"Innocence" is the fourteenth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the twenty-sixth episode in the series. Written and directed by Joss Whedon, it was originally broadcast on January 20, 1998, on The WB network.
THE CONCLUSION OF A SHOCKING TWO PART EPISODE — After Buffy shares an intimate moment with Angel which extinguishes his human soul, she is left with the realization that she must destroy the now-evil Angel who has transformed into his previous persona of Angelus. Meanwhile, Giles' relationship with Jenny Calendar takes on a new twist when he discovers that she is a member of the gypsy family who gave Angel his human soul, and Willow's hopes of a relationship with Xander are dashed when she discovers Xander and Cordelia's secret romance.
After having sex with Buffy earlier that night, Angel escapes into the alley with a piercing pain in his chest. When a woman tries to help him a few minutes later, he bites her neck, killing her.
In the factory, Spike and Drusilla are waiting as the Judge gathers his strength. Suddenly Drusilla gets a vision that initially causes her pain, but she then starts smiling as she realizes something good is coming for them.
Buffy wakes up and, finding Angel gone, quickly gets dressed and leaves to find him.
In the factory, Drusilla is naming all the stars in the sky (the same name) when suddenly Angel enters. Not knowing about the transformation, Spike quickly sets the Judge on Angel. Spike and Drusilla wait for the Judge to burn him, but nothing happens. Confused, they ask what's wrong and Judge responds that there is nothing to burn — he is clean of humanity. Spike and Drusilla are amazed as they realize Angel's soul is gone and he is one of them again.
The two can barely believe what's happened. Drusilla dances around in celebration at Angel returning home, and even Spike is pleased to see his mentor is back to his old evil self and makes a remark about how he hated seeing Angel as the Slayer's "lapdog." The couple invite Angel to join them in using the Judge to destroy the world, and while he's happy to participate he asks them to hold off for a day as he wants to get revenge on Buffy first. Drusilla realizes that Angel really wants to make Buffy suffer, and Angel tells him that she made him feel like a human: "That's not the kind of thing you just forgive."
In the library, the gang are worried about Buffy and Angel since neither reported in the previous evening. Thinking they may have been captured, Willow and Xander tell everyone to prepare to visit the factory before Buffy walks in looking for Angel.
While researching a way to defeat the Judge, a demon whom "no weapon forged" can harm, Xander and Cordelia get caught kissing in the library by a crushed and furious Willow, who tells Xander that he'd rather be with someone he hates than her. She runs out in distress.
In Angel's apartment, Buffy finds Angel and tries to talk to him about the previous night. However, intent on emotionally breaking her, Angel makes several cutting remarks about the previous night, making it seem like he was just using her, and reminding her that it wasn't his first time. Buffy becomes upset at this sudden change and tries to reach the man she knew, but Angel just half-heartedly promises to call her. Buffy is left distraught.
Jenny visits her uncle Enyos again, who informs her that it's too late: Angel's suffering has ended and his soul is gone.
At school, Willow returns and talks to Xander. She makes it clear she doesn't understand why he's with Cordelia — and doesn't want to — but realizes that there are bigger problems right now. They discuss the Judge and Xander confirms there's no new information. However, the conversation does cause a flash of inspiration in Xander and he suddenly has an idea.
Before he can go into it, suddenly the lights go out and Willow and Xander worry before they see Angel, hidden in the dark. He sends Xander to get the others and invites Willow to him with the promise of "showing her something." Willow starts to walk towards him, when Jenny arrives and tells Willow to get away. However, Willow doesn't leave quickly enough and Angel grabs her by the neck, ready to kill her. Buffy arrives, and Angel makes it clear that he's evil now and intends to kill all her friends as a message. However, Xander manages to get behind Angel and shoves a cross in his face, causing him to let Willow go. Buffy takes the chance to attack in order to save Xander, but Angel grabs her and forcibly kisses her, promising that things are about to get interesting. He leaves, and Buffy is left devastated over what has just happened.
In the library, the gang discuss this alarming turn of events. Willow tries to comfort Buffy, but then she realizes that Jenny knew Angel had turned before he revealed himself. Jenny lies that she saw his face in the darkness. Giles knows that something set off this transformation, and Buffy realizes that it was having sex with Angel that caused him to lose his soul. Buffy, overwhelmed by what's happening, leaves in distress as Willow realizes the two slept together.
Xander tells the others that he has a plan to defeat the Judge but he needs Cordelia's help for it to work. He mentions that they also need transport, and Willow tells him that they can use Oz's van. Xander refuses to tell Cordelia her part in the plan, and they agree to meet later. As for Buffy, Willow and Jenny decide that she needs some time alone. Everyone agrees, hating to think what Buffy is going through.
Buffy returns home and attempts to hold herself together, but after seeing the cross that Angel gave her and his ring still on her finger, finally suffers an emotional meltdown and collapses onto her bed, sobbing uncontrollably. Falling asleep, Buffy has another dream where she's initially with Angel making love before standing in a graveyard with him and Jenny, and Buffy realizes that Jenny knows more than she's letting on. The next day, Buffy confronts Jenny by slamming her on a desk, and although Giles tries to stop her, Jenny shocks him when she admits that she is a member of the clan that originally cursed Angel. Reluctantly, she confesses that it was a moment of total happiness that caused him to lose his soul. Buffy tells her to curse Angel again, but Jenny explains that the magic is long since lost to her people. When Buffy, Jenny, and Giles visit Enyos for answers, they find that Angel has brutally murdered him, leaving the message "Was it good for you too?" daubed in blood. Giles tells Buffy that Angel is trying to make it harder for her, but Buffy feels that he's just making it easier, knowing she'll have to kill him.
After being driven there by Willow and Oz, Xander and Cordelia sneak into a military base. When a soldier confronts him, Xander claims that he's giving Cordelia the "tour," a.k.a. looking to "turn her on" by making out near weaponry. He pretends he's going to tell the soldier's superior that he's not in regulation, and that convinces the soldier to leave them alone for a few minutes. Cordelia asks him where he got all the knowledge he just used, and Xander admits that all the knowledge he gained from turning into a soldier on Halloween is still with him. The two then steal a large box. In the van, Willow asks Oz if he wants to make out. Oz tells her that he is looking forward to kissing her but declines, as he realizes she only wants to kiss to make Xander jealous. As a result, Willow's respect and feelings for Oz grow.
The four return to the library with their "present" for Buffy. When Jenny tries to help, both Buffy and Giles order her to leave, emotionally hurt over the secrets she's been keeping.
After Xander gives Buffy a crash course in how to work her new "present," the gang head to the factory only to find it seemingly empty. Spike is hiding, only because he knows he's no match for them in his weakened state. They realize that Angel, Drusilla, and the Judge are making their move, but don't know where they're going. They work out the Judge will go somewhere with a lot of people, but can't figure out where. Oz suggests a place: "If I were gonna line up [to be massacred], I know where I'd go."
Angel, Drusilla, the Judge, and a gang of vampires arrive at a mall multiplex filled with people. Angel has the exits sealed, and the Judge starts to burn everyone inside. At the last second Buffy shoots him with an arrow, trying to distract him and temporarily saving the mall-goers. The Judge is unconcerned, and reminds her that "no weapon forged" can kill him. Buffy shows him times have changed and pulls out her "present," which is actually a rocket launcher. Angel and Drusilla realize what is about to happen and dive out of the way. The Slayer prepares the weapon, and a confused Judge asks "What's that do?" as she fires at him, the projectile blowing him into tiny pieces. Drusilla, distressed, quickly leaves and Angel slips away too. However, Buffy follows Angel, telling the gang to pick up the pieces and keep them separate, just as the mall's sprinkler system starts to go off.
Buffy searches for Angel, only for him to jump on her. He boasts that he only pretended to love her, but Buffy tells him she knows he isn't the man she loved. Angel doesn't believe her, noting that she still made him what he is. The two, soaking wet from the sprinklers, fight, and Buffy manages to overpower him. She pulls out a stake, but Angel tells her that he knows she can't kill him. Buffy knows he's right, and instead knees him in the groin. As Angel falls to the floor, Buffy tells him it's only a matter of time.
Giles drives Buffy home and she feels awful for putting her friends in serious danger. Giles assures her that, although she did act irresponsibly, it is obvious that she and Angel loved each other. He warns that the next few months will be hard on them all, but reassures her that she still has his support and respect.
Later, Buffy is watching a movie, and her mother sits down next to her, presenting her with a birthday cupcake. She promises that she'll take Buffy out shopping soon. Joyce asks Buffy what she did for her birthday, and Buffy simply answers that she got older. Joyce lights the candle on the cupcake and reminds Buffy to make a wish, however Buffy chooses not to and instead leaves it to burn before cuddling up in the arms of her mother.
- The final Big Bad for this season is revealed. He'll have his final battle with Buffy in "Becoming, Part Two."
- Waking up alone after having sex for the first time, Buffy will retain this apprehension of the morning after with her future partners. She will wake up abandoned by Parker in "The Harsh Light of Day," be surprised to see Riley in "The I in Team," and ask about Spike's evilness in Love Dares You, Part Three.
- This is the first instance where Xander reveals he has retained military knowledge from the events of "Halloween."
- Willow learns of Xander and Cordelia's relationship, which began in "What's My Line? Part Two."
- The rocket launcher will be used once again in Buffy's attempts to kill Robin Wood, in the episode "Him."
- Although Buffy gets the drop on Angel when she first learns he is a vampire ("Angel") and tries to goad him into fighting her when she comes back from visiting her father in L.A. ("When She Was Bad"), it is not until this episode that they engage in their first actual fight with one another.
- Jenny's past and ulterior motives for being in Sunnydale are revealed, hidden since her first appearance in "I Robot, You Jane."
- It's established that there are various degrees of evil in vampires; Angel does not have enough humanity for the Judge to burn him in this episode, but Dalton had enough in "Surprise."
- When Angel tells Spike "To kill this girl [Buffy], you have to love her," it's an unintentional foreshadowing of Spike's future feelings for the Slayer, to be established in "Out of My Mind."
- In Time of Your Life, Part Three, Willow will affirm about Buffy: "If you hate her, she'll be harder to kill," mirroring Angel's phrasing from this episode.
- Oz joins a Scooby mission, aiding them in stealing the rocket launcher and joining them in going to the factory and the mall. In the previous episode ("Surprise"), Willow told Oz the truth about Sunnydale.
- Jennifer Calendar
- Cordelia Chase
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Mr. Miller
- Daniel Osbourne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Joyce Summers
- Willy (Only mentioned)
- Unidentified soldier (Innocence)
- Unidentified woman (Innocence)
Organizations and titles
- New York City (Only mentioned)
- Broadway (Only mentioned)
Rituals and spells
- Ritual of Restoration (Only mentioned)
- Unidentified woman, bitten by Angel.
- Enyos, killed by Angel.
- Unidentified man, burned by the Judge at the mall.
- The Judge, blown to pieces by Buffy with a rocket launcher.
Behind the scenes
- Asked about his decision to turn Angel evil, Joss Whedon said that he felt it was necessary to keep the story fresh. Although the fan base wanted Buffy and Angel to be together romantically, Whedon said, "What people want is not what they need."
- The scene where Angel dumps Buffy in his apartment was initially supposed to take place when she goes to her house. While shooting the scene on Buffy's lawn, the scene didn't feel good enough, so Whedon moved it the the bedroom: "She had to see him in the bedroom. She had to see him with his shirt off, and it had to be as intimate a scene as possible." Buffy is still heard saying she saw him at "the house."
- In the flashback scenes of Buffy and Angel having sex, the sound is not from David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar's breathing, but rather Joss Whedon and supervising sound editor Cindy Rabideau. Whedon says that this was the first sexual scene he had ever shot, and he was too embarrassed to ask the actors to vocalize it.
- It was first considered that a tank would be used against the Judge, but David Greenwalt suggested the rocket launcher instead. Whedon explained: "We knew [the tank] was something we could never do, and we could never afford. And then we suddenly knew that [the rocket launcher was] what we desperately needed."
- The multiplex set was in a closed Robinsons-May department store on South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles.
- This episode was the highest rated episode of Buffy ever, scoring a 5.2 Nielsen rating and a 6.7 overnight rating, with each ratings point representing 980,000 households. In millions of viewers, this episode scored the biggest of the series (8.2 million).
- "Innocence" marked the show's permanent move from Mondays to Tuesdays. As a result of the switch, the episode originally aired just one day after "Surprise."
- This exchange was cut for length:
- Enyos: "You! Evil one!"
- Angel: "Evil one? Oh, man, now I've got hurt feelings."
- Enyos: "What do you want?"
- Angel: "A whole lot. Got a lot of lost time to make up for. Say, I guess that's kind of your fault, isn't it? You Gypsy types, you go and curse people, you really don't care who gets hurt. Of course, you did give me an escape clause, so I gotta thank you for that."
- Enyos: "You are an abomination. The day you stop suffering for your crimes, you are no longer worthy of a human soul."
- Angel: "Well, that pesky little critter's all gone. So we can get down to business… Don't worry, it won't hurt a bit… after the first hour."
- The following line from the Judge was cut from the script for length:
- Spike: "So let's take some! I'm bored!"
- Judge: "I fought an army. They hacked me to pieces. For six hundred years my living head lay in a box buried in the ground. I've learned to be patient."
- The actors credited as "Teacher" and "Student" do not actually appear in the episode. The scene would happen before Buffy goes to Angel's apartment:
- The clock reads 1:43 pm. Buffy sits as a teacher drones on about history. Buffy looks out the window, looks at her hands, at the clock. Her mind clearly not on her studies.
- Teacher: "So, can somebody tell me some of the differences between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks? What really separated them? Anyone?"
- The teacher looks to Buffy, who stares back for a moment. Buffy rises and walks out of the class.
- Teacher: "Miss Summers, I'm sorry, did you have somewhere important to be?"
- Buffy doesn't hear. She's gone. Willow and Xander watch her go, puzzled.
Pop culture references
- Buffy calls the Judge a Smurf, the fictional characters known for their blue skin.
- Cordelia tells Xander he can do research with the I Can Read! line of beginning reading books.
- Angel quotes lyrics from The Jackson 5's song "I'll Be There" (1970) to Spike.
- Angel jokes about going to fulfill his Broadway dream, in reference to the New York street known for its theatrical performances.
- Buffy and Angel fight in front of posters for the film Quest for Camelot (1998).
- Buffy and Joyce watch the musical Stowaway (1936).
- You can see Drusilla reflecting off of the brass plate behind her when the explosion takes place.
- After Angel reveals himself at the school, Xander tells Cordelia to meet him at Willow's house in half an hour. However, the heist does not actually take place until the next day (in between the two scenes, Buffy falls asleep and confronts Jenny the next morning). The mistake could be explained with Xander and Cordelia having met up with Willow and Oz to go over the plan before going through with it the following evening.
- The explosion of the rocket actually begins slightly before impacting the Judge. Whedon explains it as necessary because they "had to mask the rocket bouncing off of the statue."
- Christophe Beck — "Yesterday on Buffy"
- Christophe Beck — "Spike My Boy"
- Christophe Beck — "What's That Do?"
- Christophe Beck — "Get Out"
- Christophe Beck — "Moment of Happiness"
- Alice Faye — "Goodnight My Love"
- Armenian: "Անմեղություն" (Innocence)
- Czech: "Nevinnost" (Innocence)
- Finnish: "Enkeli vai Paholainen?" (Angel or Demon?)
- French: "Innocence — partie 2" (Innocence — part 2)
- German: "Der gefallene Engel" (The Fallen Angel)
- Hungarian: "Ártatlanság" (Innocence)
- Italian: "Un Attimo di Felicità" (A Moment of Happiness)
- Japanese: "高潔" (Purity)
- Polish: "Koniec z niewinnością" (End of Innocence)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Inocência" (Innocence)
- Romanian: "Inocență" (Innocence)
- Russian: "Невинность" (Innocence)
- Spanish (Latin America): "Inocencia" (Innocence)
- Spanish (Spain): "Inocencia" (Innocence)
- Swedish: "Oskuld" (Innocence)
- The book The Angel Chronicles, Volume 3 includes a novelization of this episode.
- The episode script was included in The Script Book: Season Two, Volume 3 and as a special feature in The Complete Second Season on DVD.
- Joss Whedon provided the audio commentaries for this episode.
- This episode is included in The Buffy & Angel Chronicles VHS collection.
- This episode is included in The Slayer Collection: Angel DVD.
- The episode's score is partially featured in the album Buffy the Vampire Slayer Soundtrack Collection.
Behind the scenes
|Dru: "I'm naming all the stars."|
|Spike: "You can't see the stars, love; that's the ceiling. Also, it's day."|
|Dru: "I can see them, but I've named them all the same name, and there's terrible confusion."|
|Spike: "Do you know what happens to Angel?"|
|Angel: "Well, he moves to New York and tries to fulfill that Broadway dream. It's tough sledding, but one day he's working in the chorus when the big star twists her ankle."|
|Oz: "So, do you guys steal weapons from the army a lot?"|
|Willow: "Well we don't have cable so we have to make our own fun."|
|Xander: "Whoa, whoa! I think I'm havin' a thought. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a thought. Now I'm havin' a plan." (the lights go out) "And now I'm havin' a wiggins."|
|Willow: "I knew it! I knew it! Well, not 'knew it' in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know. You two were fighting way too much. It's not natural!"|
|Xander: "I know it's weird…"|
|Willow: "Weird? It's against all laws of god and man! It's Cordelia! Remember? The We Hate Cordelia Club, of which you are the treasurer."|
|Xander: "Look, I was gonna tell you."|
|Willow: "Gee, what stopped you? Could it be shame?"|
- "The Mortuary." Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
- Laura Miller, "The man behind the Slayer - Page 2." Salon, May 20, 2003. Archived from the original on December 8, 2009.
- Joss Whedon. The Complete Second Season on DVD; audio commentaries for the episode "Innocence." [DVD]. 20th Century Fox.
- Christopher Golden, 20 Years of Slaying: The Watcher's Guide. Simon & Schuster, October 2017.
- "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Second Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on April 13, 2008.
- Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder. The Watcher's Guide, Volume 1. Pocket Books, October 1998.
- Joss Whedon et al. The Script Book: Season Two, Volume 3. Simon & Schuster, November 2002.