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"Same Time, Same Place" is the third episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 125th episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by James A. Contner, it originally broadcast on October 8, 2002 on the UPN network.

Synopsis

WILLOW'S HOME — Buffy, Xander and Dawn are unable to find Willow, whose return to Sunnydale is marred by a demon who relishes the skin of his victims.[1]

Summary

In the Sunnydale Airport, Buffy, Xander, and Dawn are waiting for Willow's return from England. As passengers leave the plane, Buffy and Dawn discuss the fact they are not sure how they are going to act around Willow, since the last time they saw her, she had killed and was ready to kill them. However, Xander intends to just treat her as he normally would, pointing out that Giles wouldn't have let her return until she'd completely recovered. Buffy then admits that Willow hadn't completed Giles's lessons, causing Dawn to worry. As Buffy assures her sister that Giles would not have sent Willow back if she was any kind of danger to them, Xander realizes all the passengers have disembarked, but there's no sign of Willow.

Meanwhile, in the same spot, Willow leaves the plane with the other passengers; however, Buffy, Dawn and Xander are no longer there waiting for her. Willow is dejected that her friends weren't there to welcome her home.

That night, at a construction site, a boy spray paints a wall of a construction site as a sing-song voice taunts him from the shadows and attacks.

Willow lets herself into the Summers residence, which appears to be vacant. Going up to what used to be her room, but now has been claimed by Buffy, Willow is reminded of Tara's death. She looks through Buffy's planner and sees contact numbers for everyone but herself, deepening her fears that Buffy, Xander and Dawn no longer consider her a friend. A door closes and Willow goes to investigate, but still her friends are nowhere to be seen. Alone, Willow curls up on the couch. Buffy, Xander, and Dawn return home. Giles has confirmed that Willow definitely should have boarded her plane, however she may have diverted during her transfer in Chicago, or may possibly have slipped away and never left England in the first place. They hear a noise upstairs and check it out, but find nothing. In the living room, the three talk about the reason for Willow's disappearance.

The next morning, Willow tries to call Giles but can't get through as he is in a long meeting with the Watchers Council. She then heads for the remains of the Magic Box and finds Anya collecting some things from the now burnt out building. Anya is very cold to her and Willow feels guilty about everything. They talk a bit, and Anya fills Willow in on everyone's activities since she's been gone. Willow checks out Xander's construction site, and instead of Xander, she finds a skinned body. At the same time, Xander and Buffy are looking at the body and the familiar sight, makes them wonder if Willow has gone back to using dark magic. They hear a noise but cannot see a disgusted Willow climbing the ladder behind them to exit the site at that very moment.

Willow walks the halls of Sunnydale High and proceeds down to the basement, where she finds Spike acting insane. He talks to Willow about the dead body, but also carries on a conversation with something or someone else in the room that Willow can't see. Buffy and Xander maneuver through the basement and find Spike seemingly talking to himself. Buffy and Xander try to get information from him, but Spike is simultaneously conversing with Willow, so his words make little sense. Spike suspects they can't see each other and that Willow's responsible for it. Buffy and Xander interpret some of Spike's comments to mean that he knows about Willow and they suspect she might have something to do with Spike's unstable condition.

Willow goes to Anya at her apartment for help in finding the demon that skinned the guy at the construction site. Anya helps Willow cast a spell to locate demons all over Sunnydale. After the spell is complete, Willow asks Anya to teleport to a cave just outside of the town that showed up on the map. But Anya reveals that she can't for non-vengeance business as a result of her recently undoing a spell.

Instead, Willow takes the long way and walks there herself. At the Summers' house, Dawn immediately begins searching on the computer for demons that skin people. Although Buffy thinks it's a waste of time, Dawn soon finds a demon that meets their specifications named Gnarl. The demon paralyzes its victims with its nails, and then eats strips of skin from the body and drinks the blood.

Realizing they need to search for the scent of blood, Buffy decides to recruit Spike to assist in tracking the demon. He leads them to a cave where the demon can be found. Willow is already there investigating the cave, and the Gnarl spots her. The rest of the gang enters the cave as well, but they don't see Willow. The demon scratches Dawn's stomach, inducing paralysis. Buffy and Xander take Dawn out of the cave and blockade the entrance, unintentionally trapping Willow with Gnarl. Trapped in the cave, Willow listens to the demon taunt her from the shadows in its sing-song voice. He slices her abdomen with a nail and thus paralyzed Willow is helpless against him as he sucks at the wound and starts to slice away slivers of her skin to eat.

Buffy and Xander carry a completely paralyzed Dawn into the living room while Buffy researches the Gnarl and the way to save Dawn. Anya is called to stay with Dawn while they prepare to return to the cave to kill the demon and save Dawn. Anya talks about seeing Willow and reveals that Willow may be at the cave. Panicked that Willow is trapped in the cave, Buffy grabs Anya to join them at the cave. Gnarl continues to eat Willow's skin as he tells her that her friends have abandoned her and she's all alone for him to eat. Buffy arrives and attacks Gnarl, while Anya tends to a badly injured Willow, who still can't see her friends. While Buffy fights Gnarl, Anya informs Willow that her friends didn't leave her alone.

Buffy pokes the demon in the eyes with her thumbs, successfully killing it and ending the paralysis on both Willow and Dawn. Buffy and Xander look where they think Willow is, while Anya runs for help, and slowly the spell making them undetectable to each other wears off. Willow is relieved to see her friends and glad they didn't abandon her.

In the morning, Willow meditates and uses magic from the earth to regrow the skin she lost. Buffy stops by to talk with Willow, who Willow reveals that her fear of seeing her friends and their judgment of her led to the invisibility problem from which they all were suffering. Buffy confesses her guilt over briefly suspecting Willow of the grotesque killing when Xander didn't, but Willow doesn't blame her for that. Willow struggles to start meditating again, but she's still weak. Buffy offers her Slayer strength to her friend, and joins in the meditation.

Continuity

  • Xander waits for Willow at the airport with a welcome back sign written in yellow crayon. This is a callback to "Grave," when Xander mentioned to Willow that she cried in kindergarten when she broke a yellow crayon.
  • When Willow walks into her room for the first time since arriving home, she remembers Tara's death from "Seeing Red."
  • Buffy and Xander think of Willow when they see the skinned teenager due to the way she killed Warren in "Villains."
  • The Magic Box is now a condemned building due to the fight between Willow and Giles in "Grave."
  • The demon locator spell Willow and Anya perform is the same Willow attempted with Tara in "Goodbye Iowa."
  • Willow and Anya perform another spell together like they did when they first met in "Doppelgängland."
  • During the spell, the area on the map that represents the high school starts to burn up due to the vast number of dots. This is an early indication of the First Evil's army of Turok-Hans within the Hellmouth ("Get It Done").
  • Willow tells Anya to "teleport like a bunny" before regretting those words, referencing Anya's bunny fear, first mentioned in "Fear, Itself."
  • Anya's falling out with the demon community continues as she reveals that she was stripped of the privilege to idly teleport due to her withdrawing a vengeance spell in "Beneath You."
  • When Spike says "What's a word means 'glowing'... Gotta rhyme," it is an allusion to the episode "Fool for Love," in which Spike, in a flashback as a human, was trying to think of a word that went with "gleaming" for a poem.
  • The website where Dawn finds information about GnarlDemons, Demons, Demons — is the same Cordelia browsed in "The Ring," Sahjhan in "Dad," and Fred in "Forgiving." Willow will also access the website in "Bring on the Night."
  • After Buffy slays Gnarl by jabbing her thumbs in his eyes, Xander remarks "Eww, thumbs?!" Later this season, in "Dirty Girls," Xander will lose an eye from Caleb's thumb.

Appearances

Individuals

Organizations and titles

Species

Locations

Objects

Rituals and spells

Death count

  • Mack, skin extracted by Gnarl.
  • Gnarl, eyes gouged by Buffy.

Behind the scenes

Production

  • This is the only episode of the series not to feature any guest stars billed at the start of the episode.
  • Dawn mentions to Buffy, "and I can wear heels more often." The comment could be a reference to Michelle Trachtenberg's desire to wear heels instead of sneakers in season seven, which she mentioned to Joss Whedon during an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel discussion with cast and crew. This may be because she is already significantly taller than all the other Scooby girls despite being the youngest in the cast.[citation needed]
  • Camden Toy, who portrays Gnarl, appeared in the Buffyverse as one of the Gentlemen in "Hush," will have recurring role throughout the season as an "Ubervamp," and will portray the Prince of Lies in "Why We Fight."

Deleted scenes

  • Dawn would vent further to Buffy and Xander:[2]
Dawn: "Oh, don't give me shock-face. I mean, what I want to know is, will anyone around here ever ask for help when they need it? Instead everyone just keeps secrets, and suffers alone, and then we're supposed to be all sympathetic when they start ripping the skins off people or dragging their sisters into the basement!" (losing confidence) "I may have some stuff to work through."
  • In the promotional trailer for this episode, Spike was shown saying in the school basement: "I mean, who doesn't like skin?", but this line wasn't aired in the episode.

Goofs

  • As Willow first arrives at Buffy's house and is walking up the stairs, the camera pans out and views her from the living room. You can see parts of the set in the top right corner.
  • The demon "Gnarl" is said to be a parasite because he eats the flesh of his victims until they die. This is actually incorrect; parasites do not kill their victims. Gnarl is a parasitoid. He eventually kills his "host" or victim.
  • When the camera focuses on the webpage Dawn reads about Gnarl, it has instead two placeholder sentences written six times: "This text is going to be way to small to react, besides which it is going to scrolling by very fast so it is not necessary that it make any sense. We'll just so some varying length sentences, so it looks like real text." In another shot, from afar, the webpage has written "Gnarl" in red letters in the place of the image.

Pop culture references

  • Spike's quote "Button, button, who's got the button?" is from a children's game, of which there are quite a few variations. One is for a group of people sit in a circle, with one player hiding the button on their person, while another player has to try and guess who has it. Another is closer to hide and seek, where one hider conceals the button somewhere in a room and everyone else has to try to find it.
  • Dawn says "It's smellementary," a play on Sherlock Holmes' catchphrase, "It's elementary!"
  • Xander says "You'll be doing limbo in no time," referring to a game/dance in which the dancers, one by one, bend over backward to pass under a pole that is lowered slightly each time they go under it.

Music

International titles

  • Armenian: "Նույն տեղում, նույն ժամին" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Czech: "Stejný čas, stejné místo" (Same Time, Same Place)
  • Finnish: "Kotiinpaluu" (Homecoming)
  • French: "Vice versa" (Vice Versa)
  • German: "Willows Welt" (Willow's World)
  • Hungarian: "Ugyanakkor, ugyanott" (Same Time, Same Place)
  • Italian: "Stesso posto, stessa ora" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Japanese: "同じ時 同じ場所で" (Same Time, Same Place)
  • Polish: "W tym samym miejscu, o tej samej porze" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Mesmo Tempo, Mesmo Lugar" (Same Time, Same Place)
  • Romanian: "Același loc, aceeași oră" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Russian: "На том же месте, в тот же час" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Mismo lugar, Misma hora" (Same Place, Same Time)
  • Spanish (Spain): "A la misma hora y el mismo lugar" (At the Same Time and the Same Place)
  • Swedish: "Samma tid, samma plats" (Same Time, Same Place)

Adaptations

Gallery

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Quotes

Xander: "I saved the world with talking! From my mouth! My mouth saved the world!"
Xander: "We could ask some questions over at Willy's Place."
Buffy: "Or we could be smart... Sorry, Xander."
Xander: "What?"
Xander: "I found it first thing this morning. I gave my crew the day off, and I called you right away."
Buffy: "I got to get a job where I don't get called right away for this stuff."
Dawn: "When did you get all insightful?"
Anya: "I'm surprisingly sensitive."
Willow: "So, will you help me?"
Anya: "Is it difficult or time-consuming?"
Willow: "Giles says everything's a part of the earth. This bed, the air, us."
Buffy: "Explains why my fingernails get dirty even when I don't do anything."
Willow: "Plus you stuck your thumbs in a demon."

References

  1. "Season 7." Craig's BuffyVERSE 4ever. Retrieved on February 27, 2022.
  2. "Buffy - Same Time, Same Place." Buffy World. Archived from the original on November 3, 2017.
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