|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 7, Episode 6|
|Air date||November 5, 2002|
|Written by||Drew Z. Greenberg|
|Directed by||Michael Gershman|
"Conversations with Dead People"
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Alyson Hannigan|| Willow |
|D. B. Woodside|| Principal Wood |
|Riki Lindhome|| Cheryl |
|Robia LaMorte|| Jenny Calendar |
|Band (The Breeders)|
|Kelley Deal||Guitar Player|
|Kim Deal||Guitar Player and Singer|
|Richard Presley||Guitar Player|
|Mando Lopez||Bass Player|
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 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 the two in "Seeing Red" 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 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. Her over-exuberant and horrible cheer (which includes the line "We've got a secret weapon and his name is R.J.!") causes her to humiliate and embarrass herself in front of the school, after her attempted cartwheel goes horridly wrong. 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 wholeheartedly 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, asserting that "Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky". 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 he 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 (despite her being a lesbian) 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 calls out "OK! Great! Ice cream! My treat?"
- The rocket launcher Buffy used in her attempt to bazooka Principal Wood was the same one she used to blow up The Judge. ("Innocence")
- Dawn used Buffy's high school cheerleading outfit, although the skirt is different. ("Witch") After Cordelia was blinded by the spell, the first alternative cheerleader was Buffy. She became a fully fledged Sunnydale cheerleader and therefore the outfit is the same. She did use a different skirt in tryouts. ("Witch")
- Dawn's inelegance when she tries out for the cheerleading squad is at odds with the dancing ability she displayed for Sweet ("Once More, with Feeling") and in this episode at the Bronze and her statement that she loved to dance ("Lessons").
- 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. She still owns Joyce's green 4x4 (which was referred to as the Geek Mobile in "Band Candy".
- Starting with this episode, until "Sleeper", Spike lives in a spare bedroom in Xander's apartment. Spike has "bunked" with Xander before, in Season Four from "Hush" until "A New Man".
- Anya's bank robbery takes place across the street from where Xander and Spike grab R.J.'s jacket.
- Xander flashes back to a scene in "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered", when a love spell gone awry causes every Sunnydale woman to fall for him. We see several former characters in the flashback including Jenny, Joyce, and Cordelia.
- Goddess Hecate had also been summoned in Amy's spells in "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" and "Gingerbread". Xander was present at the first usage, and in this episode, after he prevents Willow from completing her spell, he says "Quit with the Hecate".
- The song "Theme to A Summer Place" is used often in this episode, playing whenever a woman falls for R.J. In the Season Two episode "Inca Mummy Girl," Oz mentions 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". RJ 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 and Willow become attracted to Dawn at the Bronze when they see her dancing with RJ, then feel guilty afterwards. Xander and Dawn would later kiss in "Retreat".
- It is never revealed whether Buffy and RJ actually progress to sex before being interrupted by Xander (or indeed afterward when he leaves them alone again). If they do, then RJ is her fifth lover and the last time she has sex in the series. He's also the only sexual partner she never beats up.
- This is one of only two occasions where Xander takes charge of the Scoobies (because of the girls all being affected by the love spell). The other is in "Bargaining, Part Two".
- 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.
- 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 Shop in "Triangle". Joyce also keeps the coat "Ripper" stole for her in "Band Candy", whilst Cordelia keeps the necklace from the museum in The Shroud of Rahmon.
- RJ 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.
- Dawn becomes the sixth and final Scooby to walk in on her beloved cheating on her. Other examples include Willow discovering Cordelia with Xander and Oz with Verruca (Surprise/Wild at Heart), Buffy discovering Riley with his vampire whore and Spike with Anya (Into the Woods/Entropy), Xander discovering Spike with Anya (Entropy) and Cordelia and Oz discovering Willow and Xander together (Lover's Walk).
- One demon, killed by Buffy with an axe
Behind the Scenes
- This exchange was cut due to length, where Dawn tries to figure out the relationship between Spike and her sister:
- 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 even...being kind of rough with each other? Anya said some stuff."
- Buffy: "I should have killed her when I had the chance. Dawn, it was complicated. But I'd broken it off with him. I didn't want it anymore."
Pop Culture References
- Dawn says "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.
- The letterman jacket is an American high school tradition and, often, status symbol. Traditionally, a male high school student earns the fuzzy letter through excelling at some sport(s). The letter (the first letter of the school's name) is then sewn onto a letterman jacket in the school colors, and the boy's last name is sewn onto the back. A common tradition is that the significant other of the jacket's owner wears it, as an indicator that they are together. These days, a student can letter in more than just sports (drama, dance, band, academics, etc.), and girls can get their own letterman jackets. Xander would be entitled to one, having been on the Sunnydale High Swim Team in "Go Fish" and he may have lent it to Buffy to wear whilst she is campaigning in 'Homecoming'. The jacket generally has a wool torso and leather sleeves.
- Dawn (to Buffy): "Is sitting there drinking soda some kind of Zen non-answer?" Zen is a school of Buddhism.
- Cheryl: "I mean, I could use a chair. Or we all could: like the Laker Girls." The Laker Girls are the cheerleaders/dancers for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA basketball team.
- Buffy (to Dawn): "Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky." Anna Nicole Smith was a Playboy Playmate of the Year (1993) and Guess? model, but what really made her famous was her 1995 marriage, at age 26, to billionaire J. Howard Marshall, who was nearly 90.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- 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.
- Spike's supposed non-existent reflection is seen twice in the episode. Once in a picture frame in Lance Brooks' house and once in a glass window before he goes to steal R.J.'s jacket.
- The collar of R.J.'s jacket changes positions in the scene where Buffy first talks to him.
- 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's "accident", she walks out of the principal's office without her school bag. When it cuts to the next scene, she has her bag over her shoulder.
- Aberdeen - "Handsome Drink"
- The Breeders - "Little Fury"
- The Breeders - "Son of Three (Viva)"
- Coldplay - "Warning Sign"
- King Black Acid - "School Blood"
- Percy Faith - "Theme from A Summer Place"
- Tamara Silvera - "Let You Know"
- The Shins - "New Slang"
- Robert Duncan- original score
- German: Liebesbeweise (Proofs of Love)
- French: Folles de lui (Crazy About Him)
- The band playing in the scene at The Bronze is The Breeders, fronted by former Pixies bassist Kim Deal, and her twin sister Kelley.
- Thad Luckinbill is 10 years older than Michelle Trachtenberg. He's also two years older than Sarah Michelle Gellar.
|Willow: "Love spells. People forget how dangerous they can be."|
|Xander: "Hey, been there..."(Xander flashes back to “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered,” where lots of girls are coming after him in Buffy’s basement. Cordelia’s there, but is not under the spell, whereas every other woman he knows is under the spell, including Buffy, Willow and even Buffy’s mother Joyce. They’re all reaching for him, putting their hands on him, completely crazy for him. Xander’s remembering all this fondly, with a satisfied grin on his face) "Good times."|
|Xander: "Fine. I invite you in. Nimrod."|
|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!"|
|Dawn: "You know what's sad? A girl who can't move on after she's been dumped."|
|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."|