Recap: Buffy the Vampire Slayer S4 E11 "Doomed"

Giles: It's the end of the world.
Buffy, Willow, Xander: Again?

An earthquake hits Sunnydale, signifying yet another Apocalypse. The gang must return to the remains of Sunnydale High to stop it. Buffy and Riley struggle with each other's secrets.

Tropes in this episode:

  • All Myths Are True (In-Universe): Forrest mocks Riley when he asks about the Slayer, saying she's just the demon version of the bogeyman.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: After Buffy and Riley work together to stop the apocalypse, Buffy decides their relationship might not be doomed after all.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking
    Willow: There was so much blood. And there was a symbol [carved into his chest]. And Percy said I was a nerd!
    Buffy: Percy said you were a nerd!?
  • Bait and Switch: After Spike tries and fails to stake himself due to Xander and Willow's timely interruption, Xander angrily takes the stake away from him, saying that they've shared a lot, and that Spike should have trusted him... to do it for him.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Willow, suffering a hit to her self-esteem, finds a quiet room during a blackout to lie down in. The lights come back on to reveal a corpse in bed next to her.
  • Blood Knight / "Join the Army," They Said: Riley Finn (apparently a Special Forces soldier) says, referring to demon-hunting, "It's not just a job—" Buffy interrupted: "Right, it's an adventure." (That's actually the Navy's slogan, but I doubt Buffy bothers to discriminate.) Riley doesn't deny that he thinks that way.
  • Broken Bird
    Riley: I donít know whatís happened in your past—
    Buffy: Pain. Death. Apocalypse. None of it fun.
  • Buffy Speak:
    • Even covert ops soldiers use it, with Riley impressed with the "flippy-thing" Buffy did.
    • Buffy describes mausoleums as a "big cereal boxes of death".
  • Classified Information: Riley says he can't tell Buffy anything more than she already knows about him. Buffy then lists all the information she's found out about the Initiative so far, leaving Riley rather disturbed.
  • Code Name: Buffy is bemused to find that Riley's callsign is Lilac One.
  • Continuity Nod: Angel and Faith are both referred to (though not by name) when Buffy is trying to explain why she doesn't want a relationship with someone in the demon-hunting business. Percy mentions how Willow used to tutor him in Sunnydale High. The Scoobies visit the ruins of Sunnydale High library and find themselves stepping on "Mayor meat"—the remains of last year's Ascended Big Bad.
  • Crush. Kill. Destroy!: Not recognizing the Signs of the End Times, Riley briefs his team that the demon appears to be "on a basic crush-kill-destroy" pattern.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Spike's Bad Ass clothes shrink in the laundry and he can't threaten anyone, even Xander.
    Spike: I mean, am I even remotely scary any more?
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!
    Spike: I don't want pity from geeks even more useless than I am.
  • Double Meaning Title / Doomy Dooms of Doom: a) Buffy and Riley's budding relationship may be doomed, and b) the world may soon be doomed.
  • Down on the Farm: Buffy naturally assumes Riley's Iowa farm boy image is a front. Riley says it's actually true, and it's not like Buffy hasn't been hiding things.
  • Driven to Suicide: Spike tries to spike himself. He misses.
    Spike: Good bye, Dru. See You in Hell.
  • Apocalypse of the Week
  • Evil Is Petty: Spike shows he can still inflict damage with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Famed In-Story: Averted; even though he's in the demon-fighting business, Riley hasn't even heard of the Slayer. When he asks Forrest, he's told that she's a myth; the demon-equivalent of the Bogeyman.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Riley doesn't believe It's Not You, It's My Enemies is the only reason Buffy is backing off from their relationship. "I'm sure that there's some good looking guy that done you wrong in there, too."
  • Foreshadowing: Riley calling Buffy a fry cook. When he meets her in Season 6, that exactly what she's doing.
  • Funny Background Event: Spike trying to Wrench Whack Xander—he keels over in pain without Xander even noticing.
  • Grail in the Garbage: Giles once bought a magical talisman from a sorcerer, convinced it was a knock-off. Not only is it real, it's used as part of the demons' apocalyptic ritual.
  • He's Back: Spike's sudden outburst of enthusiasm for "fighting the good fight" after he realizes that the implanted behavioral modification chip doesn't punish him for killing demons.
    Spike: That's right! I'm back, and I'm a BLOODY ANIMAL!
  • How's Your British Accent?: Spike puts on an unconvincing American accent when he thinks Riley might know who he is. When you add the later reveal that human!Spike was an Upper-Class Twit, we're watching an American actor pretending to be an upper-class Brit pretending to be a punk pretending to be American.
  • Human Sacrifice: Subverted; the demons sacrifice themselves to open the Hellmouth.
  • Immediate Sequel: The plot continues on from the end of "Hush" with Buffy and Riley's conversation in her dorm.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Xander gets fed up with Spike and gives him a blistering "The Reason You Suck" Speech, pointing out how pathetic he is now that he can't fight anyone. This prompts Spike to give up and try to stake himself, but Willow and Xander return to the basement just in time to break his concentration and cause him to miss the stake he was trying to throw himself on.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: The Contrast Montage between the Scoobies' poetic description of the demon to Riley's Spock Speak Mission Briefing.
    Buffy: [reading] Limbs with talons, eyes like knives, bane to the blameless, thief of lives.
    [Cut to] Riley: [briefing his patrol team] Three meters tall, approximately 100Ė120 kilograms, based on my visual analysis.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Buffy is unwilling to get involved with someone in the demon-hunting business, but Riley won't take no for an answer just because Buffy is worried something might go wrong.
    Buffy: You don't know what my life is like.
    Riley: But I'm dying to find out.
    Buffy: Dying being the operative word here.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Lampshaded in the difference between Buffy and Riley's attitude to their work. Riley is a special forces volunteer hunting demons because he likes it, Buffy only does it Because Destiny Says So.
    Buffy: Do you know what a Hellmouth is? Do you have a fancy term for it? Because I went to high school on it, for three years. We do not have that much in common. This is a job to you...
    Riley: Itís not just a job.
    Buffy: Itís an adventure, great. But for me, itís destiny. It is something that I canít change, something that I canít escape. Iím stuck!
  • I Warned You vs. the Deadpan Snarker of Doom
    Buffy: I told you. I-I said end of the world and youíre like "poo-poo southern California, poo-poo!"
    Giles: I am so sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse.
  • Let's Dance: Spike smirks at Xander's "Let's rock and roll" comment.
  • Nice Job Breaking It Anti-Hero: Spike throws one of the demon sacrifices into the Hellmouth.
  • Not So Dire
    Spike: Don't turn around. [Scare Chord]
    Xander: Spike, what is it? What happened?
    Spike: Don't look at me.
    [Xander turns around to see Spike dressed like a Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist.]
    • And Willow saying that it made her feel like she was back in high school. She's referring to Percy dismissing her as a nerd, not dead students.
  • Not Worth Killing: While dishing out his "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Spike, Xander remarks that, while he knows that he could easily kick Spike's ass as a result of his Restraining Bolt, he's so pathetic right now that he's not even worth the effort.
  • Oh Crap!
    Giles: Oh (as usual) dear.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Riley trying to excuse his combat greens as a paintball outfit. He moans about how stupid that was later on.
  • Physical Scars, Psychological Scars
    Riley: I have bruises. I don't see a scratch on you.
    Buffy: Youíre not looking hard enough.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Spike gives one to Willow and Xander.
      Willow: We help people. We fight the forces of evil.
      Spike: Buffy fights the forces of evil. You're her groupies. She'd do just as well without you—better, I'd wager, since she wouldn't have to go around saving your hides all the time.
      Xander: That is so not true! We're part of the team. She needs us.
      Spike: Or you're the same tenth-grade losers you've always been, and she's too soft to cut you loose. [smirks evilly the moment his back is turned]
    • No doubt revenge for an earlier one Xander gave to Spike:
      Xander: I hate to break it to you, oh Impotent One, but youíre not the Big Bad anymore. You're not even the kinda naughty! You're nothing but a waste of space. My space! And as much as I always got a big laugh watching Buffy kick your shiny white bum, and as much as I know I could give you a little bum-kicking myself right now, I'm here to tell you something: you're not even worth it.
  • Rock Bottom: William the Waste of Space.
  • Rousing Speech For Great Justice: Spoofed with helpless silent protestation from Xander and Willow that, after a long exhausting night of monster-slaying, Spike is blocking their view of the TV. The irony of course lies in the fact that Spike is a vampire, and used to be Buffy's enemy until this point.
    Spike: What's this? Sittin' around watching the telly while there's evil still afoot? It's not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What? Can't go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let's find her. She is the Chosen One, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them, for justice, and for... the safety of puppies... and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something! [Credits start running] Oh, come on!
  • Saying Too Much: Riley is bemoaning his big mouth with the Scoobies.
    Riley: I should have just given them my security code and rank!
    Buffy: You have a security code and rank?
    Riley: No. Did I just say...? [sinks down on the end of his bed] This is so not good. Everybody knows about me. Iím finished. Itís the end of the world.
  • Slashed Throat: The frat party victim is killed for his Blood Magic.
  • Title Drop: Buffy to Riley on their relationship. "It's just doomed. And I can't do doomed again just now."
  • That Came Out Wrong: Riley tells Buffy how bruised he is. "You should see me with my clothes off."
  • To Make a Long Story Short
    Buffy: Iím the Slayer. [Riley just looks at her] Slay-er? Chosen One. [Riley is still lost] She Who Hangs Out a Lot in Cemeteries? Youíre kidding. Ask around. Look it up: Slayer comma The.
  • Twisted Echo Cut
    Giles: Vigilance is all very good, but I feel there's a much more pressing question.
    [Cut to] Riley: What's a Slayer?
  • What the Hell Are You?
    Buffy: [Death Glare] Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius. You?
    Riley: Sorry. That came out a little blunter than I intended. It's just... you are amazing! Your speed, your strength...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Hostile Subterrestrials
    Forrest: Theyíre just animals, man, plain and simple. Granted theyíre a little rarer than the ones you grew up with on that little farm in Smallville...
  • The World Is Always Doomed
    Buffy: I've seen this somewhere before. I just can't remember where. I mean, it's like...
    Giles: It's the end of the world.
    Willow and Xander (in unison): Again?!
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: A particularly egregious example where Buffy jumps into the Hellmouth after a demon and catches up to it while falling, even though Riley stops her long enough to attach a rope from his Utility Belt before she jumps in.