|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 5, Episode 15|
|Air date||February 20, 2001|
|Written by||Jane Espenson|
|Directed by||James A. Contner|
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Troy T. Blendell||Jinx|
|Kristine Sutherland|| Joyce Summers |
An odd girl who turns out to be a robot roams Sunnydale looking for her boyfriend Warren, becoming violent when impeded—and especially when he tells her that he is in love with someone else. Spike asks Warren to create a robot of Buffy for him. When Buffy returns home, she finds her mother dead on the living room couch.
Buffy rants about her problems with Spike while pounding away at Xander who is wearing a sumo-sized bodysuit. Xander consoles the Slayer about her love life, blaming the Hellmouth for her not being able to find a decent guy. A young woman arrives in Sunnydale, searching for her boyfriend. Joyce nervously prepares for a date with a man named Brian with the help of her daughters.
Anya and Tara discuss the Internet and Anya's knowledge of online stock trading and websites. April approaches them, asking if they know where Warren is, but when the girls can't help her, April moves on to another person and asks the same question. Buffy and Xander dance at a campus party while Anya, Tara and Willow watch. After dancing, Buffy locates Ben at the party and casually catches his attention. They chat briefly but awkwardly, and Buffy asks Ben to dance.
Anya admires the Chex Mix with Xander when April arrives at the party, still searching for Warren. Warren just so happens to be at the party and escapes with his date before April discovers him. April questions the people at the party, offering that Warren is her boyfriend and he lost her. Tara is mildly concerned about her relationship with Willow when Willow remarks, "Yeah, a pretty girl like that won't stay lonely for long."
Spike approaches Buffy while she's waiting, but she tells him off before Ben returns. Ben offers Buffy his number for a possible coffee date and isn't scared off when Buffy warns him of her bad history. After seeing Buffy with Ben, Spike is inspired to hit on April, but his suggestive comments only anger her and lead her to throw the vampire through a window, much to the crowd's show. Both amused by Spike's pain and shocked at April's behavior, Buffy tries to talk to April, but April throws her aside and leaves.
Later, at Xander's apartment, the gang quickly deduces that April is a robot, and while they don't view her as an immediate threat, they do realize that they have to track down Warren and get him to April before someone less durable than Spike rubs her the wrong way. Buffy returns home, and Giles suggests he not watch Dawn alone anymore because he can't take much more exposure to the habits of a young teenager. Joyce returns from her date in an extremely good mood, shocking her daughter with the joke that she left her bra in Brian's car.
April goes door to door searching for Warren's residence. Willow finds Warren Mears on her computer and the house where he could be living. The gang talks about Warren and how he made April to fill a void in his life. Buffy finally gets up the nerve to call Ben, but the phone rings at Glory's place. She morphs into Ben to answer the phone, and a date is made for coffee.
Warren rushes to get packed and move away with his current girlfriend, Katrina, but she doesn't understand why. Buffy shows up at Warren's in search of answers relating to April, while Katrina finally walks out, upset about being kept in the dark. Warren reveals to Buffy that he made April to be the perfect girlfriend, however rather than falling in love with her as expected, he instead grew bored with how predictable and easy things were with her. He then met and fell in love with Katrina, and, instead of "breaking up" with April, cowardly left her in his dorm room to let her batteries run down. Buffy asks if Katrina is dangerous, and Warren tells her that she's only programmed to be in love with him... Which confirms to Buffy she is dangerous.
Meanwhile, the Scoobies are meeting at the Magic Box, when they receive a visit from Spike. When he enters, however, he receives open hostility and disdain from the gang, including Dawn. Spike attempts to win some acceptance by giving a somewhat embellished explanation of what happened with Drusilla, but the Scoobies are not fooled. Giles takes command, roughly shoving him against a wall, informing him that the Scoobies are not his friends and that he will never be able to get into a relationship with Buffy, and finally ordering him to get over his feelings for Buffy and leave the Magic Box. After a brief hesitation, Spike departs.
Katrina encounters April at a park, and April uses force to make Katrina admit that Warren is her boyfriend. Warren finally tells April that he can't love her, then April turns on Buffy, and the two fight. Buffy damages April's electrical work, and she is finally stopped. After talking with April in her final moments, Buffy realizes that she doesn't need a man in her life, also admitting that, despite Xander's belief that April was a "crazed robot", Buffy knows she was just trying to do everything she knew how to do to make the one she loved happy, but fails to draw the subtle parallel between April and Spike. Buffy leaves a message for Ben on his answering machine, canceling the date, but Glory listens to the message, not Ben.
Spike confronts Warren about making a robot for him, one based completely on Buffy. Warren refuses, but Spike won't take no for an answer.
Buffy returns home to find that Joyce has been sent flowers from the man she recently had a date with, and calls upstairs to see if Dawn needs picking up. Receiving no answer, Buffy heads into the sitting room to see her mother sprawled across the couch, paled-skin, with opened eyes, and not breathing. Buffy soon realizes something is wrong...
- Unlike the later Buffybot, April is not salvaged and kept for later examination and/or repair; the fate of her inert body is a mystery. Though it is possible that she was recycled for the Buffybot.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Warren Mears, who will return as a major villain in Season Six and then Season Eight.
- When Buffy tells Warren her name and asks him "Do you know who I am?", what she is really asking is if Warren realizes she is the "odd" Sunnydale High student who protected other students from the dangers they almost never admitted exist in the town. Warren answers in the affirmative; the episode clarifies that he spent his senior year at Sunnydale High, meaning that, although this is his first actual appearance, he was "behind the scenes" as a member of the Sunnydale student body throughout Season Three. Warren's status as a Sunnydale alumnus is also referred to in Season Six, where it is revealed that he attended the school play that was attacked by Monkey Demons sent by Andrew Wells (an incident that was itself never actually depicted).
- Katrina is also introduced in this episode. She will return—and be killed by Warren—in the Season Six episode "Dead Things", and later as a ghost in "Villains".
- After than encounter with April, Buffy said she's had it with "super-strong little women who aren't me". This is likely a reference to Glory and Faith.
- The dress Joyce wears for her date with Brian must be her "date dress" look; it's very similar to the one she was wearing when Buffy caught her in the kitchen kissing Ted, three years earlier.
- When the gang discusses April, Dawn mentions that she "always thought" Ted might come back, reminding viewers that although Dawn did not appear in any episode prior to Season Five, she nonetheless remembers them, at least to the extent that any other person in Buffy's household would.
- Joyce dies, an event that will profoundly affect Buffy's outlook throughout the rest of the series. Also, true to the series' style, Joyce's death managed to occur while she was at her happiest. This was true for Jenny Calendar in "Passion" when she died after finding Angel's cure and being forgiven by Giles. In future episodes, Tara will die after reconciling with Willow ("Seeing Red"), and Spike after Buffy states that she loves him ("Chosen").
- Spike shows again his formidable instinctive intuition, being able to figure out that Warren built April, despite having no idea who Warren is and the Scoobies not telling him.
- Buffy says her secret to attracting men is to "Slap them around a bit, torture them and make their lives a living hell". She has actually done this to all her boyfriends/lovers.
- Buffy remarks she has had two boyfriends, presumably she only considers Angel and Riley as qualifying.
- Willow is attracted to April, the first time she ever expresses an appreciation of a woman other than Tara. In season 7 she will be attracted to Dawn and her new girlfriend Kennedy. And in the Angel episode "Orpheus" she's openly (though jokingly) flirting with Fred.
- April's last words are "things are always darkest before..." This could be a reference to Dawn and right before actual dawn when Buffy sacrifices herself in "The Gift".
- April, battery depleted, her mechanisms and circuits maybe recycled as Buffybot
- Joyce Summers, brain aneurysm (her death not confirmed until next episode)
Behind the Scenes
- Joss Whedon has confirmed that April the robot was written (along with "the creation of Warren the villain [and] the Buffybot") with Britney Spears in mind as he considered her performances 'robotic'. However she turned it down, according to David Fury, because she wanted to play a character who hung out with the Scooby Gang rather than a 'sex slave robot'. Britney would go on to guest star on "How I Met Your Mother" with Alyson Hannigan and numerous other Buffy alumni.
- According to David Fury when he questioned the incredible technological abilities of Sunnydale residents (reanimating the dead in 'Some Assembly Required', constructing lifelike robots in 'Ted' and ' I Was Made to Love You') Joss Whedon replied "You're just way overthinking it. The Hellmouth should be able to provide us with anything we want to do; the energy that comes out of it makes mad scientists out of humans who then go ahead and create something evil".
- The final scene of this episode (where Buffy finds Joyce dead, which is also the teaser of the following epiode) was written by Joss Whedon. It does not appear in the shooting script for the episode, which ends with Spike asking Warren to make him a robot of Buffy.
Pop Culture References
- The title of this episode could have been inspired by the KISS song I Was Made for Lovin' You.
- The plot of the episode is somewhat similar to that of the 1985 horror novel Friend in which a teenage girl is killed by her own father, only to be resurrected by her science-loving friend by having a robot chip implanted in her brain. Initially, the friend is able to control her, but she becomes vengeful when flashes of her past memories re-surface and ultimately kills her father and the people who humiliated her and her friend. In 1986, Wes Craven turned the novel into a film, Deadly Friend, starring Kristy Swanson.
- French: Chagrin d'amour (Heartache)
- German: Auf Liebe programmiert (Programmed to love)
- Caviar - "Ok Nightmare"
- Los Straitjackets - "Kawanga!"
- Mellonova - "Hi Dee Ho"
- Thomas Wanker- original score
|Willow - "I'm just saying, people get lonely, and maybe having someone around, even someone you made up... maybe it's easier."|
|Tara - "But it's so weird. I mean, everyone wants a nice normal person to share with, but this guy, if he couldn't find that, I guess it's... kinda sad."|
|Buffy - (to Warren) "So you have girl troubles. They're not talking to you, you're not gettin' dates. You start thinking, 'Hey, this isn't fair'."|
|Warren - "Yeah. I mean, I felt like I deserved to have someone. You know, I mean, everyone deserves to have someone."|
|Buffy - "So naturally you turned to manufacturing."|
|Warren - "Kinda."|
|Xander - "She's a sex bot. I mean, what guy doesn't dream about that? Beautiful girl with no other thought but to please you, willing to do anything." (He gets strange looks from the group.) "Too many girls. I miss Oz. He'd get it. He wouldn't say anything, but he'd get it."|
|Joyce - "Buffy, what do you think? Should I, you know, try to make things romantic, or sorta let him set the pace?"|
|Buffy - "Oh, no. Love Doctor Buffy is not in. I'm not qualified to give dating advice. I've had exactly two boyfriends and they both left. Really left. 'Left town' left."|
|Anya - "Oh, at first it was confusing. Just the idea of computers was like... Whoa! I'm eleven hundred years old here. I had trouble adjusting to the idea of Lutherans."|
|Anya - "She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely."|
|Xander - "Well, some of us like that kind of thing in a girl."|
|Giles - "And you're certain she was a robot?"|
|Buffy - "Absolutely."|
|Tara - "Well, she practically had "Genuine Molded Plastic" stamped on her ass."|
|Spike - "You having fun, pet? You trolling for your next ex? I gotta say, you can do better."|
|Buffy - "I told you-"|
|Spike - "Thought I was gonna leave town? It's a free country. Free party. If you want me to leave, you can put your hands on my hot, tight little body and make me."|
|Giles - "Dear God, Buffy, there's only so much I can take. We're going to have to change the system. A fourteen-year-old's too old to be babysat. And it's not fair on her."|
|Buffy - "What's she make you do?"|
|Giles - "Um, well, we listened to aggressively cheerful music sung by people chosen for their ability to dance. Then we ate cookie dough and talked about boys."|
|Buffy - "I'm sorry. I'm very, very sorry, but if it makes you feel any better, my "fun time Buffy party night" involved watching a robot throw Spike through a window, so if you wanna trade... No... Wait... I wouldn't give that memory up for anything."|
|Buffy - "Ow. I don't know about you guys, but I've had it with super-strong little women who aren't me."|
|Warren - "She was exactly what I wanted, and I didn't want her."(laughs crazily) "I thought I was going crazy."|
|Buffy - "Really? You?"|
|Warren - "Then something happened." (sits next to her) "Katrina was in my engineering seminar, and she was really funny and cool. You know, she was always givin' me a hard time, real... unpredictable. She builds these little model monorails that run with magnets, and... (pauses, looks at Buffy) Anyway. (shrugs) I fell in love with Katrina."|
|Giles - "We are not your friends. We are not your way to Buffy. There is no way to Buffy. (hands Spike his blanket) Clear out of here. And Spike, this thing... get over it."|
|Spike - (smirks) "I don't know what you mean."|
|Giles - "Yes, you do. Move the hell on."|
|Warren - (yelling) "April! April, are you there?" (normal voice) "If the batteries are still working and she hears my voice, then... she'll answer."|
|Buffy - "She's voice-activated?"|
|Warren - "Well, I made it so that if she heard me and she didn't answer, it causes this kind of feedback."|
|Buffy - "Wait, if you call her and she doesn't answer, it hurts her?" (he looks embarrassed) "You're one creepy little dweeb, Warren."|