Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 7, Episode 16
716 Storyteller
Air date February 25, 2003
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Marita Grabiak
Episode Guide
"Get It Done"
"Lies My Parents Told Me"
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
Iyari Limon Kennedy
Sarah Hagan Amanda
Indigo Rona
D. B. Woodside Principal Wood
Co Starring
Alan Loayza Stressed Out Boy
David Wells Cheese Man
Corin Norton Crying Girl
Sujata DeChoudhury Shy Girl
T.W. Leshner Feral Teen
Clara Bryant Molly
Erik Betts Vamp #2
Chi Muoi Lo Craig Fong

"Storyteller" is the sixteenth episode of the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the one hundred thirty-eighth episode altogether. It was written by Jane Espenson and directed by Marita Grabiak. It originally broadcast on February 25, 2003.

"Storyteller" refers to Andrew Wells, who became a pseudo-member of the Scooby Gang after being one of the The Trio, Buffy's enemies in Season Six, and has been held hostage at since Summers' home since early in the season. Andrew composes a video documentary narrating the apocalyptic adventures of Buffy and the Scooby Gang.


716 Storyteller1

Anya: Why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?

Andrew, taking refuge in the bathroom, describes his own version of "Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyrs" to a video camera (imagining that he is situated in an old library with a roaring fire, dressed in a smoking jacket and holding a pipe, not unlike Masterpiece Theatre). His dramatic narrative of her exploits is cut short when Anya knocks on the bathroom door. He tries to explain his actions, and Anya is unsatisfied (reminding him of Buffy's irritated reaction the previous night, when he had followed her on patrol). He explains his desire to make a record of the events leading up to the apocalypse, in case humans survive, so that they will know what Buffy and her allies did.

Later, Andrew talks to the video camera and uses his big white board to illustrate and explain the array of evil forces in Sunnydale. He continues to interview the residents of the house, starting with the Potential Slayers. He introduces a romanticized version of everyone to the camera (in his fantasy, Buffy seductively pours cereal, Spike appears without a shirt, and Anya eats from a bunch of grapes). Buffy reiterates her irritation with Andrew's behavior. As she describes her vision of vampire armies to her friends, Andrew sneaks away to continues his narrative, describing an idyllic scene of himself as leader of the Trio. As Buffy continues to talk, Andrew observes Willow and Kennedy and recounts his encounter with Dark Willow. Altering the past, Andrew imagines himself standing up to Evil Willow and deflecting her power while Jonathan meekly hides behind him.

716 Storyteller2

Robin (possessed): Evil is what evil does, and I know what you're doing.

Buffy arrives at the school to find two boys fighting, a shy girl turning invisible because nobody notices her, and various other disturbances. Buffy finds Principal Wood, who has just been injured by a thrown rock. As she bandages his head, they discuss the bizarre (yet familiar) chaos dominating the school. She explains her suspicions that the activation of the Seal of Danzalthar is behind the morning's chaos. They investigate the newly-uncovered seal in the school basement. As Robin gets close to the seal, he is infused with evil. In a demonic voice, he berates Buffy for her involvement with Spike. The connection is broken when Buffy pulls him away from the seal, leaving Robin with no memory of the possession.

Meanwhile, at the Summers' home, Andrew films Dawn, then praises Xander's expert repairs to the windows (ignoring Willow and Kennedy, who are kissing in the living room). He re-interviews Xander and Anya, prying into their feelings about their ruined wedding. Afterward, the two to talk to each other about what happened and what feelings still exist between them. In the basement, Spike tells Andrew and his camera to get lost; Andrew interrupts with a lighting correction, and Spike (performing for the camera) enthusiastically repeats his verbal assault. Upstairs, Xander and Anya discuss their love for each other; they are recorded by a hidden camera, which Andrew reviews later. When Buffy and Robin arrive, they inform Andrew that he is going to help them deal with the Seal (which, at this point, is surrounded by five possessed students and glowing with light).

The gang drills Andrew for information about the seal and tries to force out his memories with a special charm. He remembers an event from Mexico, where he had fled with Jonathan the year before. In his memory, he and Jonathan suddenly wake from the same nightmare, both haunted by their evil pasts. After Jonathan leaves the room, the First appears to Andrew in Warren's form, questioning his progress in obtaining the knife necessary to sacrifice Jonathan. In the present, Willow asks Andrew where that knife is now (Buffy's silverware drawer). The knife is engraved with a language that is tied to the seal, and Willow begins to research.

716 Storyteller3

Buffy: Stop! Stop telling stories. Life isn't a story.

Buffy tells Andrew that she believes that he can help her quiet the Seal. They leave for the school, accompanied by Spike and Robin. They arrive to find that the school is being destroyed by ongoing student riots. Andrew tries to film their walk through the halls, but they are attacked by several strong students. Buffy and Andrew make their way to the basement while Spike and Robin guard the stairway entrance. As they walk, Andrew tells Buffy about what happened when he killed Jonathan however in this version he refuses to do the deed when goaded by the First in the form of Warren, however when Jonathan sees the knife he attacks Andrew which results in his accidental stabbing (followed by Andrew dramatically screaming for his fallen friend). When Buffy mentions Wood's earlier possession, Andrew instantly changes his story so that he stabbed Jonathan while under the seal's thrall. They enter the basement room carefully and find five students standing around the seal, their eyes freshly cut and sealed (like Bringers). In the Summers' basement, Xander and Anya revel in the aftermath of having sex again before talking about moving on with their lives (a conversation that fades into an awkward silence).

At the school, Spike and Robin are attacked by more students. Spike inadvertently confirms his role in the murder of Robin's mother, and Robin makes a failed attempt to stake Spike; in the chaos of the fight, his actions go unnoticed. Buffy battles the new Bringers while Andrew records the scene with his camera. Once she has killed the Bringers, Buffy pulls out the knife and advances on Andrew, revealing that they must spill his blood to quiet the Seal, since he was the one who initially activated it. Buffy describes the bitter prospects for their future, and chastises his constant attempts to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. Andrew, frightened to tears, admits how he willingly murdered Jonathan despite knowing deep down that he wasn't really dealing with Warren, and how he is sorry. He tells Buffy that he deserves whatever happens to him. Buffy leans Andrew over the Seal so that his tears fall on its surface. The Seal closes and becomes quiet. Buffy reveals to Andrew that tears, not blood, were necessary to close the seal; she had no plans to kill him. The students around the school are released, and the violence stops.

Later, a sad Andrew talks to the camera in the bathroom again, confessing that he probably will die, and that he deserves to. Then, without another word, he shuts the camera off.


  • This episode serves as a partial standalone story, while at the same time addressing the ongoing concern that Buffy's constant speeches and nagging of the Potentials is getting on their nerves. Andrew steps out of the room while Buffy gives a speech (indicating her vision of hundreds of Turok-Han from the previous episode, "Get It Done") and even Willow appears bored with it from the young nerd's perspective.
  • The episode continues the "back to the beginning" theme of the season by addressing earlier incidents from Sunnydale High's past. Buffy notices a student turning invisible because no one has noticed her, echoing the events of Season One's "Out of Mind, Out of Sight". Buffy mentions that she's seen all of the things happening before, but several incidents (the exploding student, the talking mirror) were not featured in any episodes.
  • Other past episode references include the swim team monsters from "Go Fish" and the Hell Hounds from "The Prom". Buffy also mentions people's emotions manifesting physically, possibly referring, among others, to "Witch".
  • When interviewing Xander and Anya, Andrew mentions that it has been exactly one year since Xander left Anya at the altar. "Storyteller" and "Hell's Bells" were both the sixteenth episodes of their respective seasons.
  • The pig that Robin hopes isn't a student is the pig that Andrew kept failing to kill in "Never Leave Me". How it managed to survive in the basement all this time is uncertain.
  • This episode marks the last appearances of Jonathan and Warren in the TV show. In the Season Eight comic, Warren reappears as a minion of Twilight and Jonathan makes a brief cameo in a fantasy Andrew is having.
  • When The First (as Warren) asks Andrew, in his flashback, to show him the recently acquired knife, he misinterprets the request as referring to the assortment of other weapons sold by the demon that had the knife. He explains that he didn't actually buy them, but begins describing them before The First cuts him off. A nearly identical conversation occurs in "First Date", between Andrew and The First (as Jonathan), about the gun that had been hidden in Buffy's underwear drawer, and again in "End of Days" between himself and Anya about a rash he once had.
  • Andrew has flashbacks to several episodes, including "Two to Go". Willow's parts are unaltered directly from the episode.
  • Andrew brings his video camera out again in Buffy Season 8 issue 28, Retreat.
  • Andrew calls Xander "the heart of the Slayer machine." This references the Enjoining Spell, which Xander served as "the heart" for.
  • After having sex with Xander, Anya states that they are now "really over" and "can move on". It's similar to her declaration in "The Harsh Light of Day" following their first time having sex, where she says "So I'm over you now."

Body Count

  • Two vampires staked by Buffy.
  • A very stressed out boy literally explodes due to stress.



  • Sunnydale, CA
  • Somewhere in Mexico (in Andrew's flashback)

Behind the Scenes


  • The monster of the Mutant Enemy Productions logo, instead of saying his famous "Grr, Argh!", sings "We are as gooooooods!!!" (something that Andrew yelled early in the episode)

Deleted Scenes

  • This exchange was cut due to length:
Wood: "I think out biggest problem is here in the music room. I fear there could be open hostilities between swing choir and marching band."
Buffy: "I don't know if we can keep a lid on this all by ourselves. We might need some kind of help."
Wood: Like what? Police?"
  • This exchange was also cut due to length:
Buffy: "We had to call in guards to keep the place from going up like a prison riot."
Andrew: "Oh my."
Wood: "The guards were still clearing kids out of there when we left."

Pop Culture References

  • Books shown in the opening sequence include collections of Shakespeare and Nietzsche, and also Marvel Treasury Edition #13, open to the splash page of the Hulk story from Tales to Astonish #93, "He Who Strikes the Silver Surfer."
  • Andrew's request for a "nice, refreshing Zima" was an in-joke for Jane Espenson, who had worked on that advertising campaign years earlier.
  • After Buffy explains the strange things she's seen occurring at Sunnydale High to him,Robin Wood says "So what? it's like Hell's a-bustin out all over?" Referencing the song "June is Bustin out all over" from the musical Carousel

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors 

  • After Anya says "But why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?", Tom Lenk briefly lets out a smirk before the opening credits.
  • After breaking up the hallway fight, Buffy notices a shy girl turning invisible. In the widescreen version of this episode, the girl is clearly visible on the left side of the screen and when Buffy "slaps" her, she clearly does not make contact.
  • When Andrew is speaking with Warren/The First in Mexico, Andrew is barefoot when he gets out of the bed. But when it cuts to him grabbing a box out from under the bed, he is wearing sandals.


International titles

  • German: Der Geschichtenerzähler (The Storyteller)
  • French: Sous influence (Under the influence)


  • The voice in the nightmare says in Spanish "Desde abajo te devora", that is, "From beneath, it devours you". Andrew and Jonathan hear it as "Desme adbul te debora", and incorrectly translate it as "It eats you, starting from your bottom."
  • This episode is Andrew-centric.


Andrew - "Oh, hello there gentle viewers! You caught me catching up on an old favorite. It's wonderful to get lost in a story, isn't it? Adventures and heroics and discovery, don't they just take you away?"
Warren - "What will it do to Buffy?"
Andrew - "Make her super-magnetic!"
Jonathan - "Wow! She won't be able to get out of her car!"
Warren - "And knives and other sharp things will fly at her!"
Andrew - "We could walk right by her and she wouldn't be able to stop us."
Warren - "Unless we're wearing metal belt buckles. Then we'd stick to her."
Andrew - "In my plan ... we are beltless."
Buffy - "Are you still filming me? Stop."
Andrew - "But it's a valuable record. A-An important document for the ages. 'A Slayer in Action.'"
Buffy - ""A Nerd in Pain". Would they like that? 'Cause we could do that."
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