give a relationship between them a chance, but because of all the pain in her past, and the problems she's certain it would cause, she tells him no. She explains the fact that she went to high school on top of a Hellmouth for three years and he has no idea what he's doing, so he'll, more than likely, just end up dead. He tries to convince her that he past relationships weren't with him, and it'll be different because of that fact, but she still says she can't be in another doomed relationship.

Research leads the Scoobies to find that the demon needs the blood of a man, the bones of a child, and the Word of Valios to perform a ritual called the Sacrifice of Three, which will destroy the world. Willow and Xander head out to go to the museum to see if they can find the Word but Xander says he needs to stop by his place to pick up his weapons. Riley talks to his team, (who have very little information compared to the amount the Scoobies do) and sends them out to find and kill the demon. However, they do have one thing that the Scoobies don't, they are able to track the demons pheromones.

Fed up with his pathetic life, Spike tries to kill himself by falling on a stake, but the table he has it on isn't strong enough to support impaling him. When Willow and Xander walk in, Spike falls, destroys the table and completely misses the stake. Xander tells Spike that he should've just asked him to stake him, because he's more than happy to help him out. When Willow grabs the stake away from Xander, Spike appeals to her by pointing out the fact that he's not even scary anymore. However, Willow isn't swayed saying they know him now and it wouldn't be right. After getting his weapons, Xander tells Spike if he does any more damage he'll be sleeping in the garage. Pitying him, Willow insists that they take him along. Spike tries to get them to leave without him by insincerely promising Willow he won't hurt himself, but Willow insists he come. Xander reluctantly agrees, if only to keep Spike from trashing his room any further. Xander tells him to look on the bright side because if they can't find what they're looking for, then Spike can die when the apocalypse happens. Spike is ecstatic, asking "Really? You're not just saying that?"

Out on patrol, Buffy runs into Riley again and Riley resumes their earlier conversation. He tells Buffy that she needs to be more positive, to not look for the bad in the situation. He says he doesn't care about her past and begs her to just take a chance on him, but she continues to refuse, saying she just can't be in another doomed relationship. When a few people walk by, Riley starts using a euphemism, calling both of them a "fry cook" and saying it makes sense for them to be together. She points out to him there's a big difference because he's an amateur "fry cook" and she comes from a long line of "fry cooks" that tend to die before they reach the age of twenty-five. Riley says that he knows the risks of what they do and he still wants to take a chance with them because the work they do is rewarding and even fun. Buffy tells him that the last person she knew that thought it was fun is in a coma because of the job. Riley says that he knows part of her reluctance is because of someone in her past, and Buffy just tells him to leave her alone.

Meanwhile, at the library, Willow and Xander search for the Word of Valios, while an unappreciative Spike cheers himself up by verbally tearing them down. He taunts them over Xander's lack of direction in his life and Willow's inability to get Oz to stay, as well as their seeming uselessness to Buffy. Spike says that they are merely slayer "groupies" whom Buffy doesn't have the heart to turn away. He also points out that Buffy would be a much better Slayer without constantly having to watch out for them. Though Willow and Xander protest his words as being untrue and claim he's just saying this stuff to make them stake him. Spike tells them that he's not saying this stuff to him to get them to stake him. It's simply because he doesn't want sympathy from two people he thinks are more useless than him. He turns, grins and walks away, leaving Xander and Willow standing behind him, where it's clear from their faces that Spike has struck a nerve.

Giles, going through his books, comes across an illustration of the Word of Valios and sees that it is actually a talisman, and more importantly he realizes that he actually has it. After fishing it out of his weapons trunk, he grabs his coat and is about to leave when the demons suddenly appear in his living room. Although Giles tries to fight them off, he is outnumbered and they beat him up fairly badly before taking the talisman. The gang find Giles who says he had the talisman there because he bought at a sorcerers estate sale and thought it was a knock off. Giles sends them off to the high school after he informs them that the ritual is to open the Hellmouth.

The gang head back to Sunnydale High School, now nothing more than a burnt-out shell. Buffy tells them to be careful and Spike says he'd be happy if they all just fell in and got swallowed up. When Buffy asks why Spike is even there, Willow explains that he'll stake himself if they leave him alone. Buffy asks why that's a problem, then says never mind. After walking through the black corridors (and stepping around piles of charred "Mayor meat"), the gang makes it to the crater that used to be the library where three demons are performing the ritual. A fight breaks out, and Xander runs to grab the blood whilst Willow gets the bag with the child bones in it. The first demon grabs the blood back from Xander and then throws himself into the Hellmouth, revealing that the demons themselves are the sacrifice for the ritual. Willow throws the bag of bones at Xander, who is just about to be attacked by a Demon so he throws it back at her. When a demon then comes after her she throws the bag to Spike.

When the demon attacks Spike to get the bones, he punches Spike a few times and after several hits, he hits the demon back. When there's no pain in his head, he realizes he can hurt demons. Ecstatic over this revelation, Spike promptly beats the demon senseless. Caught up in the excitement of being able to fight, he forgets about the fact that they're trying to stop the sacrifices, and throws the demon, who just happened to grab the bag of bones when he was on the floor, into the Hellmouth. When Willow and Xander look at him aggravatingly, he asks why they're so upset because he believes he was helping. Debris starts falling and Buffy yells for them to get out because the building is gonna come down. Spike gets knocked out by falling debris whilst Willow and Xander (who stops to help grab Spike) take off. While the rest of the gang escape the soon-to-be-falling building, Riley shows up to help Buffy fight. The third demon grabs the talisman and crawls its way into the Hellmouth and Buffy goes in after it. Thanks to a cable and hook Riley attached to her belt, Buffy is pulled out of the Hellmouth along with the third demon. The world is saved again.

Afterwards, when Riley and Buffy come across Xander, Willow and Spike, he tries to keep up his secret identity, by first saying he was walking by and heard noises. Willow asks why he's wearing military gear. When Riley tries to say he was playing paintball, Xander just outright says "So, you're one of those commandos huh?" When Riley sees Spike he says he looks familiar but Spike conceals his identity by posing as a "pal of Xander's" with a bad American accent. While they're walking out, Xander asks Willow if it's weird being back. She says that everything looks smaller, more charred and ruiny. The next day, Buffy goes to Riley's dorm, where he says how upset he is at himself for allowing her and her friends to find out about him. Telling him that everything will be okay, she kisses him.

Back at Xander's basement, Spike, eager for another brawl, excitedly tries to convince Willow and Xander to go out demon hunting rather than sit and watch television.


  • The episode continues immediately after the previous episode's last scene.
  • Buffy describes herself as "Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius," which refers to being born between the dates 17–19 January. Indeed, Buffy was born on January 19, 1981 ("Surprise").
  • The earthquake frightens Buffy, remembering that it was one of the portents in "Prophecy Girl" announcing her first death.
  • Buffy briefly alludes to Faith, mentioning she is in a coma ("Graduation Day, Part Two") because she had "so much fun on the job."
  • Xander is back working fast food in between construction jobs, this time delivering pizzas. Prior to "Pangs," it was mentioned he had worked at Hot Dog on a Stick.
  • Willow meets Percy, whom she had tutored in "Doppelgängland." He had not been seen since the Graduation Day battle. ("Graduation Day, Part Two").
  • Willow explains that she's not a nerd because she's dating a guitarist, as she began dating Oz in "Phases." She corrects herself saying that she's not dating one anymore, as they broke up in "Wild at Heart."
  • Buffy, Willow, and Xander exclaims "again?!" when Giles announces the end of the world. This is at least the fifth apocalypse the Scoobies avert, after "The Harvest," "Prophecy Girl," "Becoming, Part Two," and "The Zeppo."
  • Buffy flips herself off the ground and almost punches Riley, believing him to be a demon, but he easily blocks the punch. This situation will happen exactly the same between them in "Real Me."
  • Buffy explains the difference between herself and Riley is that he treats demon hunting as a job, while for Buffy, it is her destiny. This echoes Buffy's conversation with Kendra at the end of "What's My Line? Part Two," in which Kendra lectured Buffy about not treating slaying like a job because it is who she is.
  • Xander steps in something odd while walking in Sunnydale High, explaining it as "Mayor meat — extra crispy," referring to Richard Wilkins, who died in the explosion in "Graduation Day, Part Two."
  • The trophy that Catherine Madison is trapped in ("Witch") can be seen on the floor as the Scoobies walk through the school halls.
  • Spike learns that his chip, discovered in episode "The Initiative," doesn't prevent him from hurting demons. This marks the beginning of Spike fighting evil alongside the Scoobies, albeit for different motives.
  • Spike covers his identity from Riley imitating an American accent and describing himself as a friend of Xander, which he'll try again in "Goodbye Iowa."



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • A partier, sacrificed by a Vahrall demon.
  • A Vahrall demon, jumped into the Hellmouth.
  • A Vahrall demon, pushed by Spike into the Hellmouth.
  • A Vahrall demon, killed by Buffy, succumbed of his injury.

Behind the scenes[]


  • About the unusual process of three writers for one episode, Doug Petrie has described:
"I think in terms of the line-up, I probably would have written that one myself except I was getting married that week and as much as I love Buffy, I was glad I took that couple of days off! It was tough and it was funny because Jane [Espenson], Marti [Noxon] and Joss [Whedon] were all there for my wedding. Jane, at one point, was on the dance floor and said, 'Okay, I've got to go back…' We were writing it over a weekend. "Doomed" was very difficult. I was around for the breaking of the story and I'm happy about that. It was difficult, and it was hard. I think that we were really up against the wall. We didn't know what we were going to do and we didn't have much time. Things either go really, really well when that happens. You are blessed with some kind of inspiration, things click and they move fast because you don't have time. Wonderful things happen. Or… You work really hard and you do your best and hope. I think that was the case with "Doomed." It was a lot of hard work. Buffy and Riley are the King and Queen of their respective worlds and have their own methods of dealing with the enemy."[2]
  • Marc Blucas is added to the opening credits starting with this episode.
  • Much of Anthony Stewart Head's dialog has been very noticeably re-dubbed in this episode. This is most noticeable in the scene where Buffy first asks Giles about the earthquake — the lip-sync is off and the audio is far too clean in comparison to Sarah Michelle Gellar's.

Deleted scenes[]

  • This dialogue was cut due to length:
Xander: "Look at you! You have knees! Very white knees!"
Spike: "Damn things keep doing that."
Xander: "You know I'm not any happier about you wearing my stuff than you are."
Spike: "That cannot be true. Don't know how you let yourself be seen in this… Wanker-wear."

Pop culture references[]

  • When Riley asked Forrest if he knew what a Slayer was, he first thinks about the metal band, which he compares with Black Sabbath. This misdirection was again made by Fred in the Angel episode "Spin the Bottle."
  • Forrest says Riley is from Smallville, a reference to fictional superhero Superman.
  • Percy has a scholarship in the University of Southern California.
  • Xander says that the symbol carved on the victim's chest resembles the CBS logo and asks if the journalist Morley Safer could be involved, the long running host of the CBS show 60 Minutes.
  • Buffy asks Riley if now "is the time for Donkey Kong."
  • Willow refers to Riley's uniform as his "G.I. Joe outfit."


  • When Xander, Willow, and Spike are leaving the museum, you can see the camera rails/track. When Spike walks away from Xander and Willow, it is clearly shown to the right of the screen. Very obvious.
  • During a wide shot of a fight between Xander and one of the Vahrall demons, James Marsters is seen in the background with his vampire make-up on as another Vahrall demon grabs him, and when the camera cuts closer, he is without his vampire make-up.


International titles[]

  • French: "La fin du monde" (The End of the World)
  • German: "Das Opfer der Drei" (The Sacrifice of the Three)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Predestinados" (Predestined)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Condenados" (Condemned)
  • Spanish (Spain): "El fin del Mundo" (The End of the World)


Buffy: "I thought a professional demon chaser like yourself would've figured it out by now. I'm the Slayer. Slay-er. Chosen One. She-who-hangs-out-a-lot-in-cemeteries? You're kidding. Ask around. Look it up: 'Slayer, comma the'."
Spike: "You want me to tear this place apart, you bloody poof?"
Xander: "That's it! I am way past through with you! Hate to break it to you, O Impotent One, but you're not the Big Bad any more. You're not even the Kinda Naughty! You're nothing but a waste of space. My space! And as much as I always got a big laugh watching Buffy kick your shiny, white bum, and as much as I know I can give you a little bum-kicking myself right now, I'm here to tell you something… You're not even worth it."
Giles: "It's the end of the world."
Buffy, Willow, and Xander: "Again?"
Riley: "I was trained in sneaking and stuff and I'm like 'Paintball. Just passing through.' Could I be any more obvious? I should've just got out my security code and rank."
Buffy: "You have a security code and rank?"
Riley: "…No."
Spike: "What's this? Sitting around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? That's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her! She is the Chosen One after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them. For justice, and for… the safety of puppies… and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! Oh, come on!"


  1. "The Mortuary". Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original on March 31, 2001.
  2. "Doug Petrie, Buffy Producer's guide to season four - Doomed". BBC - Cult - Buffy. Retrieved on January 23, 2018.