Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 15
Air date February 22, 2000
Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Michael Gershman
Episode Guide
"Goodbye Iowa"
"Who Are You"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Marc Blucas Riley
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Kristine Sutherland Joyce
Amber Benson Tara
Leonard Roberts Forrest
Bailey Chase Graham
Chet Grissom Detective
Alastair Duncan Collins
Harry Groener Mayor Wilkins
Eliza Dushku Faith
Co Starring
Jeff Ricketts Weatherby
Kevin Owers Smith
Mark Gantt Demon
Kimberly McRae Visitor
Sara Van Horn Older Nurse
Brian Hawley Orderly
Jack Esformes Doctor
Juan Guerra Student

"This Year's Girl" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the seventy-first episode altogether. It was written by Douglas Petrie and directed by Michael Gershman. It originally broadcast on February 22, 2000.

Faith wakes up from her eight month coma and seeks revenge against Buffy Summers. After failing to attack her, she switches bodies with Buffy using a gift given to her by the now long-dead Mayor.


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Faith: Little sis coming. I know.

In a dream sequence, Buffy and Faith put clean sheets on a bed. Buffy says, "I wish I could stay, it's just with....", Faith replies, "...I know, there's so much to do before little sis gets here." Suddenly, Faith's blood begins to drip onto the white sheets. Buffy is revealed to be twisting a knife into Faith's stomach. Faith asks, "are you ever gonna take this thing out?"

Xander Harris is checking out the broken blaster gun from the Initiative in his basement, while the Scoobies look on. Buffy asks him if he can repair it or not. Xander replies, "sure, as soon as i get my masters degree in advanced starship technology." Willow Rosenberg offers suggestions to help, to no avail. Rupert Giles is concerned about Buffy because she's been patrolling non-stop for days without finding Adam. Buffy is worried about Riley Finn because she still hasn't seen him since he was injured. Xander accidentally shocks himself with the blaster, but no one notices. Riley wakes up and tries to leave the hospital, but Forrest Gates and Graham Miller try to talk him out of it. Riley does not change his mind.

At the hospital, Faith, while in her coma, dreams of a picnic with the mayor. Buffy arrives, slits the Mayor's throat and stabs him in the belly with Faith's old knife, then threatens Faith herself. Faith crawls away.

On patrol, Buffy, Willow and Xander find a demon strung up on a tree opened up like a dissection experiment. Back at Xander's, Buffy explains her plans for getting Riley out, which involve fighting her way into the Initiative. Riley appears, explaining that he has simply walked away from the Initiative.

Back at the hospital, Faith has another dream. In the dream, Faith is running through a cemetery while Buffy pursues her. Faith falls into an open grave. Buffy jumps into the grave. A moment later Faith alone climbs out of the grave in her dream. Then Faith awakens from her coma. Pulling free of the tubes in her body, Faith walks out into the hospital halls and encounters a girl. She thinks it's still the day of graduation, but the girl informs her that the school was destroyed and that the Mayor died at the graduation ceremony. After the girl tells Faith the current date, Faith leaves the hospital in the girl's clothes.

Riley and Buffy talk about their jobs working to fight the forces of evil. Buffy tells him he has a choice in what he does with his life. At the hospital, a detective talks with members of the hospital staff. They find a girl, beaten up and stripped, but no Faith. A nurse makes a call, asking for a team to be sent out.

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Faith: What'd you think? I'd wake up and we'd go for tea? You tried to gut me, blondie.

Faith walks around Sunnydale looking at all the things that have changed, visiting the burnt-out shell of Sunnydale High and ending up outside Giles' house and eavesdropping on the Scooby Gang's plans to attack Adam. A phone call informs Buffy that Faith is awake and on the loose. They talk about how they're going to deal with her, but conclude that they'll have to see what condition she is in first. At this point, Riley asks who Faith is.

On campus, Buffy admits to Willow that she gave Riley an edited version of her history with Faith; mostly leaving out the parts involving Angel. They then talk about how to find Faith only to find her waiting for them. The two Slayers talk about everything that has happened and Buffy tries to persuade Faith to give herself up, but Faith refuses and instead promises revenge. The cops then arrive and the two fight briefly before Faith runs.

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Faith talking to Buffy

Willow brings Tara along with her to search for Faith. Xander and Giles go searching the streets for Faith and Adam, but instead encounter Spike. He's not willing to help them, preferring the idea of helping Faith find and kill them all. A helicopter lands, three men carrying briefcases exit and after conversing with the nurse, they go into the hospital.

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The Mayor's gift.

Faith is approached by a demon that tries to give her a gift, but she kills him and runs off with the box. She breaks into a store to watch a video tape of the Mayor on one of the VCRs. Having recorded it just after she fell into her coma, he tells her that if she is watching it then he must be dead and his plan to destroy Sunnydale failed. He then regretfully tells her that the world no longer has a place for her and its only a matter of time before she dies, but then tells her that the enclosed box contains a special gift that will allow her to go out with a bang: a Draconian Katra.

Faith then goes to Buffy's house and punches out Joyce Summers. Keeping Joyce her captive, Faith notes from the piled up mail that it's been quite a while since Buffy visited home and posits that Buffy may not even arrive to save her... only for her to fly through the window as if on cue. The Slayers have a fight that travels through almost every room of the house while Joyce calls the police.

Giles finds the lights don't work at his apartment, but a lamp turns on and the three men with briefcases are there. One of them, Collins, says "Hello Rupert", causing Giles to realize that they are from the Watchers Council.

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The switch.

As the fight between Buffy and Faith gets more intense, the police arrive. Faith puts the gift from the Mayor on her hand and grabs Buffy's hand. A light flows through them and after a few seconds of the two looking at each other in confusion, Buffy punches Faith and knocks her out, leaving her to be arrested. Buffy then smashes the metal contraption from the Mayor and when Joyce asks her if she's okay Buffy responds, "Five by five" revealing (to the audience only) that Faith has switched bodies with Buffy.


  • This is the second episode that foreshadows the arrival of Buffy's sister, Dawn Summers. Both times, Faith was the one who mentioned her, the first time being in the Season 3 finale "Graduation Day, Part 2", when Faith said "Little Miss Muffet, counting down to 7-3-0." This time was less cryptic. Faith actually said "...little sis coming..."
  • When Faith walks through downtown Sunnydale she admires knives on display in the storefront window of Meyer Sports and Tackle, the same shop she and Buffy broke into in "Bad Girls".
  • Faith awakens from the coma she has been in since "Graduation Day, Part Two". 
  • Mid-fight, Faith mocks Buffy by saying her boyfriend Riley could use "a good roll in the sack", to which Buffy replies "Going for the boyfriend again? That's tired". This is a reference to "Enemies" where Faith attempted to seduce Angel. Faith will also sleep with Riley in the next episode, "Who Are You".
  • Riley's line "I'm a soldier. Take that away, and what's left?" echoes Angelus's line during the climactic fight at the end of "Becoming, Part Two".

Death count

  • Richard Wilkins, killed by Buffy (only in visions).
  • One unidentified demon, dissected by Adam.
  • Buffy, killed by Faith (only in visions).
  • Courier demon, killed by Faith.

Behind the Scenes

Deleted Scenes

  • This line was cut, where Buffy explains what she would like to use to get into The Initiative:
Buffy: "Explosives, tear gas, grappling hooks."

Pop Culture References

  • When Buffy and Willow discuss what Buffy has told Riley about Faith, Buffy references The Patty Duke Show, which was about identical cousins that get into trouble when one arrives from out of town.
  • In the scene where Giles, Willow, Buffy, and Xander discuss repairing the Blaster, Xander quips, "Now, if it were called the orgasminator, I'd be the first to try your basic button-press approach." This is a reference to the 1997 movie Orgazmo.


Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors

  • Faith's tattoo on her upper arm is missing when she's in Joyce's bedroom.
  • During the Buffy and Faith fight scene, as the pair fall down the stairs, a hand holding a camera can be clearly seen on the other side of the railing tracking their fall.

International titles

  • French: "Une revenante - partie 1" (A stranger - part 1)
  • German: "Böses Erwachen" (Evil Awakening)


Buffy - "It's Faith. She's awake. She beat someone up, took her clothing, and disappeared out of the hospital. No one knows where she is."
Xander - "I'd say this qualifies for a "worse timing ever" award."
Willow - "What do we do?"
Giles - "Well, we have to find her."
Willow - "What about Adam?"
Xander - "I'd hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic."
Buffy - "There's no way around it. Faith is back and, whether I like it or not, she's my responsibility."
Willow - "Yeah, too bad. That was the funnest coma ever."
Buffy - "We have no idea where she is. We don't know what she's thinking, what she's feeling."
Xander - "Who she's doing."
Buffy - "She could be terrified. Maybe she doesn't even remember? Or, or maybe she does and, and she's sorry and she's alone, hiding somewhere?"
Giles - "Uh, perhaps there's some form of rehabilitation we just haven't thought about?"
Willow - "And if not, ass-kicking makes a solid Plan B."
Buffy - "I'm not gonna rule it out. First thing, we need to find her. Then we can take it from there."
Riley - "Who's Faith?"
Riley - "I've never seen anybody get under your skin this way before. What did she do to you exactly?"
Buffy - "It's a long story."
Riley - "I'm from Iowa. We drive four hours for a high school football game. Try me."
Xander - "Spike?"
Giles - "What are you doing here?"
Spike - "Me? Hey, I'm not the one out of place here."
Xander - "For your information, smarty, we've got a rogue Slayer on our hands. Real psycho-killer too."
Spike - "Sounds serious."
Giles - "It is. What do you know?"
Spike - "What do you need?"
Xander - "Her. Dark hair. Yay tall, name of Faith, criminally insane."
Giles - "Have you seen her?"
Spike - "Is this bird after you?"
Xander - "In a bad way, yeah."
Spike - "Tell you what I'll do then. I'll head out, find this girl, tell her exactly where you are and then watch as she kills you. Can't any one of your damn little Scooby club at least try to remember that I hate you all? Just because I can't do the damage myself doesn't stop me from aiming a loose cannon your way. And here I thought the evening be dull."
Xander - "Go ahead. You wouldn't even recognize her."
Spike - "Dark hair, this tall, name of Faith, criminally insane. Like this girl already."
Xander - "We're dumb."
Willow - "Well, technically, Faith isn't a monster. And as far as fighting, I'd be lucky to bruise her fist with my face."
Tara - "Oh."
Willow - "What?"
Tara - "Face-punching, I'm not so good with the whole.." [Imitates punches]
Willow - "Swimming?"
Tara - "Violence."
Willow - "Don't worry, we're sure to spot Faith first. She's like this cleavagy slut-bomb walking around "Ooh, check me out, I'm wicked-cool, I'm five-by-five.""
Tara - "Five-by-five? Five what by five what?"
Willow - "See, that's the thing. No-one knows."
Xander - "So. Here it is. The latest in state-of-the-art combat technology. I gotta say it doesn't look that complicated."
Buffy - "So can you repair it?"
Xander - "Sure. Just as soon as I get my Master's degree in advanced starship technology."
Willow - "Well, why don't we experiment? Press some buttons, see what happens."
Giles - "Uh, I'd like to veto that."
Xander - "Second. It's called a blaster, Will. A word that tends to discourage experimentation. Now, if it were called "the orgasminator", I'd be the first to try your basic button-press approach."