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"The Replacement" is the third episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, and the eighty-first episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by James A. Contner, it was originally broadcast on October 10, 2000, on The WB network.


NICHOLAS BRENDON'S IDENTICAL TWIN BROTHER GUEST-STARS — When a crafty demon out Buffy hunting accidentally catches Xander in his sights, a mysterious Xander double is born. Two Xanders aren't better than one as the evil double quickly takes over Xander's identity, fooling everyone including Buffy, and starts living Xander's life with a flourish.[1]


Xander and Anya watch a movie with Buffy and Riley while listening to the background noise of Xander's drunken parents fighting and yelling upstairs. The next day, the gang looks at a potential new apartment for Xander. He doesn't think he can afford it and this upsets Anya. Giles receives a visit from a demon searching for the Slayer. He later identifies the demon as Toth, the only survivor of the Tothric Clan.

The Scoobies check out the city dump in search of the demon and find Spike collecting. The demon hits Xander with light from a rod and knocks him to the ground. He gets to his feet and walks off with the rest of the gang, but there is another Xander still lying in a pile of trash. The next morning, one Xander awakens at the city dump and then discovers his double upon returning to his house. Meanwhile, Spike has put together a Buffy doll from mannequin parts which he uses to practice beating up on.

One of the Xanders is very confident and observant and gets a promotion at work, signs a lease for the apartment, and sets up a date with Anya. The other, hasty and emotional Xander watches as all this happens and finally confronts his double. After the two Xanders see each other, the confident Xander talks to Buffy and she makes this a matter of Slayer business.

Soaked by the rain, the "hasty" Xander goes to Willow and tries to explain that this double is taking over his life. He tells Willow that the double is doing a better job of living his life but then suddenly realizes that his double is going after Anya and that is one thing he won't allow.

Anya and the "confident" Xander discuss their future and Anya expresses her fears about not living forever. Giles discovers that the rod Toth used split Xander into two real Xanders, one with weak qualities and the other with strong qualities. Toth's actual plan had been to split Buffy into her human and Slayer forms, then killing the human Buffy as neither side can survive without the other. The hasty Xander crashes the date between confident Xander and Anya. Both think that the other is a demon and the hasty Xander pulls out a handgun he got from Anya's apartment.

Buffy tells the doubles the truth about their situation and tries to convince them not to kill each other. Toth appears at the apartment, only Buffy and Riley fight and kill him. The Xander halves eventually begin to get along, and their actions become so similar to each other that the comment is made that Xander is a "bad influence" on himself. Giles and Willow research and come up with a way to reunite the Xander halves, but Anya expresses disappointment over this as she wants both to stick around for some sexual shenanigans, much to the disturbance of the others. Willow ends the spell and makes Xander one again. While moving Xander into his new apartment, Xander and Riley talk. Riley confesses that despite how much he loves Buffy, he realizes that she doesn't feel the same.


  • Anya still has her arm on a sling, as she dislocated her shoulder when facing Harmony Gang in "Real Me."
  • Xander mentions that Buffy has been in hell, a reference to the factory dimension she went to in the episode "Anne."
  • When Buffy and Dawn argue, Joyce grabs her head and refers to her "'two teenage girls in the house' headache." While she is likely being sarcastic, this exchange is a prelude to the brain tumor she will treat, beginning in the next episode.
  • Xander gets a promotion at his construction job, which is the beginning of Xander being shown to have more responsibility on construction sites in later episodes. In "Once More, with Feeling," he tells Anya he had to shut his own crew for the day; in "Lessons," he arrives wearing a suit; and in "Showtime," he indicates that he may be responsible for multiple construction sites.
  • Riley mentions Buffy's obsession with "bad ice skating movies." Buffy's interest in ice skating had been previously mentioned in "What's My Line? Part One."
  • Xander does the "Snoopy dance" to Willow, which she noted she likes seeing him do when she goes to his house to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas ("Passion").
  • Xander suggests that his double could be a robot designed to look like him, which happens to Buffy later in the season when Warren builds the Buffybot.
  • Xander brushes off Willow's criticism by wondering how she would handle an evil twin. Willow mutters "I handled it fine," a reference to her her counterpart from the Wishverse she faced in "Doppelgängland."
  • Xander notices Anya's conflict in being human and mortal, which she became in "The Wish."
  • Riley tells Buffy that he's in love with her, and she doesn't answer him. The only time she ever said she loved him was in the Angel episode "Sanctuary," when Riley wasn't present. He first declared his love for her in the episode "Who Are You?" (when Faith was in her body), then told Buffy that he was "so in love" with her in "The Yoko Factor," and will tell her that she was the first woman he ever loved in "As You Were."
  • Riley mentions his interest in psychological experiments on the Xander halves, as he used to be a TA in Maggie Walsh's Introduction to Psychology class ("The Freshman").
  • Xander says he envies Riley, but for his sanity and not for Buffy, saying, "Not that I'm still into Buffy. Not that I ever was." This is a reference to Xander's crush on Buffy in their first years of friendship, as declared in episodes such as "Welcome to the Hellmouth," "Prophecy Girl," and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered."
  • Riley reveals to Xander that he knows that Buffy doesn't love him back, which serves as the first solid indication of trouble in their relationship and a prelude to their upcoming break-up ("Into the Woods").



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Toth, killed by Buffy with a sword.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Nicholas Brendon's real-life twin brother Kelly Donovan is his body double for this episode. In almost all of the scenes, Nicholas Brendon played both halves of Xander, with Kelly Donovan playing the double with the non-speaking role. Kelly only spoke in the scenes where both Xander halves had speaking lines.


  • "The Replacement" had an audience of 3.5 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Pop culture references[]

  • Buffy, Riley, Xander, and Anya watch the movie Duel of the Iron Fist.
  • Xander offers SpaghettiOs canned pasta.
  • Xander jokes about buying a Klingon costume, a reference to the species from Star Trek.
  • Xander mentions watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and imitates the dances of the character Snoopy.
  • When Riley is driving Giles's car, Buffy remarks, "Ultimate Driving Machine, my ass" in reference to BMW's branding slogan.
  • When Xander is feeling despair over how his double seems to be doing everything better than him, he says, "Take my life, please!" This is a riff on the famous one-liner by comedian Henny Youngman: "Take my wife, please!"
  • Xander is unsure which Founding Father is on the nickel: George Washington (who is on the quarter) or Thomas Jefferson.
  • Xander quotes "Kill us both, Spock" in reference to the Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy," in which Kirk tells Spock to shoot both himself and Garth of Izar disguised as Kirk.
  • Xander makes a comment about his commemorative plates of the Babylon 5 franchise.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Խաբկանք" (Deception)
  • Czech: "Záměna" (Replacement)
  • Finnish: "Jakautunut persoona" (Split Personality)
  • French: "Le Double" (The Double)
  • German: "Der doppelte Xander" (The Double Xander)
  • Hungarian: "A személyiségek" (The Personalities)
  • Italian: "Due gocce d'acqua" (Two Drops of Water)
  • Japanese: "代替品" (Replacement)
  • Polish: "Wymiana" (Replacement)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Substituto" (The Substitute)
  • Romanian: "Substitutul" (Substitute)
  • Russian: "Подмена" (Replacement)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Mi doble" (My Double)
  • Spanish (Spain): "La sustitución" (The Replacement)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Xander: "Maybe it's time to start looking for a new place... Buffy you've been to hell. They had one bedrooms, right?"
Xander: "On my seventh birthday, I wanted a toy fire truck, and I didn't get it, and you were real nice about it, and then the house next door burnt down, and then real firetrucks came, and for years I thought you set the fire for me. And if you did, you can tell me!"
Buffy: "Well, if this guy wants to fight with weapons, I've got it covered from 'A' to 'Z' — from ax to... zee other ax."
Riley: "Psychologically, this is fascinating. Doesn't it make everyone wanna lock them in separate rooms and do experiments on them? Just me, then."
Riley: "Hey, I'm well aware of how lucky I am. Like, lottery lucky. Buffy's like nobody else in the world. When I'm with her, it's like... it's like I'm split in two. Half of me is just on fire, going crazy if I'm not touching her. The other half is so still and peaceful, just perfectly content... just knows: this is the one. But she doesn't love me."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fifth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 8, 2008.