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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]


Still in Buffy's dorm, 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 Buffy experienced disturbs her.

As Xander cleans up some of the earthquake damage in her basement, 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 the pain in his head caused by the chip prevents him.

Willow checks in with Buffy and tells her about 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 uncomfortable with the topic and tries to discuss the earthquake more, but Giles once again shrugs off her concerns.

In the Initiative facilities, Riley asks Forrest what he knows about 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 alone 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's jealousy. Depressed, Willow goes into one of the dorm rooms to lie on a bed. When the lights come back on, she finds herself next to a body, a symbol carved onto the chest of a pyramid with an eye in the center.

Xander finds Spike a humiliated wearing Xander's Hawaiian shirt and shorts because he shrunk his own clothes. When Spike tries to get temperamental, Xander loses his temper and harshly tells Spike that no one is scared of him anymore and that he's not even worth having Buffy kick his ass, before walking away.

Buffy arrives at the suspended party, and Willow fills her in about the body she found, and about Percy talking bad about her.

Riley shoots baskets with Forrest and broods about Buffy in his bedroom 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.

In Giles's apartment, Willow shows the Scoobies the symbol carved into the student's chest. Giles says it is definitely the end of the world. Buffy mentions she knows the symbol from somewhere, but she can't remember where. She goes to hunt down the demon and recognizes the symbol on a crypt. Inside, the demon is collecting the bones of a small child. She fights the demon, but it escapes, and she runs into Riley. He tries to talk to her and 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 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 a 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 and sends them out to find and kill the demon. They use a device capable of tracking pheromone signature a mile wide.

Spike says his goodbyes and attempts to kill himself by falling from a chair onto a stake positioned on a table. When Willow and Xander walk in, Spike falls and destroys the table, completely missing 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. Willow grabs the stake away from Xander, and Spike appeals to her by pointing out that he's not even scary anymore. Willow argues that they know Spike now and letting him kill himself wouldn't be right. After getting his weapons, Xander tells Spike that, 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 promising Willow he won't hurt himself, but Willow insists he come. Xander tells him to look on the bright side: if they can't find what they're looking for, then Spike can die when the apocalypse happens.

Out on patrol, Buffy runs into Riley again, and Riley resumes their conversation. He tells Buffy that she needs to be more positive, to not look for the bad in the situation. When a few people walk by, Riley says it makes sense for them to be together because both of them are "fry cooks." 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. 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.

Outside the Historical Museum Sunnydale, Willow and Xander are unsuccessful in their search for the Word of Valios. Spike discourage them talking about 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; Buffy would be a much better Slayer without constantly having to watch out for them. Willow and Xander protest his words as being untrue and claim he's just saying this stuff to make them stake him. Spike argues that he simply doesn't want sympathy from two people he thinks are more useless than him. Spike turns and walks away, grinning.

Giles comes across an illustration of the Word of Valios and sees that it is actually a talisman, and he realizes that he has it. After fishing it out of his weapons trunk, he grabs his coat and is about to leave when the demons reveal themselves in his living room. Giles tries to fight them off, but they beat him badly. The gang find Giles bruised, and he tells them he bought the talisman at a sorcerers estate sale and thought it was a knock off. Giles sends them off to the Sunnydale High School after he informs them that the ritual is to open the Hellmouth.

Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Spike head back to the ruins of the school. 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 school 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 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 earthquake stops.

Afterwards, when Riley and Buffy come across Xander, Willow, and Spike, he tries to keep up his secret identity by saying he was walking by and heard noises. Willow asks why he's wearing military gear. Riley tries to say he was playing paintball, but Xander outright says Riley is one of the commandos. Riley sees Spike and 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 it's not the end of the world, she kisses him.

Back at Xander's basement, Spike turns off the TV Willow and Xander are watching TV and eagerly tries to convince to go out demon hunting.


  • 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, who remembers 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 that 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."
  • When Giles announces the end of the world, Buffy, Willow, and Xander exclaim: "again?!" This is at least the fifth apocalypse the Scoobies avert, after the ones in "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 that 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 at 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 to his injury.

Behind the scenes[]


  • About the unusual process of three writers for one episode, Doug Petrie has explained:[2]
    "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."
  • 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.
  • The diegetic audio from the last scene continues for a brief moment into the closing credits, a technique also used in the episodes "I Robot, You Jane," "Lie to Me," "Homecoming," "Helpless," "Pangs," "Out of My Mind," among others.


  • "Doomed" had an audience of 3.5 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This exchange was cut:[4]
    Xander: "Look at you. You have knees! Very white knees!"
    Spike: (Spike sits on the sofa, dejected. The cutoffs ride up. He stands back up, tugs them into place.) "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."
    Xander: "Hey. I'm known as a very sharp dresser."
  • Catherine would appear still stuck on her trophy:[4]
    "[Willow] steps on another piece of debris. Close on debris: It's a cheerleading trophy, black with smoke-damage. In fact — it's Amy's mother. Still entombed, her eyes dart desperately as Willow's foot comes crashing down on her. After Willow moves off, Amy's mom glares at her despite her impotence. Back on gang: Unaware of the life-form in their midst."

Pop culture references[]


  • 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.
  • During a wide shot of the 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[]

  • Armenian: "Դատապարտվածները" (Convicted)
  • Czech: "Konec světa" (End of the World)
  • Finnish: "Tuomittu" (Doomed)
  • French: "La fin du monde" (The End of the World)
  • German: "Das Opfer der Drei" (The Sacrifice of the Three)
  • Hungarian: "Halálra ítélve" (Sentenced to Death)
  • Italian: "La fine del mondo" (The End of the World)
  • Japanese: "破滅" (Ruin)
  • Polish: "Naznaczona" (Marked)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Predestinados" (Predestined)
  • Romanian: "Blestemat" (Cursed)
  • Russian: "Обречённые" (Doomed)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "El fin del Mundo" (The End of the World)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Condenados" (Condemned)
  • Swedish: "Fördömd" (Damned)


Behind the scenes[]



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.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Doomed Script." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on March 5, 2019.