|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 6, Episode 12|
|Air date||January 29, 2002|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Directed by||Nick Marck|
"Doublemeat Palace" is the twelfth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred twelfth episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Nick Marck. It originally broadcast on January 29, 2002.
To deal with her escalating financial problems, Buffy gets a job as a kitchen worker at the Doublemeat Palace, a California-based fast food restaurant chain, which she quickly finds to be degrading and dull. Furthermore, a series of strange events, combined with the disappearances of employees, leads Buffy to believe that it may not be cow's meat that they serve here...
Willow updates Xander and Anya about The Trio, explaining that the three seem to have disappeared and moved from their basement lair. Anya chimes in with supportive statements about working hard for money and the importance of working in America just before Buffy appears, wearing a uniform for her new job. Later, Buffy is introduced to the world of fast food with the help of a unique and graphic video about her new place of work, the Doublemeat Palace. Her boss, Manny, introduces Buffy to her unenthusiastic coworkers and walks her through the area behind the counter, clearly identifying off-limit locations.
Buffy is offered the Doublemeat Medley, a burger consisting of typical ingredients and layers of meat and chicken, and Manny requires that she eat it. She reluctantly takes a bite, then questions what the secret ingredient in the meat is, but gets no clear answer. Buffy watches as a coworker, Gary, waits on a woman wearing a wig who is a regular at the Palace. After his demonstration, Buffy takes the next customer, but is lost quickly in the process as the man's order is too difficult for her to follow.
During her break, Buffy sneaks around in the back rooms, searching for the truth behind the secret ingredient, but is caught by Manny. At the counter, Buffy finds her friends have come by to visit her and she treats Xander to a Doublemeat Medley. Anya goes on a rant about how behind the wedding plans are, partially blaming Willow for the complications. Later, Buffy receives a surprise visit from Spike at the restaurant. He teases her and tries to persuade her to leave the job and be with him, warning her that this job could kill her. He offers to do everything in his power to take care of her and help her with her money problems. She remains determined and turns away. Gary goes out to the alley behind the restaurant and encounters someone/something that he recognizes; then that someone or something attacks him.
The next day, with Gary not there to work, Buffy is told to work the grill and another coworker, Timothy demonstrates the process for her. Again, Buffy asks about the secret ingredient, but still can't get an answer from anyone. Manny then assigns Buffy to a double shift because of the reduction of employees. At the apartment, Xander talks to Anya, who's in another room, about Buffy working a double shift just before Halfrek, a female Vengeance demon appears suddenly before Xander, threatening to tear him into pieces. Fortunately, Anya enters the room and recognizes the Vengeance demon as an old friend and the girls greet each other gleefully. Anya clears up the confusion, explaining that she invited Halfrek to the wedding, not to seek vengeance on Xander. Wisely, Xander leaves to let the girls chat.
Back at the Doublemeat Palace, Buffy spots Spike outside through a window and spends her break having sex with him in the alleyway out behind the restaurant, though she looks thoroughly disinterested. Amy pays Willow a visit, wanting her rat cage as a souvenir and talks with Willow about her progress with avoiding magic. Before she leaves, Amy gives Willow an unasked-for gift: A magical boost of power she can't quite control. Buffy watches the grinder grind meat, but discovers a human finger in the processed meat. Appalled at the idea of human meat being the secret ingredient, Buffy confronts Manny about it, but he doesn't agree with her suspicions. Buffy charges out into the dining area, attempting to stop all the patrons from eating while shouting that the meat is made of humans. The outburst gets her fired.
Over drinks, Anya and Halfrek talk about Anya's relationship with Xander and Anya begins to re-evaluate her situation with Xander after Halfrek repeatedly insists on addressing the issue. A meeting is called at the Magic Box as Buffy presents the severed finger and a Doublemeat Medley as evidence for her "people burger" theory, but Xander eats the burger before Buffy explains her theory. Willow arrives late, ready to begin researching despite the fact that she's still under Amy's gift spell and lacks control over her use of magic. Buffy leaves to investigate Doublemeat Palace after hours while Willow uses science to test a leftover piece of meat from the Doublemeat Medley.
Buffy breaks into the fast food place and finds clues: Blood and Manny's severed foot. Willow struggles to avoid using magic while Dawn and Xander talk about the kind of future life Buffy will have because she's the Slayer. Then Anya shows up late after Halfrek's departure, and a tense argument develops between her and Xander over the less-than-attractive appearance of a Vengeance demon.
Willow's analysis reveals that the basic composition of the "meat" is cellulose. While continuing to snoop, Buffy encounters the regular customer, Wig Lady, without her wig. A demonic lamprey-like appendage emerges from the lady's head and sprays a paralyzing liquid at Buffy. The lady advances on Buffy and talks about eating Doublemeat employees as the Slayer struggles to escape.
Willow shows up and tries to inform Buffy of the Doublemeat Medley which is not made of humans, but processed vegetables, then begins to confess to her about Amy's magical gift. Buffy's unable to respond to the information as she continues to try to get away from the demon, which manages to latch onto her shoulder and start to feed. Inside, Willow tries to stop the Wig Lady, using a large blade to cut the lamprey from the woman's body. That doesn't immediately kill the lamprey and Willow quickly shoves it into the meat grinder. The next day at the Summers' house, Amy pays Willow a visit, needing to borrow a few necessities. Willow denies her entrance into the house and angrily suggests that Amy stay away from her.
Buffy returns to the Doublemeat Palace to return her uniform to the new manager, Lorraine. After revealing her knowledge of the Doublemeat Medley's composition, she is sworn to secrecy. She gets her job back and resigns herself to working there, at least for now.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Emma Caulfield as Anya Jenkins
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
- James Marsters as Spike
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
- Elizabeth Anne Allen as Amy Madison
- Pat Crawford Brown as Old Lady
- Brent Hinkley as Manny
- Kirsten Nelson as Lorraine
- Kali Rocha as Halfrek
- T. Ferguson as Gary
- Marion Calvert as Gina
- Douglas Bennett as Phillip
- Andrew ReVille as Timothy
- Kevin C. Carter as Mr. Typical
- John F. Kearney as Elderly Man
- Sara LaWall as Housewife Type
- Victor Z. Isaac as Pimply Teen
- During the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion that occurred between seasons six and seven, Joss Whedon revealed that this episode was the first episode that caused sponsors to threaten to pull support due to the portrayal of the fast food industry. Buffy working at Doublemeat Palace "made the advertisers very twitchy"; as Whedon joked, "the most controversial thing we ever had on Buffy was a hamburger and chicken sandwich."
- Xander's line was cut due to length:
- Xander: "We were all going to yell 'good luck on the new job', but we don't have that kind of timing that kind of thing requires."
- Dawn's line was also cut due to length:
- Dawn: "So much suspense. It's like taking a pregnancy test...when they do that in pregnancy test commercials."
- Buffy screaming "It's people! It's people!" at the customers is an homage to the movie Soylent Green, with its famous line "Soylent Green is people!"
Spike - "Damn fluorescent lights. They make me look dead."
Doublemeat Palace Training Film - "This cow ('moo!') and this chicken ('bawk!') don't know it yet, but they're destined to become part of it as well. So what happens when a cow and a chicken get together? Why, that's a doublemeat medley! Let's take a look now at the process of harvesting these two special meats. (panicking animal sounds)" Buffy - "Holy crap!"
Manny - "Interesting, isn't it?" Buffy - "Oh, yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if Meg and Tom were, like, minced."
Xander - "It's fast food. I have swum in these murky waters, my friend. There is assorted creepiness, there is staring, there is the enthusiastic not-showing-up-at-all. I think you're seeing demons where there's just... life."
Buffy - "I'm working. Go away." Spike - "Yeah, and you chose to be in a consumer service profession. I'm a consumer. Service me."
Manny - "You're working a double-shift." Buffy - "What? Another eight hours? Right after these eight hours? That's... so many hours."
Buffy - "Xander, you ate the burger?" Xander - "Well, first you say it's cat. Then you come in, hand me a burger, blah blah blah, five minutes later, oh, and by the way, it happens to be hot, delicious human flesh?" Buffy - "I needed that burger to analyze it. Now I'm gonna have to get another one." Xander - "That's your problem with this scenario? You getting seconds?"
- This episode marks the first time Tara has been missing from two episodes in a row since the character was introduced. She does, however, continue to appear in the credits.
- Technically this is not the first appearance of Halfrek, but it is the first time she appears undisguised, as a vengeance demon. Cecily, Spike's pre-vampire love interest in "Fool for Love", was actually Halfrek, at least according to the comic Spike: Old Times.
- Austin and Hughes (JW music library) - "Power Play"
- Warren Bennet (First Com Music Library) - "The Twist"