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"Him" is the sixth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 128th episode in the series. Written by Drew Z. Greenberg and directed by Michael Gershman, it originally broadcast on November 5, 2002 on the UPN network.

Synopsis

THE SAME OLD TINGLE — Dawn falls under the spell (literally) of a boy at school. Problems ensue when Buffy becomes a victim of the same spell and the sisters begin competing for the boy toy. It's up to Xander and Spike, who've just become roommates, to solve the mystery and save the day.[1]

Summary

Marching into his apartment, Xander lays out the ground rules for living in his house as Buffy and Dawn walk in behind him. He turns to an exasperated, uninvited Spike, who's standing at the doorway. Xander then reluctantly, halfheartedly invites him in, and it is revealed that Buffy has insisted that Spike needs to leave the basement of Sunnydale High School because of his deteriorating mental state, and he has to stay with Xander, at least for the short term, because he has nowhere else to go, a plan that Xander makes no effort to hide his disgust with. Buffy is certain that the events that occurred between them will not repeat themselves, now that Spike has a soul, though Xander and Dawn remain somewhat skeptical, and Buffy even briefly recoils in shock when Spike grabs her arm while trying to talk to her. Though both Spike and Xander are certain that the arrangement will not work, Buffy is certain that it already is working because, aside from one episode, Spike has "stopped talking to invisible people."

The next day, Dawn questions the very definition of love to Buffy, who shortly leaves for work, obviously also confused with that concept. But, as Dawn continues her rant, she notices a a guy in a letterman jacket, having just finished a game, and falls in love.

Later, Buffy saves Anya from an assassin sent by D'Hoffryn, who has obviously decided the former vengeance demon can't be allowed to live. Buffy asks Anya to re-join the Scooby Gang, telling her that something very evil is coming and she'd rather none of her friends be alone. Anya tries to hide her keenness by agreeing hesitantly.

Meanwhile, Dawn practices conversation pieces with herself before then approaching the guy she had seen before, who is named R.J. Brooks. Her plan goes awry, as he keeps reluctantly ignoring her, talking with his friends and girlfriend (a cheerleader) instead. It is established that R.J. is the team quarterback, and that the cheerleading team is now in need of one extra member. After hearing this, Dawn lays out another plan to catch R.J.'s attention, which involves going into the attic in search of her sister's old cheerleading outfit.

Dawn takes part in the cheerleading tryouts held the next day, but she just embarrasses herself in front of the school. That night, Buffy tries to comfort her sister through the locked bathroom door as Dawn start weeping about R.J. Buffy is unsuccessful, particularly after her trying to convince Dawn that her "unrequited love" is actually just a teenage crush causes Dawn to whip the door open and scream angrily at her sister.

Buffy further tries to console her sister, but Dawn coldly states that she doesn't need love advice from a dysfunction queen, before asking her sister to leave. Meanwhile, R.J. is confronted and informed that his fellow teammate, O'Donnell, has been promoted to team quarterback by the coach. Dawn witnesses this, and decides that it is not fair for R.J. She takes matters into her own hands as she pushes O'Donnell down a flight of stairs.

Dawn is sent to the principal's office, with Buffy present, as they talk about the situation. Dawn denies that she had anything to do with O'Donnell's fall, but Buffy realizes something is amiss. In the school corridor, R.J. catches up with Dawn, and begins a more friendly conversation with her. After the brief talk, he asks her if she wants to hang out after school, and Dawn agrees.

That night at the Bronze, Buffy, Willow, and Xander notice R.J. dancing with a racily-clad girl. But the group jumps in horror after realizing that the girl is actually Dawn. Buffy confronts her, telling Dawn off about lying to her, and also scolds her for the way she is dressed. Buffy asks her to leave, and Dawn angrily complies. Outside The Bronze, she is then encountered by R.J.'s girlfriend, Lori. Buffy breaks up a minor cat fight, before Lori leaves, warning Dawn to stay away from R.J.

The next day at school, Buffy watches as Principal Wood lectures R.J. about not doing his own homework and then she herself catches him for another lecture. She confronts him about the way he is treating girls, but quickly, something comes over Buffy after she starts to stammeringly swoon after him. She leaves him off with a "mild warning," and returns home to talk to Dawn. She lies to her sister, telling Dawn that she has "checked him out" and finds R.J. to be a good, solid guy. However, she does advise Dawn to back off a little, and wait for a guy to sweep her off her feet.

Buffy quickly pulls R.J. out of class the next day and leads him into an empty classroom. As she adoringly watch him talk about football, she starts to seduce him and they kiss. Meanwhile, despite Buffy's earlier advice, Dawn looks for R.J. — and finds him. She runs out, bursting into tears, and is comforted by Xander. He goes in to look for Buffy, and finds her half naked and straddling R.J on the desk. They return home, where Buffy and Dawn fight over R.J.

Xander and Spike head out to meet with Lance Brooks, while Willow and Anya research love spells. Despite the fact that he was quite popular in high school, Xander and Spike find Lance has become a loser. After some chatting, the guys realize that the source of the problem is R.J.'s letterman jacket (adding some irony to Xander's earlier sarcastic remark about that jacket being the source of the seduction effect). In the meantime, R.J. shows up at the Summers' home, and after seeing him, Anya and Willow also fall in love. Eventually, the four girls fight over who loves R.J. the most, and decide to have a contest to see which of them is more ready, willing and able for R.J. As the three other girls head off, a depressed Dawn finds herself out-shadowed.

The girls then go out of their way to prove their respective loves. Willow starts a spell to turn R.J. into a woman to fulfill her sexual orientation, Anya takes off to rob a bank, Buffy prepares to blow Principal Wood away with her old rocket launcher, and, finally, Dawn lays herself across railroad tracks.

Xander and Spike return home just in time to stop Willow from completing her spell. They then head off to the high school to prevent Buffy from killing Principal Wood. After successfully distracting Buffy, the gang casts a locator's spell to find Dawn. They reach the train tracks just in time before a speeding train flattens the younger Summers. Buffy outruns the train and rescues her sister. Apparently, Dawn's attempted suicide knocks some sense into her, and in turn, Buffy tries to assure Dawn that no guy is worth her life. Dawn begins to see sense, and they return home that night. This time they try to hatch a plan to destroy R.J.'s letterman jacket. Without any trouble, Xander and Spike manage to take the letterman's jacket off R.J., before the Scoobies witness its burning in the Summers' fireplace.

Buffy and Dawn reconcile, the love spell is broken, and everything is back to normal. Dawn apologizes for how she acted and talked to Buffy, and how stupid she felt that she "did it over a spell". Buffy forgives Dawn and tells her to "be prepared to feel even stupider when it isn't" over a spell. The girls lament about what they all 'almost' did. However, as they ask Anya what she almost did, she stalls. Then comes a news report about a wanted bank robber. Anya instantly takes the opportunity to switch off the radio and offers to buy them ice cream.

Continuity

  • The rocket launcher Buffy used in her attempt to kill Principal Wood was the same one she used to blow up the Judge in "Innocence."
  • Dawn used Buffy's high school cheerleading outfit ("Witch").
  • Buffy is shown driving only four times during the course of the series. The first was in "Band Candy", where she is seen driving badly; the second was in Faith's body in "Who Are You?" (again badly). The third is "Gone" where she drove a vehicle perfectly (although while invisible), and the fourth time is in this episode.
  • Starting with this episode, until "Sleeper", Spike lives in a spare bedroom in Xander's apartment. Spike has "bunked" with Xander before, from "Hush" until "A New Man". They will start living together again in I Wish, Part Two.
  • Xander reminisces a scene from "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," when a love spell gone awry causes every Sunnydale woman to fall for him.
  • Goddess Hecate had also been summoned in Amy's spells in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and "Gingerbread." Xander was present at the first usage and later stopped Amy from concluding a spell, saying: "Quit with the Hecate." Similarly, in this episode, he prevents Willow from completing her spell calling upon Hecate.
  • The song "Theme to A Summer Place" is used often in this episode, playing whenever a woman falls for R.J. In the episode "Inca Mummy Girl," Oz mentioned having a fantasy involving "a feather boa and theme to A Summer Place."
  • Xander makes the offhand remark that R.J.'s letterman jacket is the cause of his popularity, which was coincidentally true. He makes a similar unwitting prediction in "Earshot."
  • R.J. is the second Letterman jacket wearing boy Dawn becomes attracted to having previously fallen for Justin in "All the Way."
  • Initially not recognizing it is her, Xander is attracted to Dawn when he sees her dancing with R.J., then feel guilty afterwards. Xander and Dawn begin dating years later in Retreat, Part Three.
  • Lance makes a disparaging comment about poetry, denouncing it as geeky and causing Spike to roll his eyes. This references the fact that, in life, Spike was in fact a poet who was similarly bullied for his work ("Fool for Love").
  • Anya's robbery spree means that nearly all the Scooby girls have committed a form of theft — Dawn shoplifting in season 6, Buffy implying she has shoplifted lipstick in "Becoming, Part One," and Willow taking things without paying for them from the Magic Box in "Triangle". Joyce also keeps the coat Giles stole for her in "Band Candy," whilst Cordelia keeps the necklace from the museum in "The Shroud of Rahmon."
  • R.J. becomes the third poetry enthusiast Buffy becomes attracted to. Previously, she dated Emily Dickinson fan Owen Thurman in "Never Kill a Boy on the First Date" and had an affair with Spike since "Once More, with Feeling."
  • Dawn becomes the sixth and final Scooby to walk in on her beloved with another. Other examples include Willow discovering Xander with Cordelia ("Surprise") and Oz with Veruca ("Wild at Heart"), Buffy discovering Riley with a vampire ("Into the Woods"), Buffy and Xander discovering Spike and Anya ("Entropy"), and Cordelia and Oz discovering Willow and Xander ("Lover's Walk").

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and titles

Species

Locations

Objects

Rituals and spells

Death count

  • One demon, stabbed by Buffy with an ax.

Behind the scenes

Deleted scenes

  • Dawn would ask more about Buffy and Spike's relationship:[2]
Dawn: "And I'm even trying to understand that. A little. The rape part."
Buffy: "He didn't. I mean, he tried—"
Dawn: "Not that. I just... You guys had sex a lot, right? It's not like you were strangers. Weren't you ever..." (hard to say) "being kind of rough with each other?" (off Buffy's look) "Anya said some stuff."
Buffy: "I really should've killed her. Dawn, it was complicated. But I'd broken it off with him. I didn't want it anymore."
Dawn: (gets it) "Oh. Oh... That must have been..." (then) "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for even asking."
Buffy: "It's okay. I get the question. I've asked it myself a few times."

Pop culture references

  • Dawn says that "no one expects the Spanish Inquisition," referencing a Monty Python Spanish Inquisition sketch.
  • When Dawn lies down on the tracks to commit suicide, it is a reference to the novel Anna Karenina, where the titular character dies by lying down and being run over by a train, after being rejected romantically.
  • Cheryl mentions the Laker Girls, the cheerleaders for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team.
  • Buffy compares Dawn with Anna Nicole Smith, the Playboy Playmate of the Year 1993 famous for marring at age 26 to the billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was nearly 90.

Goofs

  • When Buffy starts to pull Dawn away from the railroad tracks, they are smack in the middle of it. Yet, when the shot changes, they were nowhere near the middle of the tracks.
  • Spike's accent slips up when he apologizes to Buffy after inadvertently touching her.
  • After Buffy saves Anya from D'Hoffryn's demon, she walks to the refrigerator to get an ice pack. Along the way, she passes an oven, where we can see the reflection of the cameraman and his assistant.
  • After Dawn has finished having her talk with Principal Wood about O'Donnell, she walks out of the office without her school bag. When it cuts to the next scene, she has her bag over her shoulder.
  • The collar of R.J.'s jacket changes positions in the scene where Buffy first talks to him.
  • Spike's reflection is seen in a picture frame in Lance Brooks' house then in a glass window before he goes to steal R.J.'s jacket.

Music

International titles

  • Armenian: "Հանուն նրա" (For Him)
  • Czech: "On" (He)
  • Finnish: "Pelin henki" (Game Spirit)
  • French: "Folles de lui" (Crazy About Him)
  • German: "Liebesbeweise" (Proofs of Love)
  • Hungarian: "Övé" (His)
  • Italian: "Irresistibile" (Irresistible)
  • Japanese: "彼" (He)
  • Polish: "On" (He)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Ele" (He)
  • Romanian: "El" (He)
  • Russian: "Ради него" (For Him)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Él" (He)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Él" (He)
  • Swedish: "Han" (He)

Adaptations

  • The book Chosen: The One includes a novelization of this episode, along with all season 7.

Quotes

Willow: "Love spells. People forget how dangerous they can be."
Xander: "Hey, been there... Good times."
Willow: "You don't even know him!"
Anya: "Yes, I do! I looked into him and I saw his soul."
Willow: "He was walking away, so unless his soul was in his ass ..."
Anya: "A.J. is my best friend and my dearest darling!"
Willow: "It's 'R.J.' And what you were picking up on was his deep caring and devotion to me!"
Buffy: "Willow, you're a gay woman!"
Willow: "This isn't about his physical presence! It's about his heart."
Anya: "His physical presence has a penis!"
Willow: "I can work around it!"
Buffy: "This is the plan? You're gonna steal R.J. by being trisected?!"
Dawn: "What am I, gonna compete with you? You're older and hotter and have sex that's rough and kill people. I don't have any of that stuff. But if I did this then his whole life he'd know there was someone that loved him so much they'd give up their life. And it would be true forever."
Buffy: "No guy is worth your life. Not ever."
Buffy: "Xander, be honest. You didn't, you know, think about slipping that jacket on just a little bit?"
Xander: "I refuse to answer that on grounds that it didn't fit."

References

  1. "Season 7." Craig's BuffyVERSE 4ever. Retrieved on March 15, 2022.
  2. "Buffy - Him." Buffy World. Archived from the original on July 25, 2019.
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