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"Triangle" is the eleventh episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 89th episode in the series. Written by Jane Espenson and directed by Christopher Hibler, it was originally broadcast on January 9, 2001, on The WB network.


XANDER IN THE MIDDLE — While Buffy recovers from losing Riley, emotions are charged between Willow and Anya when they are left in charge of the magic shop and Willow accidentally conjures an enormous troll that will force them to deal with their less than perfect friendship and their feelings towards Xander.[1]


Xander and Anya lie in bed together and they talk about Buffy's luck, or lack thereof, with men. They wonder if Buffy might be the problem. At a convent, Buffy protects a young nun from a vampire, then asks her questions about the life of a nun.

Buffy trains while talking to Giles about Riley, and then asks about his plans to ask the Watchers Council for help with Glory, since they can't find any information on her with their own resources. He assures Buffy that, although he has to tell the Council that Glory is looking for the Key, he has no intention of mentioning Dawn. While Giles prepares for a trip to England he leaves the shop in the hands of Anya, however as her people skills are lacking Willow offers to help out too. The two then begin squabbling, causing Giles to consider getting an earlier flight back and placing Xander and Tara in uncomfortable positions.

Dawn enters Buffy's room and notices that she has removed all her pictures of Riley. They talk about how Buffy is recuperating after his departure. Dawn tries to be as supportive of her sister as possible, and Buffy appreciates her efforts and discusses her emotions openly with her. Dawn expresses sadness that Riley left so suddenly, and Buffy admits that everyone except herself had seen it come on gradually. Dawn seems surprised, and Buffy mentions her hope that Riley might return one day for another try so that Buffy would be able to say all the things she hadn't been able to say before.

Box of chocolates in hand, Spike rehearses a conversation he plans to have with Buffy on a mannequin. He wants to explain his motivations for showing her Riley's late-night vampire activities, but his temper gets in the way. He begins to argue with the mannequin and ends by beating the mannequin with the box of chocolates and yelling, only to set it back up and start over.

Back at the Magic Box, Anya protests Willow's use of the shop products for magic spells, calling it stealing. Willow tries to tempt Anya by offering to show her some magic tricks, but Anya decides that Willow is using peer pressure and refuses to participate. Willow and Anya's argument escalates, and since Xander and Tara don't want to be in the middle of the arguments, they both leave.

Willow starts her simulated sunlight spell, but Anya interrupts with questions and the two begin arguing again. Accidentally, the spell calls forth a giant troll. The store and much of Sunnydale is seriously damaged as the troll puts his hammer and great strength to good use.

At campus, Buffy and Tara talk about their new semester classes and then about the events at the magic shop. Buffy overreacts when Tara mentions possible trouble between Anya and Xander because of Willow and Anya's constant fighting. Buffy cries and buries her head in Tara's shoulder, declaring that Anya and Xander have a "miraculous love."

Anya drives a car for the first time wildly through the streets while Willow, in the passenger seat, searches for a spell to stop the troll, who proceeds to wreak havoc in Sunnydale, bashing trash cans, smashing his hammer into things, and declaring to the people running in the opposite direction: "You do well to flee, townspeople. I will pillage your lands and dwellings. I will burn your crops, and make merry sport with your more attractive daughters, mark my words" before catching the scent of "ale" and heading toward the source.

Xander mopes at the Bronze and runs into Spike. As Xander seethes hostility at his presence, Spike fishes for information on Buffy, to no avail. The two eventually begin to play pool and talk about women trouble. Back at the Magic Box, Buffy and Tara fear the worst as they view the destruction left by the troll, and take off to try to track it. The troll arrives at the Bronze, declaring his desire to drink ale and eat babies. Xander suggests that Spike fights the troll, but Spike is "paralyzed by not caring very much." The troll asks Spike and Xander where to find babies to eat. Spike suggests the troll try the hospital, and Xander ineffectually attempts to talk sense into the troll, suggesting that he sit down in one of sturdier chairs to have a calm talk. However, the troll is unsatisfied with their suggestions of stags, strong grog, and onion blossoms. While the troll drinks beer straight from a keg, the rest of the gang gathers at the Bronze. When Buffy arrives, Spike cautiously greets her, but she ignores him and he steps back, his face filled with disappointment.

The troll, Olaf, reveals that he used to date Anya and (after his dalliance with "one wench") she turned him into a troll, which earned her the job of a vengeance demon. Buffy attacks Olaf and Spike jumps in a moment later to back her up (triumphantly copping a feel in the process). Buffy and Spike are unsuccessful, and Olaf uses his hammer to knock down the second floor of the Bronze and injure many innocent people. As Buffy takes stock of the damage, she notices Spike comforting a bleeding victim. In an accusatory manner, Buffy asks Spike what he is doing. He declares that he is only helping, and that would not dream of sampling any blood because he knows she wouldn't like it, but she refuses to give him credit for his intentions, declaring him to be disgusting. Buffy sends Willow and Anya back to the magic shop to find a spell that will actually be effective against Olaf.

At the shop, Willow and Anya finally address the root of their issues: Their fear of each other's potential to hurt Xander and pull him away from the other. Anya makes it clear that she has no intention of hurting Xander in any way, and Willow assures Anya that she has no intention of poisoning his mind against Anya, or luring him away with her "lips." Willow rebuffs with "Hello, gay now!" Olaf storms into the shop and intends to hurt the girls, but Xander arrives before the two most important women in his life are seriously wounded. The troll beats Xander up badly, then tells Xander to choose whether Anya or Willow will die. Xander refuses to choose, proving his loyalty to both girls, but when Olaf decides to kill Xander, Anya offers herself. Buffy arrives and fights with the troll while Willow works on a spell and Anya distracts Olaf with insults. When Olaf says that Anya and Xander won't last, Buffy gets incredibly angry and beats the troll into unconsciousness. The troll is sent off into an alternate universe (which is probably the Land of the Trolls, but possibly the world without shrimp).

After he finally returns, Giles talks to Buffy about the damage to the shop. Joyce joins them and they discuss the fact that the Council had no records on Glory; however, Giles mentions there's a chance they may be able to find something based on the information Giles gave. They then discuss the Key, however, Dawn is eavesdropping and is left very concerned when she hears her name mentioned.


  • After practicing giving a box of chocolates to Buffy, Spike will attempt to gift her for her birthday in "Blood Ties," when Dawn notices the box is bent from him throwing at the mannequin in the episode.
  • Olaf and Anya reveal the circumstances that made her a vengeance demon, which will be seen in flashbacks for the episode "Selfless."
  • Buffy has an extravagant concern of the welfare of Xander and Anya's relationship; in "Hell's Bells," she'll openly admit they provide a beacon of hope that a person can live in a happy, stable relationship.
  • Buffy has been heartbroken since the last episode with Riley's departure ("Into the Woods").
  • Anya states that she's driving for the first time. In "Graduation Day, Part One," she asked Xander to get into her car and flee Sunnydale with her.
  • Spike first mentions his taste for the onion blossoms at the Bronze, a recurring subject for Spike ("Crush" and "Empty Places").
  • After Olaf's attack on the Bronze, the club will reopen a month later, though the bar price is increased because the club's insurance does not cover an "act of troll" ("Crush").
  • Anya notes that Willow is closer to being a vengeance demon than her because D'Hoffryn offered Willow to become one in "Something Blue."
  • Anya mentions the time that Cordelia caught Xander and Willow kissing ("Lovers Walk"), Cordelia's desire for retribution over which being what brought Anya to Sunnydale in the first place ("The Wish").
  • During Willow and Anya's argument, they both allude to future plot paths involving Anya returning to demon form, and Willow turning evil. In both instances, it involves Xander, as Anya turns evil again because of Xander ("Entropy"), and Willow's return from evil due to Xander ("Grave").
  • Xander's arm is injured in this episode and will remain in a cast until "The Body."
  • Olaf accurately predicts that Xander and Anya will not last as a couple ("Hell's Bells").
  • The Scoobies acquire Olaf's hammer, which will prove to be a crucial weapon in "The Gift."
  • Anya once again mentions the world without shrimp, a dimension she first noted in "Superstar."



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • One vampire, staked by Buffy Summers at the convent.

Behind the scenes[]



  • "Triangle" had an audience of 3.0 million households upon its original airing.[2]

Deleted scenes[]

  • A scene showed Giles arriving from England and seeing the damage of the Magic Box:[3]
    Willow: "Um... Giles? Could you maybe make an angry face? 'Cause the smile is kind of scaring me."
  • Giles would be present during Olaf's final confrontation, as also seen in a promotional picture. Afterward:[3]
    Giles looks around, notices something. He gets that weird smile again.
    Giles: "Where's the cash register?"

Pop culture references[]


  • When Willow floats various things around the Magic Box, the strings supporting them are visible.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Եռանկյուն" (Triangle)
  • Czech: "Trojúhelník" (Triangle)
  • French: "Triangle" (Triangle)
  • German: "Der Hammer der Zerstörung" (The Hammer of Destruction)
  • Hungarian: "Háromszög" (Triangle)
  • Italian: "Il Triangolo" (The Triangle)
  • Japanese: "トライアングル" (Triangle)
  • Polish: "Trójkąt" (Triangle)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "O Triângulo" (The Triangle)
  • Romanian: "Triunghiul" (Triangle)
  • Russian: "Треугольник" (Triangle)
  • Spanish (Latin America and Spain): "Triángulo" (Triangle)



Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Willow: "I'm not stealing. I'm just taking things without paying for it. In what twisted dictionary is that stealing?"
Xander: "So, how goes the slaying?"
Buffy: "I killed something in a convent last night."
Xander: "In any other room, a frightening declaration. Here a welcome distraction. Tell us all about the killing, Buff."
Buffy: "Pretty standard, vampire staking. Oh, but I met a nun and she let me try on her wimple."
Xander: "Okay, now we're back to frightening."
Spike: "I'm not sampling, I'll have you know. Just look at all these lovely blood-covered people. I could, but not a taste for Spike, not a lick. Knew you wouldn't like it."
Buffy: "You want credit for not feeding off bleeding disaster victims?"
Spike: "Well, yeah."
Buffy: "You're disgusting."
Spike: "What's it take?"
Giles: "The resources that the Watchers Council have at their disposal... I mean, the central library alone is..."
Buffy: "Don't talk about the books again. You get all... And sometimes there's drool."
Anya: "If you ever decide to go, I want a warning. You know? Big flashing red lights, and-and-and one of those clocks that counts down like a bomb in a movie? And there's a whole bunch of, of colored wires, and I'm not sure which is the right one to cut, but I guess the green one, and then at the last second, "No! The red one!" and then click, it stops with three-tenths of a second left, but then you don't leave... Like that, okay?"


  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.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Triangle Script." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on July 31, 2019.