Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 7, Episode 9
709 NeverLeaveMe
Air date November 26, 2002
Written by Drew Goddard
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
"Bring on the Night"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Emma Caulfield Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg Dawn
James Marsters Spike
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Guest Starring
Danny Strong Jonathan
Adam Busch Warren
Tom Lenk Andrew
Cynthia Lamontagne Lydia
Oliver Muirhead Phillip
Kris Iyer Nigel
Harris Yulin Quentin Travers
D. B. Woodside Principal Wood
Co Starring
Donald Bishop Butcher
Camden Toy Übervamp
Bobby Brewer Hoffman
Roberto Santos Grimes
Rob Nagle Robson

"Never Leave Me" is the ninth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred thirty-first episode altogether. It was written by Drew Goddard and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on November 26, 2002.

The Scooby Gang begins to realize the magnitude of their peril. The Summers' home gains two captives: Spike and Andrew.


Xander worked to repair the living room window while Dawn, Willow, and Anya helped clean up and discussed the potential danger that was Spike. Wearing a trench coat like Spike's, Andrew was coached by Warren to continue playing his part in the game. Warren explained that because he could not take corporeal form, Andrew was a crucial player. Warren then morphed into Jonathan to continue the encouragement. Andrew stressed that he could not kill anymore, but Jonathan did not consider that to be a problem. Buffy tried to offer comforting words to Spike while she tied him down to a chair. He just instructed her to tie the rope tighter so he could not get free.

709 NeverLeaveMe1

Make it tighter—the knots'll give. I get free, someone's gonna die.

Principal Wood lectured two students about damaging school property and ultimately threatened the students into repairing their mistake. Dawn dropped by his office and informed him that Buffy was sick and was unable to attend work. Buffy calls the Watcher's Council trying to track down Giles, however Quentin Travers informs her they've had little contact with him since he left Sunnydale. He promises to look into the matter, and upon hanging up he tells the group of Watchers that he is with that Buffyknows nothing and they need to find Giles quickly. Buffy checked on Spike, but he was struggling to control his blood lust after tasting so much human blood. He vamped and snapped at her, but remained tied to the chair. Buffy and Willow talked about Spike outside the room and Willow offered to get him some animal blood to help ease his cravings.

Warren coached Andrew on killing a pig, but Andrew failed horribly and resorted to going to the butcher shop to get the blood that they needed. At the butcher shop, Andrew ordered an array of meats and pig's blood, but as he was leaving, he literally ran into Willow and spilled his purchases on the ground. Noticing Willow has seen the blood, Andrew ran from her, but she caught up to him and used his assumption that she was evil to frighten him. She took him back to Buffy's house with her, pointing out his suspicious behavior and purchase of animal blood to the rest of the group. Xander and Anya interrogated Andrew while he was tied to a chair, but he did not have any answers they wanted to hear. Anya snapped and slapped Andrew before Xander pulled her out of the room.

Upstairs, Buffy fed Spike some of the animal blood Willow bought as Anya and Xander met in the bathroom to rave about their performance with Andrew. They complimented each other about their strategies before Buffy joined them. Although none of them have information yet, they were sure they would get some soon. Back in the bedroom, Spike was calmed and talked to Buffy about how little he remembered about his killings. She asked about how he got his soul and he told her about his extensive efforts. He explained how he now understands that she used him in attempts to deal with her own self-hatred. Also, at that point, after falling in love with her and acquiring a soul, he had come to hate himself.

709 NeverLeaveMe2

Spike attacks Andrew.

Xander returned to Andrew and changed tactic to politeness. He untied Andrew and offered him water while using Anya's ability to hurt men as a threat. Anya came charging in and attacked Andrew, intending to beat his knowledge out of him. Buffy left Spike momentarily to investigate Andrew's cries for help, but left as soon as Anya and Xander assured her they had things under control. When she left, the hallucination of Spike appeared and started to talk to the real Spike. Buffy heard Spike talking and humming a song through the door to her room and when she went back inside, she found him acting different. He asked for blood, but as soon as she turned away, he broke free from his chair and knocked her down. While Andrew leaned against a wall and started to talk to Anya about the Seal of Danzalthar in the next room over, Spike punched through the wall, grabbed Andrew, and viciously bit him.

Buffy pulled Spike off of Andrew and knocked Spike out with a powerful kick. Buffy talked to the gang about Spike's strange behavior and based on Buffy's information, Xander concluded that some sort of evil is using a trigger to activate Spike's killer instincts. Buffy instructed the gang to begin researching so they can figure out what they were dealing with. At the high school, Principal Wood was leaving his office, but detoured through the basement where he found Jonathan's dead body on top of the seal.


The Watchers Council HQ is destroyed.

Buffy went down to the basement to clean up Spike's wounds while he lay chained up to a brick wall. He woke up and did not understand why he has no memory of his actions. He ordered her to kill him because she did not know what the real Spike was like and what he was capable of. Spike also claimed he was not something she was prepared to handle. He taunted her with some of the evil actions of his past. Again, he railed at her about her feelings and accused her of needing pain from men, but she did not let his verbal assault rattle her. She claimed to believe in him and thinks that he has changed and she should not give up on him yet.

Suddenly, the windows and doors broke all over the house as robed figures attack the Scooby Gang. In a deserted location, Principal Wood buried Jonathan's body. The gang fought a vicious battle with the robed figures that attacked them. Dawn handled herself pretty well with a couple of them while Buffy chased one upstairs and protected Andrew from being killed. Most of the robed figures were disabled or killed, but they didn't come for Buffy and the gang; they came for Spike.

Down in the basement, Buffy and Xander found that Spike's chains were empty and he was nowhere to be seen. Buffy recognized the faces of the robed figures as Harbingers of Death (aka "Bringers") working for the First Evil, the entity that attempted to coerce Angel into killing himself in "Amends". She then realized that the ghosts haunting them, the games being played on them, and the impending danger that would come from beneath are all connected to the First Evil.

Meanwhile, watchers report to Quentin about the numerous attacks on the Council around the world. Quentin confirmed that the First Evil was responsible. He quoted Proverbs 24:6 and ordered the Watchers to prepare for their greatest challenge. Seconds later, the Watchers Council headquarters exploded. In the school basement, Spike was strapped to a circular contraption and the Bringers cut sigils into Spike's skin. The First talked to Spike and blamed him for this happening to him. The First then morphed into Buffy. Soon after, she kept on taunting Spike as the contraption was raised up to the ceiling, turning Spike face-first over the symbol on the ground. As Spike's blood falls onto the symbol beneath him, the seal began to open, allowing a real vampire to emerge.


  • The headquarters of the Watchers Council was destroyed, killing many of the Watchers, including Lydia, Nigel, Phillip and Quentin Travers. It is later revealed that Caleb was responsible. However, Wesley refers to the Watchers Academy being in Hampshire rather than London, so presumably the organization is not entirely destroyed.
  • The first Turok-Han vampire is released by the First and will be a major threat against Buffy for a few episodes.
  • Andrew is also tied up, knocked out, and bitten by a vampire in this episode as nearly every Scooby has.
  • Anya refers to Spike's singing with the words "Maybe it's another musical.", relating to the events in Once More, with Feeling.
  • This is the second episode in Season Seven (the other being "Beneath You") to feature an image toward the end of Spike being crucified on a cross, foreshadowing that Spike will sacrifice himself in the series finale to close the Hellmouth.

Body Count

  • One Harbinger of Death, killed by Xander
  • Two Harbingers of Death, killed by Buffy with a dagger
  • Quentin Travers, killed in the bomb explosion by Caleb
  • Lydia, killed in the bomb explosion by Caleb
  • Phillip, killed in the bomb explosion by Caleb
  • Nigel, killed in the bomb explosion by Caleb
  • Unidentified watchers, killed in the bomb explosion by Caleb



Behind the Scenes


  • This was the last episode to feature Harris Yulin as Quentin Travers. It was aired on the same night as Yulin's first appearance on 24.
  • Willow's enormous powers, even if she is not fully in control of them, forced the writers to figure out a way to keep her from being part of every fight. Here, she is immediately knocked unconscious when the Bringers attack. The same plot device is used in "Get It Done".

Deleted Scenes

  • This line where Xander plays the good cop was cut due to length:
Xander: "I know. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I get that. But they don't. They need your answers. It does seem suspicious, you know, you buying the blood."
Andrew: "That blood wasn't for me. I was just buying meat."

Pop Culture References

  • The title is derived from the refrain from the English folk song "Early One Morning," which is also the subliminal trigger that causes Spike to kill people, overriding both his soul and the pain chip implanted in his brain.
  • Andrew references the 1990 film Ghost when he talks to the First in the guise of Warren about corporeal and non-corporeal forms; in Ghost Patrick Swayze appears to Demi Moore in a non-corporeal form similar to Warren/The First.
  • Andrew and the First in the guise of Warren again provide us with no end of Star Wars references.
  • As Andrew jumps to kill the piglet, he shouts "That'll do, pig," a famous line from the movie Babe.
  • When Andrew is at the butcher shop, the butcher says "This is a butcher shop, Neo, we don't sell toothpaste." a reference to The Matrix and Andrew's new "look." The scene itself may be patterned after a convenience-store scene from the 1973 film American Graffiti in which a teenager tries to buy alcohol by slipping it into a list of unrelated items, much as Andrew attempts to deflect attention from his buying blood.
  • The Bible passage quoted by Travers before his death is Proverbs 24:6.
  • Quentin Travers makes a reference to a speech by Winston Churchill on September 9, 1941. He was paraphrasing the final two lines of the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley with these lines: "We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls."
  • When Xander is explaining what is happening to Spike, he says "Trigger," and Anya responds "The horse?" This is a reference to Trigger the Horse, famous from American Western films.


Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • When Buffy leaves her bedroom to check on Xander and Anya she walks out of her bedroom and into the landing, then enters Dawn's bedroom from there. However there is a door connecting their two bedrooms.


  • This episode is Spike-centric.
  • In classic Whedonesque irony, The Watchers Council is wiped out right as they come to the conclusion of their series-long arc. Just as they realize out is their duty to provide the Slayer with support, rather than tell her what to do from afar with no regard for her personal safety, and are about to travel to Sunnydale to finally assume their intended role, they are destroyed.


Buffy - "He's been feeding on humans for weeks. Having some pretty bad withdrawal. I think we need to get him some blood."
Willow - "Want me to kill Anya?"
The First - "I was going to bleed Andrew, but you look a lot better with your shirt off."
Xander - "Usually the operative completes his task and either blows his head off or steals a submarine."
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