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"Where the Wild Things Are" is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the seventy-fourth episode in the series. Written by Tracey Forbes and directed by David Solomon, it was originally broadcast on April 25, 2000, on The WB.


LOST IN LUST — Buffy and Riley unleash a powerful supernatural force that awakens during a Lowell House fraternity party and causes everyone's hormones to kick into overdrive, threatening the very lives of Buffy and Riley. In order to free them, the gang must battle the spirits of children from the 1950s who have come back to avenge past abuses.[1]


Buffy and Riley fight a vampire and a demon in the cemetery, finally disposing of both of them. While they intend to go tell Giles about the odd pairing of demon and vampire, they opt for having sex at Riley's dorm at Lowell House. Later, Riley gets up in the middle of the night, acting as if he hears something from the restroom. All he finds is a dripping faucet in the tub.

Xander is driving an ice cream truck and Anya is with him. Xander wants to attend an upcoming party at the Lowell House, but Anya, being an ex-demon, dislikes the idea of partying with the Initiative. She thinks Xander is not being sensitive to her feelings. She is also concerned that Xander might be losing interest in her since they did not have sex the previous night, the second such night in the course of their relationship. He then suggests they have sex right then and there. The two realize the truck's window is open, where a group of children and parents are waiting for ice cream.

At UC Sunnydale, the Scooby Gang meets to discuss the patrol the night before. Riley suggests that Adam is bringing demon races together. Everyone agrees this is the most likely explanation for vampires and demons working together. Buffy and Riley escape for some alone time, which is no secret to the rest of the group. Giles learns there will be a party, but he says he can't attend because he has a prior engagement at the Espresso Pump.

That evening, the heat is out at Lowell House, which makes it hard for the residents to sleep. Buffy and Riley continue their romp in Riley's room. An Initiative agent builds a fire in a fireplace, which suddenly flares up out of its enclosure and sets his clothes on fire.

Outside the Bronze, Spike jumps out at Anya, trying to scare her into giving him money. She taunts him as being pathetic and friendless. He asks where "Droopy Boy" (Xander) is, suggesting he might have "better things to do" than spend time with Anya.

At the party, Buffy and Riley are making eyes at each other from across the room while their friends attempt to talk to them.

Spike and Anya bond over beer at the Bronze, as they both miss their demon powers. Spike suggests they both take vengeance on their respective lovers, but Anya says she can't, though Spike says he might attack Drusilla some time later.

At the Lowell House party, a student leans his hand on the wall while talking to a girl, and he suddenly feels great sexual pleasure. Xander flirts with a girl named Julie, while Riley and Buffy escape upstairs to his bedroom. Another man at the party puts his hand on the same wall at the insistence of the first man, with the same result. Willow and Tara are sitting on a stairway, talking. When Willow touches Tara's knee, Tara backs away, suddenly disgusted at the gesture. Anya and Spike then arrive at the party, much to Spike's dismay; he's afraid the Initiative will try to recapture him. However, he joins the party when he realizes no one cares, and the two verbally gang up on Xander. Anya tells Xander their relationship is over, Xander says he is the one who is leaving.

A group is playing spin the bottle, and Xander joins in. On Xander's turn, the bottle lands on Julie, and he kisses her on the cheek. She jumps him, forces him down and kisses him aggressively, then suddently stops. She apologizes and runs away, and Xander follows. More partygoers try touching the wall. Xander finds Julie in a closet cutting off her hair and calling herself bad. Willow goes to the restroom looking for Tara, but she instead finds what seems to be a boy drowning in a bathtub. When she reaches for him, he vanishes, then reappears behind her.

Upstairs, Buffy and Riley continue their lovemaking. Riley hears Willow scream, but Buffy says it doesn't matter, and they continue. Xander tries to find someone who is a friend of Julie's in the "spin the bottle" group, but no one seems to hear him, ignoring him in the process. Xander finds Willow as Tara comes down the stairs, who says she doesn't like the place and suggests they leave.

In the spin the bottle game, the bottle spins out of control then explodes. Willow, Tara, and Xander run upstairs to find Buffy and Riley, but their door is locked and they no longer hear anything outside their room; to them, it is all echoes. As vines seem to grow from the bedroom door, Tara goes to a balcony to see what is going on in the party.

Suddenly, the house begins to shake. Spike is pleased that the party is becoming more interesting, until leather straps, moving by themselves, bind him to the chair where he is sitting. Forrest wants to help people to safety, and appeals to Graham, but in an unnatural voice, he replies "touch not the impure thing... Find salvation in the cross of our Lord and Savior." Forrest pushes Graham into an elevator that leads down to the Initiative facilities. Spike breaks free of his bonds and the partygoers escape to outside the house. Julie, who has cut off all her hair, is one of the last to leave.

Downstairs, the Initiative locks down, and Graham is back to normal. Before another earthquake happens, a girl runs through Anya. As Xander, Tara, and Willow arrive, books are thrown at them. Willow wants to go back into Lowell House for Buffy and Riley. When Xander tries to go inside, an unseen entity hurls him through the air, so he suggests getting help from Giles.

The gang goes to the Espresso Pump, where Giles is singing and playing guitar of "Behind Blue Eyes" by the Who. Willow, Tara, and Anya are impressed, but Xander is disturbed. Meanwhile, the Lowell House is now empty except for Buffy and Riley, who continue to be wrapped up in what they are doing. The vines are stirring and the ghostly cries of children are heard in the house.

In Giles's apartment, Willow's research reveals that the Lowell House was a home for up to 40 adolescents who were runaways, juvenile delinquents, and emotionally disturbed teenagers from 1949 to 1960. The Scoobies find and visit the woman, Genevieve Holt, who ran the children's home. She explains that she rewarded the children when they were good and punished them when they displayed any interest in sex; she would cut off the girls' hair when they seemed vain about their appearance, and would baptize the most unclean by holding them under water in a bathtub. After leaving Mrs. Holt's place, Giles says he thinks that a group of poltergeists, triggered by Buffy and Riley's lust, is now releasing their pent up sexual feelings; they're taking their energy from the couple, and when they are drained of all their strength, they will die.

Willow, Tara, and Giles perform a spell to stop the poltergeist, and they're able to summon the children. However, before the exorcism is completed, the table is blown across the room and the children are gone. Back at the house, Xander and Anya hack their way through the vines and try to reach Buffy and Riley. Anya is knocked across the house while Xander is thrown away from the door, and dragged into the bathroom for his own baptism. Through the water, Xander sees the children looking down at him. Recovering from the blast, Anya makes her way upstairs to save Xander. She rescues him, and they fight against the vines to finally open Riley's door, where the lovers, still oblivious of all that has been happening around them, complain that they should have knocked.

The next day, the gang talks about Giles's "midlife crisis" and the consequences of Buffy and Riley's endless sex. Unconvincingly, Buffy and Riley say how horrible the experience was.


  • Roy, the boy who first touched the enchanted wall, was also one of the students who turned into a caveman in "Beer Bad."
  • Xander begins his fourth known food service job as an ice cream truck man in between construction jobs. He was previously a bartender ("Beer Bad"), Hot Dog on a Stick employee (mentioned in "Pangs"), and pizza delivery man ("Doomed").
  • Anya and Spike first begin to bond. They eventually find physical comfort in each other after being rejected by their lovers again in "Entropy."
  • Xander shows some hostility towards Spike for hanging out with Anya, which will be revisited in "Entropy."
  • Xander wonders if every UC Sunnydale frat house is haunted due to his experience in the Alpha Delta house in "Fear, Itself."
  • Despite Maggie Walsh's advice in "Hush" about using the stairs in an emergency, Forrest uses the elevator during an earthquake.
  • Willow recalls having a crush on Giles when she was in high school, as implied in "Faith, Hope & Trick." She also had a picture of herself with Giles inside her locker, as seen in "I Robot, You Jane" and "Nightmares."
  • Another instance where a supernatural force causes Buffy to have sex is when the entity Twilight compels Buffy and Angel in Twilight, Part Three.



Organizations and titles[]





Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • An unidentified demon, stabbed by Buffy in a cemetery.
  • An unidentified vampire, staked by Riley in a cemetery.

Behind the scenes[]


  • The title of this episode comes from the 1963 children's picture book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The story is about boy who is sent to his room without supper for wreaking havoc in his home, so he imagines that his bedroom turns into a magical jungle inhabited by monsters.
  • This was the last episode written by Tracey Forbes.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar was away shooting "Sanctuary" during the filming, which is why we see so little of Buffy.[2]
  • This episode marks the first time in the series that Anthony Stewart Head displays his singing talents. Giles will sing onscreen again in three more episodes: in his apartment in "The Yoko Factor," during his dream sequence in "Restless," and in the musical episode "Once More, with Feeling." Prior to being cast in Buffy, Head had several roles in musical theater.
  • Some elements of this episode bear a resemblance to parts of the 1980 movie The Changeling, in which a mansion is haunted by the ghost of a child.


  • "Where the Wild Things Are" had an audience of 2.7 million households upon its original airing.[3]

Deleted scenes[]

  • In the original script, Willow had a longer line about Adam's plan:[4]
    Willow: "Huh, like Martin Luther King. But probably a lot less eloquent... And with the... Evil... So, different than Martin Luther King. Let's move on."

Pop culture references[]

  • Buffy asks: "Who says we can't all get along?", referring to the quote by Rodney King, "Can we all get along?", during protests against police brutality in 1992.
  • Willow compares Adam with the civil rights movement leader Martin Luther King.
  • Graham says Buffy and Riley are "slaves to the rhythm," referring to the 1985 song by Grace Jones.
  • Riley has condoms of the brand Durex in his nightstand.
  • Xander compares Julie's actions to that of the titular character of Felicity, another The WB series, due to the actress Keri Russell famously having cut her long curly hair between seasons.
  • Mrs. Holt compares the orphanage's girls to Jezebel, a princess associated with false prophets in Christianity.
  • Xander refers to Spike as the "Evil Undead," a wordplay on the title of the 1981 film The Evil Dead.


  • When Xander and Anya are trying to escape the vines in Lowell, an arm is seen moving one of the vines attacking Anya.
  • When the table flies away from Tara, Willow, and Giles, the camera pans down, and a man can be seen in the bottom left corner by the sink.
  • In the widescreen version, at 14:53 minutes in showing an overview of the people at the party, lighting equipment can clearly be seen to the left of the room.
  • When Spike is strapped to the chair at the party, his reflection can be seen in the mirror behind him. The reflection is seen again when he frees himself.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Այնտեղ, որտեղ վայրի բաներ են տեղի ունենում" (Where Wild Things Happen)
  • Czech: "Tam, kde žijí divočiny" (Where the Wilderness Lives)
  • Finnish: "Kyltymätön rakkaus" (Insatiable Love)
  • French: "La maison hanté" (The Haunted House)
  • German: "Die Unersättlichen" (The Insatiables)
  • Hungarian: "Ahol a gonoszok vannak" (Where the Wicked Are)
  • Italian: "La casa stregata" (The Haunted House)
  • Japanese: "ワイルド・シング" (Wild Thing)
  • Polish: "Gdzie drzemie dzikość" (Where Wildness Slumbers)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Onde Acontecem as Loucuras" (Where the Madness Happens)
  • Romanian: "Where the Wild Things Are"
  • Russian: "Там, где дикие вещи творятся" (Where Wild Things Happen)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Éxtasis" (Ecstasy)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Pasión salvaje" (Wild Passion)




Anya: "A year and a half ago, I could have eviscerated him with my thoughts. Now, I can barely hurt his feelings. Things used to be so much simpler."
Spike: "You know, you take the killing for granted, and then it's gone, and you're like, I wish I'd appreciated it more. Stop and smell the corpses, you know."
Spike: "Hey... I know these guys from somewhere."
Anya: "Initiative soldiers, they live here. Experiments happen in the lab under the house. It's where they kept you, put in your chip. Let's have fun!"
Spike: "What are you doing? You brought me here?"
Xander: "Anya? What are you doing? You brought him here?"
Spike: "That's what I said! Only I hit the 'here' part."
Willow: "We have to go back in there."
Anya: "Why?"
Xander: "Because Buffy and Riley are trapped."
Anya: "So? She's the Slayer, he's a big soldier boy, what do they need you for?"
Xander: "Anya, look around! There's ghosts and shaking, and people are going all Felicity with their hair... We're fresh out of superpeople, and somebody's gotta go back in there. Now who's with me?"
Spike: "I am. I know I'm not the first choice for heroics... And Buffy's tried to kill me more than once. And, I don't fancy a single one of you at all. But... Actually, all that sounds pretty convincing. I wonder if Asian House is open."
Anya: "Oh."
Willow: "Wow."
Xander: "Um, could we go back to the haunted house? Cause, this is creeping me out."
Tara: "Does he do this a lot?"
Xander: "Sure. Every day the earth rotates backward and the skies turn orange."
Willow: "Now I remember why I used to have such a crush on him."
Tara: "Well, he is pretty good."
Anya: "His voice is... Pleasant."
Xander: "What?!"
Willow: "Oh, come on, he is kinda sexy."
Xander: "I'm fighting total mental breakdown here, Will. No more fueling the fire, please."
Xander: "So with Buffy and Riley having... You know, acts of nakedness 'round the clock lately, maybe they set something free, like a big, bursting poltergasm."


  1. "The Mortuary." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on June 9, 2001.
  2. "Episode Guide - Where the Wild Things Are." BBC. Retrieved on August 22, 2021.
  3. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Fourth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  4. "Where the Wild Things Are Script." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on June 3, 2018.