The Watcher is the twentieth issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine comic book series. Joss Whedon is the executive producer.


The loss of the world’s magic has finally hit Buffy. Hard. As friends and family continue to fall, Buffy is helpless… and Xander is beyond fed up with helplessness – and Buffy! He is so finally ready to do something about it![1]


In a flashback to the chamber of the Seed of Wonder, Xander and Buffy stood over Giles' corpse. Above them, Angel, who had been released from Twilight's hold upon the shattering of the Seed, ignorantly wondered whether or not they had won the battle. Xander's inner monologue revealed his indignation with only ever being able to watch his friends die. Unaware of what he had done, Angel was promptly kneeling beside an uncontrollably sobbing Buffy, unsuccessfully trying to comfort her. When he had gently asked her what had happened to Giles, Xander's rage was unleashed. He lashed out and punched Angel into the wall, angrily informing him that he was the one who killed him.  

Realizing what happened, Angel tried to defend himself, stating as Xander pounded him into a wall that he had been controlled by Twilight. Xander declared to Angel that he always had an excuse, but that he didn't care. He took up the broken Scythe, and just as he was about to stake Angel, he was stopped by a tearful Buffy. She had desperately pleaded to him: "Please. I can't lose anybody else. I can't lose you, Xander." Reluctantly, he relented to his friend's pleas. As Xander and Buffy sadly watched over Giles' body, they reflected on Xander's constant feelings of uselessness in regards to helping those he loved.

In Andrew's apartment in San Francisco, Xander sat with an unconscious Dawn, while Buffy tried to tell him that the only way they would ever be able to help her sister was if they worked together. She expressed that all their other companions – Faith, Kennedy, Spike, Eldre Koh and the Council – were either not present, or were useless in such a predicament. Xander, who had chosen to separate himself from anything supernatural, angrily had Andrew speak to Buffy for him. When Buffy exclaimed that what had happened to Dawn had not been her fault, Xander stormed out of the room.

Outside, he walked down an empty street and thought about how he had departed the "big bad world" for Dawn's sake. In his apartment, he looked at an old photograph of Buffy, Dawn and Joyce Summers – in the picture, Dawn's form was translucent. As he crumpled the picture in frustration, Xander was suddenly transported to Severin and Simone's location. Xander made an immediate attempt to attack Simone, but was stopped when she pointed a handgun at him. Severin snatched the photograph from Xander's hand, and observed that he was about to lose Dawn. Severin once again made it clear that he was going through with his plans for his deceased girlfriend's sake. Xander asked what he had to do with either Severin or Simone—Simone told him that both he had Severin were similar because they had lost someone as a result of Buffy's influence.

On the roof of Andrew's apartment building, Buffy and Andrew talked about rescuing Dawn—Andrew told her that he knew she would find a way to save her sister regardless of what Xander believed. Just after Buffy thanked Andrew, Willow suddenly appeared. She presented Buffy with the newly formed Scythe, and then healed a scar on her forehead – Buffy realized that Willow had managed to regain her ability to use magic. The two hugged on the roof in relief and greeting.

Back with Xander, Simone reminded him that Dawn was soon going to disappear completely. Severin then declared that, thanks to Illyria's power, he could turn back time and undo every event involving Twilight – including Dawn's illness and his own girlfriend's transformation into a zompire. He told Xander that all he needed him to do was steal the Slayer Handbook Giles had left Buffy in his will. Though at first reluctant to betray Buffy, Xander eventually decided to go along with Severin's plan in the hopes of saving Dawn.


  • Flashbacks of the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Seed were revealed, taking place between Last Gleaming, Part Four and Part Five.
  • Xander reflects on the many deaths he had been unable to prevent, only being reduced to a spectator: Tara Maclay in "Seeing Red", Anya Jenkins in "Chosen", Renee in Wolves at the Gate, Part Three, and Giles in Last Gleaming, Part Four.
  • Willow Rosenberg returned to San Francisco after her adventures in "Willow: Wonderland," bringing with her the newly reformed Scythe.
  • Xander brutally beat up Angel and almost succeeded in killing him before stopped by Buffy. A few years before, Xander had also attempted to kill a defenseless Spike similarly in "Entropy."
  • Buffy harshly told off Andrew by implying he was someone she didn't trust, in reference to his misguided plan with the Buffybot revealed in Apart (of Me), Part One.
  • Buffy desperately reasoned to Xander over killing Angel in the flashback, miserably stating "I can't lose anyone else. I can't lose you, Xander." Xander had once earlier done something similar when Buffy had set out to kill Faith to save Angel's life in "Graduation Day, Part One". ("I just don't want to lose you.")
  • In the flashback, Angel had half-heartedly defended himself over Giles' death, explaining that he was possessed when he did it. Yet in the majority of Angel & Faith afterwards, he expressed constant guilt over killing him and saw himself as entirely responsible.
  • Xander's inner insecurities of helplessness and feelings of uselessness were seen many times throughout the series, most prominently in "Restless," "Two to Go," and "Potential."
  • The photograph Xander was holding was seen to have Dawn fading out in it. Five years earlier, the same photograph portrayed a see-through Dawn in "No Place Like Home" to also emphasis the point of her not being a real person.
  • Buffy irritably mentions that Faith was "occupied and self-centered" so she couldn't help them with Dawn. It was revealed in What You Want, Not What You Need, Part One  that the reason for this was that Faith, along with Angel, had both lost their fabricated memories of Dawn, her magical essence already fading away.



Titles and Organizations



Weapons and Objects

Behind the Scenes


Pop Culture References

  • Xander sports a B.P.R.D patch on his jacket.
  • Xander calls Simone Tank Girl due to their similar appearance.


Cover Artwork



Xander Harris: "I've watched a lot of people die. Tara. Anya. Renee. Giles. But that's what I do. Watch. And watch. And watch. It builds up in you. Hides in you. Becomes a part of you. You don't even know it's there. Until it finally makes you do something besides watch."
- The Watcher
Xander Harris to Angel: "You always have an excuse. Guess what? I don't care."
- The Watcher
Xander Harris: "As much as I hate agreeing with tank girl, maybe she's right. Maybe I don't have to watch this time. Maybe I don't have to feel so... useless."
- The Watcher


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