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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 4, Episode 18
Air date April 25, 2000
Written by Tracey Forbes
Directed by David Solomon
Episode Guide
"New Moon Rising"
Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy
Nicholas Brendon Xander
Alyson Hannigan Willow
Marc Blucas Riley
James Marsters Spike
Anthony Stewart Head Giles
Guest Starring
Amber Benson Tara
Leonard Roberts Forrest
Bailey Chase Graham
Kathryn Joosten Mrs. Holt
Emma Caulfield Anya
Co Starring
Casey McCarthy Julie
Neil Daly Mason
Jeff Wilson Evan
Bryan Cupprill Roy
Jeffrey Sharmat Drowning Boy
Jeri Austin Running Girl
Danielle Pessis Christie
David Engler Initiative Guy
James Michael Connor Scientist

"Where the Wild Things Are" is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is the seventy-fourth episode altogether. It was written by Tracey Forbes and directed by David Solomon. It originally broadcast on April 25, 2000.

At a fraternity party, Buffy and Riley are compelled to have sex by a mystical influence. The party is held in a house—formerly a home for wayward children—that is haunted by a poltergeist-like apparition that is born out of the raw emotion and sexual energy of children who were physically and emotionally abused by the woman who managed the home.


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 sex at Riley's dorm at Lowell House. Later that night, 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: You want sex? Let's have sex. Right here. Hot, sweaty, big sex!

Xander is driving an ice cream truck and Anya is with him. Xander wants to attend an upcoming party at Lowell House, but Anya, being an ex-demon, dislikes the idea of partying with the Initiative. She feels 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. Frustrated, Xander suggests they have sex right then and there. The two realize the side of the truck is open, revealing a group of children and parents waiting for ice cream.

At UC Sunnydale, the gang meets to discuss the patrol the night before. Riley suggests that Adam is bringing the races of demons together. Everyone agrees this is the most likely explanation for vampire and demon working together. Buffy and Riley escape for some alone time, which is no secret to the rest of the gang. Giles learns there will be a party, but 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 tirelessly. An Initiative agent builds a fire in a fireplace, and for no apparent reason, the fire suddenly flares up out of its enclosure and sets his clothes on fire.

Buffy and Riley making love

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 party at Lowell House, a man casually places his hand on a wall while talking to a girl, and suddenly feels great sexual pleasure. Xander flirts with a girl named Julie, while Riley and Buffy escape upstairs to resume their own private party. 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 re-capture him. However, he joins the party when he realizes no one cars, and the two verbally gang up on Xander. Anya tells Xander their relationship is over, Xander insists on having the last word and says he is the one who is leaving.

The gang sees Giles performing at the Espresso Pump

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 seems to snap out of a trance. 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, and instead finds what seems to be a boy drowning in a bathtub. When she reaches for him, he vanishes, then reappears behind her, clearly a ghost.

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 when one of the spin the bottle participants spun it and 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.

Giles: You have ruined lives, Mrs. Holt. Furthermore, what you did has now manifested itself as a, a malevolent presence which threatens still more lives! You have a great deal to answer for.

Suddenly, the house begins to shake, as if an earthquake is occurring. 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 headquarters. Spike breaks free of his bonds and everyone escapes outside. 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 were 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, and he suggests getting help from Giles.

The gang goes to the Espresso Pump, where it turns out Giles' "big event" is a concert: he is playing guitar and singing The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes". Willow, Tara, and Anya are impressed, but Xander is disturbed.

Lowell House is now empty except for Buffy and Riley, who are so wrapped up in what they are doing that they notice nothing outside their room. The vines are stirring and the ghostly cries of the children are heard in the house.

Back at Giles' apartment, Willow's research reveals that the Lowell House was a home for up to 40 adolescents who are runaways, juvenile deliquents and emotionally distrubed teenagers from 1949 to 1960. They 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.

Tara, Willow and Giles cast a spirit binding spell

Willow, Tara, and Giles perform a spell to stop the poltergeist, and they're able to summon the children. However, before the spell 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 food service job this season 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 began to bond. This becomes important later when they found physical comfort in each other after being rejected by their lovers in "Entropy".
  • Xander shows some hostility towards Spike for hanging out with Anya, which will be revisited in "Entropy."
  • Willow expresses a fear of horses in the episode but seems to have overcome it by "Spiral."
  • Willow recalls having had a crush on Giles when she was in high school, and Tara and Anya seem to share it.
  • The entity Twilight would compel Buffy and Angel to sleep together for a prophecy in "Twilight, Part Three", marking another instance when a supernatural force causes Buffy to make love.
  • This episode may count as more evidence of Faith's theory that slaying makes people "hungry and horny", which she stated in "Faith, Hope & Trick". This is shown at the very start were Buffy and Riley immediately have sex after killing a demon and a vampire. There is a similar occurrence in "The I in Team".
  • Forrest seems to have forgotten Maggie Walsh's advice from "Hush" about using the stairs rather than the elevator in an emergency.



Organizations and titles[]



Weapons and Objects[]

Rituals and spells[]

Body Count[]

  • One vampire, dusted by Riley
  • A blue demon, killed by Buffy with a knife

Behind the Scenes[]


  • This episode's title has a double meaning, referring both to the episode's main setting (a house that is haunted by ghosts, the titular "wild things") and the phrase "doing the wild thing", a metaphor for sex. 
  • 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.

Deleted Scenes[]

Willow: "But probably a lot less eloquent... And with the... Evil... So, different that Martin Luther King. Let's move on."

Pop Culture References[]

  • Xander compares Julie's actions to that of the titular character of Felicity, also on The WB. Actress Keri Russell famously cut her hair before the beginning of the second season.

Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors[]

  • 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, and the camera pans down, a man can be seen in the bottom left corner by the sink.
  • When in widescreen, 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.
  • At the end, Riley says that they're just lucky no one got hurt. However, not only did several people get hurt from the beer bottle shattering, but Xander is left with a deep scratch on his face, and Anya got impaled in the hand by a vine. There was also an initiative solder who got heavily burnt by the fire.

International titles[]

  • French: La maison hanté (The haunted house)
  • Brazilian Portuguese: Onde Acontecem as Loucuras (Where the madness happens)
  • German: Die Unersättlichen (The Insatiables)



  • This episode marks the first time in the series that Anthony Stewart Head displays his singing talents. Giles will sing on screen 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.
  • The plot is similar to the 1980 movie "The Changeling", directed by Peter Medak, where a mansion is haunted by the ghost of a child.


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."
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."
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."
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."