"Surprise" is the thirteenth episode of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the twenty-fifth episode in the series. It was written by Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon, and directed by Michael Lange. It originally broadcast on January 19, 1998 on The WB.
PART ONE OF A NOT TO BE MISSED TWO-PART EPISODE — The fate of the world is at stake when Spike and Drusilla gather the dismembered body parts of The Judge — a demon with a deadly touch — from the ends of the earth as their ultimate weapon to extinguish The Slayer. Meanwhile, Angel's ability to feel human emotion is in jeopardy when he and Buffy share an intimate moment which threatens to destroy his soul.
Buffy tosses in her sleep, then wakes up thirsty, but the water glass by her bed is empty. As Drusilla silently follows her, Buffy carries her glass down the hall to find that her bathroom is really the Bronze. Buffy moves through the crowd of people dancing slowly and sees Willow speaking French to an organ-grinder's monkey. She then encounters her mother Joyce, who asks "Do you really think you're ready, Buffy?" before the saucer she holds drops to the floor and breaks. As Joyce turns away, Buffy moves back into the crowd, then turns herself, smiling at something she sees behind her. The crowd has parted and Angel is slowly coming toward her, quietly smiling as well. Suddenly, Drusilla steps up behind Angel and stakes him in the back. Angel, in agony, reaches toward Buffy's reaching hand, but his fingers turn to dust before they can touch. In vamp-face, Drusilla says: "Happy birthday, Buffy." Buffy wakes up with a gasp.
Angel answers a knock at the door of his apartment to find a distraught Buffy, wanting to see with her own eyes that he's all right. Hearing that she dreamed that Drusilla was still alive and killed him, Angel tries to comfort Buffy reasoning with her, but when her anxiety only seems to escalate, he simply kisses her. Completely diverted, Buffy deepens their embrace deepens until she reluctantly pulls away, saying she needs to get to school. Caught himself, Angel agrees she must, then catches her and kisses her again. Feigning resolve, Buffy moves toward the door while Angel stalks her, corners her, and kisses her yet again. Struggling for control, he reminds Buffy to tell him what she'd like for a gift. After a moment, she says "Surprise me." Angel smiles and murmurs "Okay, I will," and kisses her one last time. Buffy confesses that it's becoming harder to say goodbye, no matter whose bedtime it is. Angel agrees.
Walking across school grounds, Buffy tells Willow all. The two friends wonder whether Buffy is ready to take her relationship with Angel to the next level and Willow is awed to hear that Buffy believes it's "sort of inevitable." They spot Oz. Buffy encourages Willow to go talk to him, then continues on her way. Delighted when Oz asks her out, Willow remembers with chagrin that the Scoobies are throwing Buffy a surprise birthday party the following night. Oz is delighted in turn when Willow invites him to go as her date. Inside at their lockers, Xander tries to suggest that Cordelia be his date to the party, since they'll both be going anyway, but she still doesn't want anyone to know about their relationship. Xander stalks away and runs into Giles, then Buffy and Ms. Calendar. The four of them take a table in the lounge area, but Xander doesn't stay long. With Jenny a silent auditor, Buffy fills Giles in about her nightmare and her fears for Angel. Unlike Angel, Giles concedes that Buffy's dream could be a portent, but insists they can protect Angel in any case. Buffy, still worried, goes off to class.
Meanwhile, Spike, confined to a wheelchair and recovering slowly from his injuries, tries to talk Dru into having her party in Vienna to escape further interference from Angel and the Slayer. In contrast, Drusilla seems both entirely cured by the interrupted ritual using Angel's blood and completely unscathed by the ensuing disaster in the church. Nor does she share Spike's emotional distress, dismissing his request to leave Sunnydale and continuing to decorate their lair for the upcoming event. When Dru begins to fuss over the flowers, however, Spike indulges her with a peek into one of her presents. She says "it reeks of death," then slams the box shut.
The next morning, her birthday, Buffy playfully tells her mom she suddenly feels "responsible, mature and level-headed" enough to become a licensed driver, to which Joyce replies: "Uncanny." Buffy continues to plead, but is stunned to hear her mother ask "Do you really think you're ready, Buffy?" and to watch a plate slip from Joyce's fingers and shatter on the kitchen floor. Before class, Jenny arranges her desk and is surprised by a visitor, who turns out to be her uncle Enyos, come to remind her that she is Janna, of the Kalderash people, and must still fulfill her obligations to the clan. She has been sent to Sunnydale to make sure Angel's curse remains intact, but the elder woman of the clan can sense that Angel's pain is lessening. Jenny tells him that "there's a girl" in Angel's life, so her uncle lectures her about the purpose of Angel's curse as cruel vengeance for killing their tribe's favorite daughter, then charges Jenny with the task of separating Angel from the girl.
Meanwhile, in the library, Buffy tells Giles, Willow and Xander that her dream is coming true. Giles agrees that a mad, powerful, surviving Drusilla could pose a substantial threat, so he promises to spend the day further researching her history for any clue to her activities or whereabouts. Buffy agrees to return at 7:00 that evening, and wanders away. Willow and Xander conclude that the current crisis puts the kibosh on their party plans, but Giles insists they celebrate regardless. At night, Jenny intercepts Buffy returning to the library, saying that Giles has changed the plan and wants to meet her somewhere else. Buffy accepts her offer of a ride. Recognizing that they are near the Bronze, Buffy suddenly spots vampire activity around a truck backed up to a well-lit loading dock. Despite Jenny's demurral, Buffy goes to slay them while Jenny, bewildered by the situation, waits in the car. Buffy recognizes the bespectacled Dalton from Spike's crew, but only has time for one taunt before the fight is on. She stakes one of the other vamps and, while she engages with a second, Dalton runs away empty handed.
While Angel and the Scoobies hiding and waiting impatiently for Buffy to arrive, she and the last vamp struggle hand-to-hand, then crash through a smoky window into what turns out to be the very back room at the Bronze. With the battle abruptly inside, Oz — getting his first exposure to slayage as Buffy dusts her opponent with a handy drumstick — reflects that it "explains a lot." Jenny then brings in the oddly-shaped crate left behind by Spike's vamps. Buffy, Angel, and Giles immediately open it. Inside, they find an armored, gauntlet, severed arm, which promptly comes alive and tries to strangle the Slayer. After prying Buffy loose, Angel explains his grim suspicion that Dru is attempting to bring back a powerful demon called the Judge, whose purpose is to rid the world of "the plague of humanity" by "burning the righteous down," leaving only the evil alive.
Recognizing Angel's account, Giles further explains that the Judge could not be killed, even by an entire army, and was only neutralized by being dismembered, with the pieces scattered to "every corner of the earth." Angel warns that if Spike and Dru succeed, reassembling the Judge will "bring forth Armageddon." Giles says they must get the arm out of town and Jenny says that Angel should go. Angel accepts the mission to take the Judge's arm to "the remotest region possible," a trip that could take months. Jenny offers Angel to drive him to the docks. Back at their lair, Dru threatens to poke out Dalton's eyes for losing her present, but Spike convinces her to give the hapless scholar one more chance to find it again. Leaving Jenny to wait in the car, Buffy walks Angel up a dock to the pier where a tramp freighter lies at anchor. Both crying, he gives her the Claddagh ring he chose for her gift. Buffy pleads with Angel to stay, but he hushes her, urging her not to dwell on the time they'll be apart or the dangers they'll each certainly face. After they kiss, Angel is then interrupted by a vampire attack. In the ensuing fight, Buffy is thrown off the pier and Angel leaps into the water after her, leaving Dalton and two vamp thugs to make away with the box containing the Judge's arm.
With the Armageddon-out-of-town mission a bust, the gang (minus Oz and Cordelia) congregates back at the library to research a way to find Dru and stop the Judge. Knowing she hasn't been sleeping well lately, the others let Buffy rest in Giles' office, where she slips into a dream of a huge, dim interior containing candles, greenery and Ms. Calendar. Wearing a long white satin nightgown, the dreaming Slayer bends to examine a collection of variously-shaped boxes that seem to contain other pieces of the Judge. At that moment, Drusilla calls to her from the catwalk above, where she holds a strangely quiescent Angel hostage. When Dru presses a dagger to Angel's throat, Buffy yells and wakes up, with Angel sitting right beside her. Back at the lair, Dru's party gets underway and Spike presents her with the final piece to the puzzle, the Judge's head.
When the last box is in place, the whole structure glows from within and opens down the middle, revealing the blue-skinned horned demon inside. The Judge totters a bit when he steps from his reassembled coffin, and Spike, reaching out to tap the armor breastplate, confronts the demon about his murky intentions and weakened condition. Eager to see some action, Dru offers the Judge a "party favor." The demon chooses Dalton, who apparently still retains some vestige of humanity, and burns the vampire to ash. Dru is wildly excited by the show. Buffy, recognizing the factory location of the vampire lair from her dream, takes Angel on a recon mission, sending the others to various transport locales, just in case the final pieces of the Judge have yet to arrive. At the factory, Buffy and Angel sneak along the catwalk and see Spike and Drusilla entertaining their guests below, among whom is a tall blue demon. Just as they realize what they are seeing, the Judge becomes aware of their presence. Buffy and Angel are immediately captured and brought before the Judge, Spike, and Dru, but manage to break free before the demon can kill them. Together, they escape through the sewers and emerge above ground in the pouring rain. Then, still alive and together, they hold hands and run for the nearest shelter.
Angel sheds his dripping coat as soon as they reach his apartment. To alleviate her uncontrollable shaking, he brings Buffy some dry clothes and urges her to get under the covers "just to get warm." Angel turns his back as she changes, but starts at her audible wince. Sitting on the bed to inspect the small cut on her back, Angel slips the camisole strap from her shoulder and tells her it's already healing, then falls silent and still. Buffy shivers and leans back, tucking herself into his embrace. The Slayer quietly begins to weep while Angel holds her. Buffy says: "You almost went away today," and Angel replies: "We both did." When he tries again to tell her what he wanted to say on the docks, Buffy sits up and turns to face him, and he says: "I love you, Buffy. I try not to, but I can't stop." She tells him she feels the same way, then kisses him. Angel pulls back to murmur "Buffy, maybe we shouldn't…" but Buffy puts her finger to his lips and tells him: "Don't. Just kiss me." He slowly sinks backward beneath her.
Some time later, they lie asleep side by side, Buffy's arm over his chest. Suddenly, Angel sits up with a gasp, then struggles from the bed, all the while thunder and lightening crash outside. He stumbles out to the alley, dressed, where he collapses in agony, crying Buffy's name. Inside, the Slayer sleeps undisturbed.
- Several important plot-lines begin in this episode. Oz and Willow have their first date, commencing one of the longest relationships on the show. Angel is transformed into Angelus, becoming the Big Bad of season two. Spike and Drusilla are established as worthy adversaries, allowing for Spike's eventual return appearances in seasons three and four, and for his permanent membership as regular cast for seasons five, six and seven.
- In the first dream, Willow says "L'hippo a piqué ton pantalon," which means "The hippo stole your pants" in French, while speaking to the monkey. This refers back to her conversation with Oz near the end of "What's My Line? Part Two", in which, intentionally absurd, he wonders if the hippo animal cracker is jealous of the fact that the monkey is the only animal cracker with pants, as well as asserting that "All monkeys are French." Buffy is not shown to have witnessed this conversation, which lends credence to her fear that this dream is prophetic, yielding real information about things outside her direct experience to date.
- Buffy's birthday gift from Angel, her Claddagh ring, not only comes to signify her lost love for the rest of season two, but also plays an important part in the beginning of season three, first as a resonant antecedent to Scott Hope's impromptu gift, and then as a mystical focus for Angel's return from Acathla's hell dimension in "Faith, Hope & Trick".
- This episode begins a tradition of Buffy birthdays gone awry, although Buffy does not celebrate her birthday on-screen in the final season. The 12th or 13th episode of each season is traditionally when Buffy celebrates her birthday; her birthday takes place in episode 12 of Season Three ("Helpless"), episode 12 of Season Four ("A New Man"), episode 13 of Season Five ("Blood Ties") and episode 14 of Season Six ("Older and Far Away"), when Spike suggests Buffy to not celebrate her birthday anymore.
- Angel giving Buffy a Claddagh ring is the first hint that he is of Irish origin, which would be confirmed in "Becoming, Part One" and referenced in many episodes of Angel afterward.
- The hole leading to the sewers created in the factory does not appear in the following episode, nor any future episode where it apparently appears to have been fixed.
- Willow mentions that Buffy had once told her to seize the day. She is referring to "Welcome to the Hellmouth" where Buffy told her that and she did leading to her getting kidnapped by a vampire named Thomas.
- Spike is shown to be severely injured from his ordeal in the church while Drusilla is uninjured and cured. Its shown that Spike's injuries from the organ falling on him and the fire are such that even weeks later he still has burns on his face and is confined to a wheelchair as well as being notably weak. It takes him until "I Only Have Eyes for You" for him to be able to secretly leave the wheelchair and until "Becoming, Part Two" for him to be shown to be fully recovered.
- This episode marks the first time that Angel loses his soul. It will be restored in "Becoming, Part Two" by Willow as her first spell but he would purposefully lose it again in the Angel episode "Awakening." Willow would restore it once again in "Orpheus."
- Jennifer Calendar
- Cordelia Chase
- Rupert Giles
- Alexander Harris
- Harmony Kendall
- Daniel Osbourne
- Willow Rosenberg
- Buffy Summers
- Joyce Summers
Organizations and titles
- Las Vegas (Only mentioned)
Weapons and objects
- Two vampires, dusted by Buffy Summers.
- Dalton, burned by the Judge.
Behind the scenes
- Together with "Innocence", the show transitioned from Mondays to Tuesdays. This was the last episode to be played on a Monday; all subsequent episodes aired on Tuesday.
- "Surprise" had an audience of 4.4 million households.
- This scene was cut for length:
- Jenny: "I guess it makes sense. I mean, all of Buffy's senses are heightened. Why should her intuition be different?"
- Giles: "Precisely. It's not unheard-of for the Slayer to start having prophetic dreams and visions as she approaches adulthood."
- Jenny: "Adulthood? Buffy's seventeen tomorrow, Giles. Don't rush her."
- Giles: "I'm not the one rushing her. While I loathe to say it, the fact is, the Slayer rarely lives into her mid-twenties. It follows that she'd exhibit signs of maturity early on. Her whole life cycle is accelerated."
- Jenny: "Still, you should be careful about treating her like a grown-up. Like this thing with Angel. Have you even talked to her about it?"
- Giles: "I… I suppose I try not to pry."
- Jenny: "Maybe you should, a little. The way she talks, it's clear she has intense feelings for him."
- Giles: "Well, yes. They're friends…"
- Jenny: "They're more than friends, and you know it."
- Giles: "I'm not her father, Jenny."
- Jenny: "She looks up to you. She'll never actually say that, but she does. And I just think, at her age, it's easy to get in over your head. She could make some bad choices here. Trust me on this one."
- Giles: "I'll keep an eye to it. Right now, I'm worried enough trying to think of the right birthday present."
- And also this one:
- Cordelia: "Hello. I'm having, like, a totally random thought. Xander Harris. Is it just me, or does his shirt almost match his pants?"
- Harmony: "Almost. Why do I care?"
- Cordelia: "Well. If you look at him a certain way — Is he vaguely… Cute?"
- Xander: [Doing a spazzy dance for Willow's amusement]
- Harmony: "Oh, yeah. I'm hot for spaz boy. Are you tripping, Cordelia?"
- Cordelia: "You thought I was serious? Please. I was just testing you. Ha. I'm hot for spaz boy. Good one."
Pop culture references
- Xander claims that Buffy currently works as a waitress at Denny's by day, a real world restaurant chain.
- Xander references a popular practical joke of the snake nut can.
Goofs, bloopers & continuity errors
- When Buffy went to Angel to make sure he was still alive after her dream, she said that they never found Drusilla's body. As a vampire, Drusilla's body would turn to dust upon her death.
- When Angel first awakens in pain, he is only clad in underwear, but, when he bursts outside, he's fully dressed.
- Spike aids in Drusilla's plan to end the world with the Judge despite his later revelation that he doesn't actually want the world to end to the point that he aids Buffy against Angelus and Acathla.
- Shawn Clement and Sean Murray ft. Cari Howe — "Anything" (Plays during Buffy's dream.)
- Rasputina — "Transylvanian Concubine" (Plays as Drusilla dances.)
- Christophe Beck — "This Is Nice"
- Christophe Beck — "Buffy Meets Judge"
- Christophe Beck — "Escape"
- Christophe Beck — "Buffy-Angel Love Theme"
- Finnish: "Yllätys" (Surprise)
- French: "Innocence, partie 1" (Innocence, part 1)
- German: "Der Fluch der Zigeuner" (The Curse of the Gypsies)
- Portuguese (Brazil): "Surpresa" (Surprise)
- Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Sorpresa" (Surprise)
- Brian Thompson, who portrays the Judge, also played Luke in "Welcome to the Hellmouth." Both episodes were two-part episodes in which his character died in the second part.
- Angel losing his soul because he attains a moment of pure happiness is reminiscent of the German legend about Faust, a scholar who made a deal with the devil. In gaining all worldly things he agreed that, in return, if he ever attained a moment of pure happiness his soul would forever serve the devil.
- This episode was briefly seen on a TV in the 2014 film The Fault In Our Stars. It was the scene in which Buffy and Angel kisses on his bed after Angel examines the cut on Buffy's back.
|Xander - "Yep, vampires are real. A lot of 'em live in Sunnydale. Will'll fill you in."|
|Willow - "I know it's hard to accept at first."|
|Oz - "Actually, it explains a lot."|
|Angel - "Still, not every dream you have comes true. I mean, what else did you dream last night? Can you remember?"|
|Buffy - "I dreamed… I dreamed that Giles and I opened an office supply warehouse in Vegas."|
|Angel - "See my point?"|
|Oz - "I'm gonna ask you to go out with me tomorrow night. And I'm kinda nervous about it, actually. It's interesting."|
|Willow - "Oh. Well, if it helps at all, I'm gonna say yes."|
|Oz - "Yeah, it helps. It-it creates a comfort zone. Do you wanna go out with me tomorrow night?"|
|Willow - "Oh, I can't!"|
|Oz - "Well, see, I like that you're unpredictable."|
|Giles - "Here comes Buffy. Now remember, discretion is the better part of valor."|
|Xander - "You could have just said "Shh." God, are all you Brits such drama queens?"|
|Giles - "If Drusilla is alive, then it could be a fairly cataclysmic state of affairs."|
|Xander - "Again, so many words. Couldn't you just say we'd be in trouble?"|
|Giles - "Go to class, Xander."|
|Xander - "Gone. Notice the economy of phrasing. 'Gone.' Simple. Direct."|