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"Pangs" is the eighth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the sixty-fourth episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Michael Lange, it was originally broadcast on November 23, 1999, on The WB network.


A DRAMATIC "BUFFY"/"ANGEL" TWO-HOUR EVENT — Unbeknownst to Buffy, Angel lurks in the shadows of Sunnydale trying to protect her and keep her safe, while her perfect Thanksgiving feast is disrupted by an army of Chumash Indians, the original inhabitants of Sunnydale, whose spirits have come alive to recreate the wrongs that were done to their people.[1]


Buffy tracks and kills a vampire while Angel watches her from behind some bushes. In the next day, UC Sunnydale has a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cultural Center building, and Xander is one of the construction workers. Buffy, Willow, and Anya watch, and while Anya imagines sex with Xander, Buffy and Willow talk about the meaning of Thanksgiving. Xander begins to dig, the ground suddenly caves out under him and he drops into an old abandoned building, which turns out to be the old Sunnydale Mission.

Buffy is upset that her mother, Joyce, is going to be out of town for Thanksgiving, but then decides to cook her own Thanksgiving dinner and invite all their friends. Covered in a blanket and in terrible shape, Spike runs through the woods, trying to escape Riley and his team as they look for him. Anya arrives at Xander's to find him incredibly sick, and right away starts taking care of him. A green haze comes up from the old Mission and goes to the Cultural Center where some weapons are being kept. After the haze comes in contact with a spear, it turns into a large Native American man and kills Professor Gerhardt. Buffy and Willow later secretly investigate the murder, and wonder why the curator's body was missing an ear. They discover that a Chumash knife is missing. Buffy tells Giles about the murder while planning to have Thanksgiving at his place.

After Giles agrees to look up information on the Chumash people, and Buffy leaves, Angel appears from the back room, having traveled to Sunnydale due to his friend's visions of Buffy in danger. He and Giles talk about watching over Buffy. Angel tells him he doesn't want Buffy to know, though keeping a secret from Buffy is hard for both of them. Buffy and Willow talk about preparations for Thanksgiving and then Riley shows up. Buffy invites Riley to her Thanksgiving dinner, but he already has plans to visit family in Iowa. Willow goes to get coffee and runs into Angel. He tells her he's not evil, and that he's just looking out for Buffy because she might be in trouble. He quickly explains he's not here for personal reasons and only to keep Buffy safe, though contradicts that sentence when he asks who's the guy talking to Buffy, displaying suspicion and jealousy.

Starving, Spike tries to get food from Harmony, but she threatens him with a stake and he leaves. Buffy goes to find Father Gabriel, a priest who may have information for them, but finds that a returning Chumash spirit has killed him. After the mission was uncovered, his spirit was released to reenact the wrongs that were done to his people. Buffy and Giles talk about it, while working on dinner and then Willow shows up with a stack of books on the Chumash. She explains that while they once were peaceful, the people of Sunnydale horribly mistreated them. Cutting off a victim's ear is a way to prove that the kill was successful. Willow and Giles argue about what happened between the Native Americans and the people who took their land and their lives. When Buffy goes to the kitchen, the two talk secretly about Angel's reappearance.

Anya practically carries Xander to Giles's place, and after some research, they determine that he probably has malaria, smallpox, and syphilis — some of the diseases that took a terrible toll when brought from Europe to a population without resistance.

With only a blanket to protect him from the sun, Spike shows up at Giles's place asking for help. Buffy is reluctant to give it, but after he offers inside information on the Initiative, and Willow helps him explain that he can't bite anyone anymore, they bring him inside and tie him to a chair. Everyone begins to argue about what they're going to do to stop the avenging spirit. Willow doesn't want to kill him, but everyone else argues that that's the only way. While Willow, Anya and a weakened Xander go to find the Dean and warn him his life may be in danger, the spirit calls forth more spirits to help him get revenge for their people.

The spirits attack Buffy, Giles and Spike with arrows. Helplessly tied to a chair, all Spike can do is try to move out of the way as he gets hit with arrows. Willow, Xander and Anya encounter Angel on their way back and they determine that the Chumash went after Buffy. Buffy tries to go for more weapons, but gets an arrow in the arm. After riding over on bicycles, the Scooby Gang tries to attack the Chumash spirits as best they can with shovels. Angel shows up and helps them out. Buffy cuts one of the Chumash with his own knife and discovers that their own weapons can kill them. The spirit turns into a large black bear, which Spike desperately tries to get away from and ends up knocking the chair over. Buffy struggles with the bear and then stabs it. All the avenging spirits disappear.

Angel walks away without being seen by Buffy, and later, the gang sits down to Thanksgiving dinner. Still tied to a chair, Spike sits with them and whines that he still hasn't been fed. Xander accidentally lets it slip that Angel was in town.


  • This episode is preceded by the Angel episode "The Bachelor Party," in which Doyle received a vision of Buffy in trouble. Later, Buffy follows Angel back to Los Angeles, as seen in "I Will Remember You."
  • Xander begins working in construction. His last job was bartending in "Beer Bad," and he will grow into a career in construction until the end of the series (One Year Later).
  • Willow considers what else could be buried in Sunnydale, like the church where the Master was trapped, foreshadowing her raising the buried Temple of Proserpexa ("Grave").
  • Harmony threatens to kill Spike with a stake, reminding him that he had done the same to her in "The Harsh Light of Day."
  • Willow asks Angel about Cordelia working for him, which she's been doing since the episode "Lonely Heart." She probably knows about it due to Oz's visit to Angel Investigations ("In the Dark").
  • Xander will refer to his affliction in this episode during "Buffy vs. Dracula." Anya later refers to the syphilis as well during a song in "Once More, with Feeling."
  • This is the last time Angel would appear in Giles's house, the first time since the reinvite in "Amends."
  • Angel says he had forgotten how bad it feels to watch over Buffy without being able to help her; he's done so since she was called as a Slayer ("Becoming, Part One") and will continue keeping tabs on her from afar ("The Girl in Question").
  • Angel reminds Giles that watching over Buffy isn't his job either, since he was fired from the Watchers Council in "Helpless." He asks if this would make him walk away from her, which Giles will consider in "Buffy vs. Dracula" and eventually do in "Tabula Rasa."
  • Buffy goes to find Father Gabriel in an unidentified monastery; in "Empty Places," it's established that the mission is in Gilroy and has a secret room with a message about the Slayer.
  • This episode is the first time Angel sees Riley, visibly jealous of him talking to Buffy. After learning about their relationship in "Sanctuary," Angel recognizes Riley as Buffy's boyfriend in "The Yoko Factor."
  • Anya acts as if she is meeting Angel for the first time; they had, however, briefly met during the rite to send back Vamp Willow to the Wishverse in "Doppelgängland."



Organizations and titles[]





Death count[]

  • Jamie, stake by Buffy.
  • Unidentified man, blood drained by a vampire group.
  • Professor Gerhardt, killed by Hus with his knife.
  • Father Gabriel, hanged by Hus.
  • Hus, stabbed by Buffy in the neck with his own knife.
  • Six Chumash warriors, destroyed with Hun's defeat.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The actual Chumash people was entrenched along the California Central Coast — including around modern Santa Barbara, a probable real-life counterpart to Sunnydale — and numbered as many as 20,000 people before contact with Europeans. The tribe survives today as the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash, which has U.S. recognition as a Native American tribe and controls a reservation and casino in Santa Ynez, California.
  • The establishing shot of the monastery is of Mission Santa Inés in Solvang, California. The interior scenes were filmed in the Mission San Fernando Rey de España, in Los Angeles.
  • Sophia Crawford performed Buffy's stunts with a real bear named Bonkers in the studio.[2]
  • The diegetic audio from the last scene continues for a brief moment into the closing credits, a technique also used in the episodes "I Robot, You Jane," "Lie to Me," "Homecoming," "Helpless," "Doomed," "Out of My Mind," among others.
  • This is the first of three episodes to feature Buffy's three primary love interests (Angel, Spike, and Riley). The others are "The Yoko Factor" and "Fool for Love," although Angel appears in the latter only in flashbacks.


  • "Pangs" had an audience of 4.2 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This exchange was cut:[4]
    Xander: "What? I didn't mean— You're an EX-vengeance demon. It's totally different..."
    Anya: (very hurt) "Sure. It's okay."
    Xander: "Anya..."

Pop culture references[]


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Տանջանքներ" (Tortures)
  • Czech: "Staré křivdy" (Old Wrongs)
  • Finnish: "Lemmentuskia" (Pangs of Love)
  • French: "L'Esprit vengeur" (The Avenging Spirit)
  • German: "Der Geist der Qumash" (The Ghost of the Chumash)
  • Hungarian: "Kínok" (Agony)
  • Italian: "Crampi" (Cramps)
  • Japanese: "良心の呵責" (Pangs of of Conscience)
  • Polish: "Wyrzuty sumienia" (Pangs of Conscience)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Agonia" (Agony)
  • Romanian: "Junghi" (Pang)
  • Russian: "Страдания" (Suffering)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Angustia" (Angst)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Remordimientos" (Regrets)
  • Swedish: "Pangs"


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Spike: "I'm saying that Spike had a little trip to the vet, and now he doesn't chase the other puppies any more."
Anya: "I love a ritual sacrifice."
Buffy: "Not really a one of those."
Anya: "To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie."
Giles: "...It's very common for Indian spirits to change to animal form."
Buffy: "Yeah, well it's plenty uncommon for me to freeze up during a fight. I mean, I had the guy, I was ready for the takedown and I stopped. And 'Native American.'"
Giles: "Sorry?"
Buffy: "We don't say 'Indian.'"
Giles: "Oh, right. Yes, yes. Um, always behind on the terms. Still trying not to refer to you lot as 'Bloody Colonials.'"
Buffy: "And the thing is, I like my evil like I like my men. Evil. You know, 'straight up, black hat, tied to the train tracks, soon my electro-ray will destroy Metropolis' bad. Not all mixed up with guilt and the destruction of an indigenous culture."
Spike: "A bear! You made a bear!"
Buffy: "I didn't mean to."
Spike: "Undo it! Undo it!"
Willow: But at least we all worked together. It was like old times.
Xander: Yeah, especially with Angel being here and everything. ...Oops!


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2000.
  2. Sophia Crawford, "Buffy, The Vampire Slayer behind-the-scenes of "Pangs." James Marsters (spike) tied to a chair forced to watch Damon Caro and I duke it..." Instagram, November 2, 2021.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  4. "Pangs Script." Buffy World. Archived from the original on August 14, 2018.